Decriminalise it

By Julien Neaves
February 22, 2015 –

MarijuanaWITH Caribbean neighbour Jamaica making moves to decriminalise marijuana University of the West Indies (UWI) Professor Emeritus Kenneth Ramchand is renewing his calls for marijuana to be decriminalised in Trinidad and Tobago for medicinal purposes.

In January this year the Jamaican Government tabled the Dangerous Drugs (Amendment) Act, 2015 in that country’s Senate to decriminalise marijuana for medicinal, religious and personal use.

Ramchand, in an interview with Sunday Newsday, said that TT “should absolutely decriminalise marijuana for medical purposes” and pointed to a good argument for decriminalising for personal use in limited quantities. He stressed that for purposes of personal use, the key term was “limited quantities” and people should not be allowed to walk around with “40 marijuana cigarettes” or such quantities as might suggest they were selling.

“I am pretty certain we will get to the point of decriminalisation for medicinal purposes. I think we are getting there,” he said.

In August 2000, Ramchand, then an Independent Senator and UWI lecturer, called for marijuana to be decriminalised for medical purposes in his contribution to debate on the Dangerous Drugs Amendment Bill.

“Well, all those marijuana fields we are burning now, we should seize them, compress the marijuana, start to process it and since we have to do what America says, when they de-criminalise, ‘buss’ the market,” he had said.

In the United States, 23 of the 50 States have legalised marijuana for medical use and three states — Oregon, Washington and Colorado — have legalised the drug for recreational use.
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4 thoughts on “Decriminalise it”

  1. A little of everything is good, too much of one thing is not good. Basically for debate purposes the benefits and health risks should be weighed up for the average citizen to comprehend. In the case of the alcohol industry there are well established health risk problems, but alcohol consumption is legal, at home, clubs and pubs.
    The revenue this bring in both excise and customs duties are formidable amounts irrespective of “limited quantities” for respective governments.
    On the understanding that tobacco has been given a tough sell based on health risks
    compared to yester years it will make the decriminalization of marijuana a tough sell.

  2. I am not sure that decriminalization is the term we should be using since one can still have to pay a fine but not subject to jail as a criminal. I much prefer to hear legalization. This way the government can put in controls as it has done for alcohol and tobacco. Of course, there would still be the home growers as with alcohol and tobacco but with the market opening up and the price falling I believe that this will be minimal.

    The biggest advantage would be the jail population. We would have less persons in jail, less repeat offenders and less young people with tarnished reputations that have no other alternative but to be repeat offenders.

  3. To determine which party will win is to quess who gets the 32 % of the non-racial votes. Kamla has made sure she did not make the same mistakes that Patrick Manning made in allowing his base to loose confidence in him. At this point in time Kamla can do no wrong as far as her base is concerned. What happens to Trinidad and Tobago is of no concern to them, continuance of Kamla is what is important. I do believe that the 32% will be deciding this election and it will definitely be on performance.
    I notice that the pollsters are trying to introduce an apartheid coding system of racial identification. This in my view is counter productive and pushing a form of identification that does not now exist in the system. Look at what happened to apartheid!

  4. Thirty percent of Jamaicans have used or tried marijuana. If you visit Bob Marley birthplace now a tourist destination, you are told in advance by the trip advisor that marijuana is part of their religion and expect to see people smoking.
    For me it is not surprising that Jamaica decriminalize, what is surprising is it took so long. Yes marijuana do have medicinal use and is widely used in North America. Decriminalization means young people who use it would not have a criminal record that would affect their job situation or future employment.

    Recreational use of marijuana in Trinidad goes back to the 60s it was however associated more with Hinduism and meditation. Youths in my area was introduced to it by the Hindu priest who smoked it from a “Chelum” and passed it around. The priest had a red cloth that he used to wipe the Chelum before passing it around.

    Decriminalization is worth the debate but all factors must be taken into consideration….

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