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Marijuana decriminalisation by June, Trinidad PM says

By Trinidad Guardian

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Dr Keith Rowley (File photo)

(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.”

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