PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, Friday December 20, 2019 – President Paula Mae Weekes is set to deliver an early Christmas gift for people in Trinidad and Tobago who’ve been waiting to legally smoke marijuana at home, and those in jail for possession of small quantities of the herb.
Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley disclosed yesterday that on Monday, December 23, just two days before Christmas, the President will proclaim the Dangerous Drugs (Amendment) Act, passed by both houses of Parliament earlier this month, which decriminalizes possession of 30 to 60 grammes of cannabis.
And he said once that is done, “a new state would exist” in Trinidad and Tobago.
After proclamation of the Act, people would be allowed to have up to 30 grammes of marijuana without penalty and smoke in private dwellings, but not in public or commercial buildings. (There is an upper limit of 60 grammes, for which an individual would be issued a fixed penalty, and once that fine is paid on time they would have no criminal record.)
From Monday, people would also be allowed to grow four marijuana plants.
Persons who are incarcerated for the minimum quantities of the drug will also be eligible for release, and those with convictions can get their records expunged.
Prime Minister Rowley said this will be done “in a fairly expeditious way, without obstacle, but it has to be processed in the legal way”, and stressed that there would be no pardoning en masse.
The Dangerous Drugs (Amendment) Bill had been debated with the Cannabis Control Bill, which will establishes a Cannabis Control Bill to administer a licensing/registration regime to legitimize, establish accountability and transparency for the use of cannabis by persons and bodies engaged in religious, sacramental, medicinal and commercial activities. However, the latter was sent to a joint select committee.