Cannabis users in Trinidad and Tobago can breathe easier now as the Dangerous Drugs (Amendment) Act is now in effect.
President Paula Mae-Weekes proclaimed the legislation which now allows adults to have up to 30 grammes of cannabis in their possession and households to have up to four plants without facing criminal charges.
The new law states that anyone found with 30 to 60 grammes of cannabis will now be subjected to a TT$2,000 (KY$250) ticket able offence.
And anyone caught with possession of 60 to 100 grammes of marijuana will now be subjected to up to 50 hours of community service and also a maximum fine of TT$75,000 (KY$9,500).
Senior Counsel Fyard Hosein has begun the process of seeking freedom for some 101 persons, including 14 children in rehabilitation centres, who have been incarcerated for possession of marijuana.
But while cannabis users, Rastafarians, and other advocates are celebrating, there are several officials and organisations concerned about the passage of the law.
Non-profit organisation, RebuildTT wrote to Weekes urging her to postpone proclamation of the law.
Although the Dangerous Drugs Amendment Act was passed in both Houses of Parliament, “pro-family NGO RebuildTT believes the legislation is flawed and will cause mayhem if implemented immediately, and the President should not be a rubber stamp with instructions to assent to the law by a given date”.
RebuildTT accused the government of endorsing the “illegal narcotics trade, saying weed purchased today “will come from illicit weed farmers and drug pushers”.
RebuildTT also questioned “whether police on patrol will be issued scales to determine the weight of small quantities of weed, since possession of over 30 grammes will require the issuance of a ticket”.
Roman Catholic Archbishop Jason Gordon yesterday said while marijuana use may no longer be a criminal offence it is still a “social offence” and a “harmful drug”.