Trinidad & Tobago At­tor­ney Gen­er­al Faris Al-Rawi Wants Cannabis Decriminalization By End September

The Trinidad & Tobago Guardian reports….

“The glob­al le­gal cannabis mar­ket con­tin­ues to ex­pand, and the Caribbean is just start­ing to gain se­ri­ous mo­men­tum”.

So said Dou­glas Gor­don the founder of CanEx Ja­maica Busi­ness Con­fer­ence and Ex­po.

And as the Caribbean sets it­self to be­come the next big cannabis mar­ket­place, T&T seems to be hop­ing to catch the last wave.

The orig­i­nal time­line giv­en by the Gov­ern­ment to bring cannabis laws to the coun­try by the end of June has been missed.

At­tor­ney Gen­er­al Faris Al-Rawi has now re­vised that dead­line to leg­is­la­tion to de­crim­i­nalise mar­i­jua­na to Par­lia­ment in Sep­tem­ber.

Al-Rawi said the At­tor­ney Gen­er­al’s of­fice has com­plet­ed the pack­age of leg­is­la­tion to in­tro­duce de­crim­i­nal­i­sa­tion of mar­i­jua­na and that is ex­pect­ed to be laid in Par­lia­ment in Sep­tem­ber.

Founder of the Caribbean Col­lec­tive for Jus­tice Naz­ma Muller, has re­quest­ed a meet­ing with Pres­i­dent Paula-Mae Weekes to dis­cuss the is­sue of le­gal­is­ing mar­i­jua­na.

In her let­ter to Weekes, Muller said can­cer pa­tients are dy­ing and some are in des­per­ate need of cannabis oil to deal with their pain.

As T&T in­tends to bring cannabis laws next month, CanEx Ja­maica Busi­ness Con­fer­ence and Ex­po will be held on Sep­tem­ber 26-28 at the Mon­tego Bay Con­ven­tion Cen­tre.

Gor­don said the event “is promis­ing a vi­brant event with myr­i­ad ideas for ex­plo­ration in the ex­pand­ing le­gal cannabis in­dus­try”.

“There are nu­mer­ous op­por­tu­ni­ties for growth and in­vest­ment in the cannabis in­dus­try and this con­fer­ence will present busi­ness lead­ers, in­vestors, cul­ti­va­tors, sci­en­tists, man­u­fac­tur­ers, and oth­er po­ten­tial stake­hold­ers with a plat­form to ex­plore the glob­al mar­ket­place,” Gor­don said of the con­fer­ence, now in its fourth year.

CanEx Ja­maica is a busi­ness-to-busi­ness con­fer­ence in Latin Amer­i­ca and the Caribbean that brings to­geth­er cannabis in­dus­try pro­fes­sion­als from across the world to share knowl­edge and dis­cuss ad­vances in the in­dus­try.

In 2018 the con­fer­ence host­ed some 1,500 par­tic­i­pants from 23 dif­fer­ent coun­tries, and this year, the or­gan­is­ers ex­pect greater at­ten­dance.

“We ex­pect par­tic­i­pants from more than 30 coun­tries rep­re­sent­ing a rich ar­ray of po­ten­tial op­por­tu­ni­ties for part­ner­ship and col­lab­o­ra­tion,” said Gor­don.

“Our mis­sion is not on­ly to pro­vide a mem­o­rable and ro­bust cannabis con­fer­ence in terms of con­tent, but al­so to en­sure we cu­rate and present the very best of the Caribbean. CanEx Ja­maica will pro­vide stake­hold­ers with a plat­form to en­gage, share knowl­edge, and build valu­able re­la­tion­ships with oth­er in­ter­est­ed stake­hold­ers,” Gor­don added.

Ear­li­er this year, CanEx host­ed a se­ries of Cannabis In­vest­ment Sum­mits through­out the Caribbean, pre­sent­ing to stake­hold­ers in Bar­ba­dos, Trinidad and To­ba­go and the Cay­man Is­lands, op­por­tu­ni­ties avail­able for in­vest­ment in the le­gal cannabis in­dus­try.

So far, Ja­maica has proved it­self the leader in the cannabis mar­ket in the Caribbean and has al­ready be­gun ex­por­ta­tion to Cana­da.

In 2015 Ja­maica passed the “gan­ja law” which made pos­ses­sion of two ounces or less of cannabis a tick­etable of­fice.

Ear­li­er this year, St. Vin­cent and the Grenadines is­sued its first cul­ti­va­tion li­cences for the pro­duc­tion of med­i­c­i­nal mar­i­jua­na.

And a num­ber of oth­er is­lands are com­ing on stream with moves afoot in a num­ber of mar­kets in­clud­ing Bar­ba­dos and Cay­man Is­lands.

St Kitts and Nevis is the lat­est Caribbean coun­try to join the cannabis train.

The new law passed on Ju­ly 31, changes the penal­ties for pos­ses­sion of up to 15 grammes of cannabis, the use of cannabis in pri­vate res­i­dences and in hous­es of wor­ship for the Rasta­far­i­an com­mu­ni­ty. It al­so al­lows for peo­ple to ap­ply to the Drugs Coun­cil for per­mis­sion to cul­ti­vate cannabis for these us­es.

An­tigua and Bar­bu­da has be­gun draft­ing leg­is­la­tion to le­galise recre­ation­al and med­ical mar­i­jua­na sales af­ter first de­crim­i­nal­is­ing cannabis.

Do­mini­ca and Grena­da cur­rent­ly look­ing at pro­pos­als about de­crim­i­nal­i­sa­tion.

The terms “le­gal­i­sa­tion” and “de­crim­i­nal­i­sa­tion” are mis­tak­en­ly used in­ter­change­ably when dis­cussing cannabis leg­is­la­tion.


De­crim­i­nal­i­sa­tion, which is what the T&T Gov­ern­ment is has sought pub­lic con­sen­sus on, is the loos­en­ing of the crim­i­nal pe­nal­ties now im­posed for per­son­al mar­i­jua­na use, even though the man­u­fac­tur­ing and sale of the sub­stance re­main il­le­gal.

In the Dan­ger­ous Drug Act Chap 11:25, cannabis is list­ed in the first sched­ule of dan­ger­ous drugs along with oth­ers in­clud­ing, co­caine and hero­in. There crim­i­nal con­se­quences for any­one found in pos­ses­sion of it.

Ac­cord­ing to cur­rent law, if some­one is found with cannabis in their pos­ses­sion they are guilty of an of­fence and are li­able on sum­ma­ry con­vic­tion to a fine of $25,000 and im­pris­on­ment for five years. If con­vict­ed on in­dict­ment in the High Court, they are li­able to a fine of $50,000 and im­pris­on­ment for a term over five years, but not ex­ceed­ing 10 years.

Those pe­nal­ties are the max­i­mum range and are dis­cre­tionary based on the amount of the drug found in one’s pos­ses­sion, along with pre­vi­ous con­vic­tions and oth­er con­sid­er­a­tions the judge or mag­is­trate may con­sid­er on sen­tenc­ing.


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