Two bills were introduced last week in Trinidad and Tobago’s House of Representatives that could change the landscape of marijuana regulation across the several islands that make up the Caribbean country.
Attorney General Faris Al Rawi introduced the Cannabis Control Bill and the Dangerous Drugs (Amendment) Bill Friday. Following Jamaica’s example and the establishment of a CARICOM Commission on Marijuana Regulation, the goal of the legislation is to reduce penalties for possession and consumption and fire up a legal industry.
The Dangerous Drugs (Amendment) Bill would allow people to possess up to 30 grams of cannabis or 5 grams of cannabis resin without facing legal actions. Possession of up to 60 grams or 10 grams of resin would mean a fixed fine of $739 without arrest, conviction or imprisonment.
The Cannabis Control Bill would establish a national Cannabis Authority that can grant licenses for cultivators, laboratories, processors, retail distributors, importers and transporters.
The country's attorney general told Parliament that Trinidad and Tobago could save up to $100 million by ending cannabis prohibition, saving the unnecessary costs of cannabis-related incarceration and judicial hours.
Between 2010 to 2018, 3,429 individuals were held in prison for cannabis-related charges in the Carribean nation, with average spendings of between $2,217.25 to $2,956.34 per month per person, according to a CannabisWire report.
The proposed legislation would also allow citizens to grow up to four cannabis plants at home, but only allows for male plants, which do not produce THC — the active compound that produce a psychoactive effect.
This part of the legislation has led activists to push for changes in the bill and push for full legalization of the plant.
Attorney General Al-Wari said the bills are expected to pass the House floor, which is held in majority by the People’s National Movement party.