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Minister Fitzgerald Hinds: Comprehensive Marijuana legislation coming to Parliament

Minister in the Ministry of The Attorney General & legal Affairs Fitzgerald Hinds said that government is taking to parliament today the first of two pieces of legislation to deal effectively with the decriminalisation of marijuana. The first being an amendment to the Dangerous Drugs Act of 1994, to decriminalise possession of marijuana for personal use of under 30 to 60 grams. The Legislation will allow persons to have up to 30 grams in their possession. Fixed penalties notices will be issued for persons held with marijuana in excess on 60 grams, and once paid will not affect the persons record. Minister Hinds indicated that this is primarily aimed at facilitating a significant ease of the criminal justice system since over 70% of remands and a significant portion of convicted inmates are on marijuana charges and conviction of under the proposed 60 gram level. he said provision are included also to expunge their records. Also a system of fines is proposed for persons who are found in possession of over 60 grams with stiffer penalties for persons found in possession for the purpose of trafficking. He also said that the forensic science center is burdened with over 70 cases related to under 60 grams of marijuana for testing. The second aspect of the Legislation is the Canibis Control Bill, which seeks to provide the regulatory and licensing framework for licences for growing, selling, medical, research aspects of marijuana in Trinidad & Tobago. He said this part of the Legislation is also focused on the economic potential of the global canibis industry development in Trinidad & Tobago. Minister Hinds said in this regard the government will embark on a number of public consultations similar to what was done before coming up with the final draft of the amendment to the Dangerous Drugs Act 1994 which will be presented in the House of Representatives today. he also spoke to the issue of the new ‘vaping’ trends in Trinidad & Tobago where experts from the forensic science center presented information to the Cabinet involving findings of 77 % strength Tetrahydrocannabinoid or THC the active component in marijuana in ‘vaping’ liquids being used in Trinidad & Tobago when naturally occurring levels of THC falls in the vicinity of 23 %. He said the experts indicated that’s this should be of significant concern to every because of the health risks associated with this phenomenon. Minister Hinds was speaking on Power 102 FM this morning.