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(TRINIDAD GUARDIAN) — Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley is pleading with the population to educate themselves on the difference between decriminalisation and legalisation of marijuana, saying they are not the same.
The PM made the point to reporters after the opening ceremony of the $1.4 million L’Anse Mitan, Carenage bridge constructed by Coosal Construction Company yesterday.
Questioned by Guardian Media on Government’s proposed legislation to address the decriminalisation of marijuana, which Attorney General Faris Al-Rawis disclosed in the Senate on Tuesday, Rowley made it abundantly clear that he wanted the population to be fully aware that “there is a big difference between decriminalisation and legalisation.”
“I don’t want any mix-up. We have to be clear in what we are doing. We have committed to decriminalisation. What we are working on now is the method by which and what that represents in terms of the use.”
Having spoken to Al-Rawi on the matter, Rowley said the country can expect public consultation on the issue in early 2019.
“I think we have done the legislative review already. The AG’s Office has made the necessary consultative contacts with I think the Ministry of Health and the Law Association and so on.”
After the consultation, the PM said it will be taken to Parliament.
“It is well on the way. We expect that by May to June of 2019 the decriminalisation would have been affected. I want you to understand there is a big difference between decriminalisation and legalisation. I don’t want any mix-up.”
The public, the PM said, has to be “clear in what we are doing.”
Having given a commitment to decriminalisation, the PM what they are working on is the method by which and what decriminalisation will represent in terms of its use.
“I saw former prime minister Basdeo Panday saying that if you are going to decriminalise and people are therefore not going to be prosecuted for using it, then what does that mean in terms of allowing a person to grow one plant.”
Rowley said this was a great issue Panday raised.
“A great question. But we have not got the answers just yet.”
He said these issues will be addressed.
“And after the public consultations, as a country, we will take an action that will put it beyond criminalisation.”