In Trinidad and Tobago the use and possession of marijuana is illegal. This research paper therefore presents a discussion on the legal debate of marijuana highlighting the legal issues and discussing to what extent should marijuana be legalized in Trinidad and Tobago.
The first legal issue that is discussed in this paper is the harsh or punitive nature of the Dangerous Drug Act and the classification of marijuana. Cannabis Sativa, or any other name it is referred to, be it Ganja, marijuana, weed, or “Mary Jane” under the Dangerous Drugs Act it is classified as a dangerous drug, and is included in the First Schedule list of narcotic drugs. Possession of any quantity is an offence liable upon summary conviction to a fine of $25,000 and to imprisonment for five years; and upon conviction on indictment to a fine of $50,000 and to imprisonment for between five and ten years. The current legislation allows for persons to be criminally punished for petty crimes. Persons who have been in possession of only 2 grams of marijuana have had to face incarceration. This is unnecessary as it creates a permanent criminal record for persons who may have only been experimenting.
Furthermore, the other legal issues that this paper discusses are, Prohibition has in no way helped to curb the crime issue in Trinidad and Tobago, instead it can be said to have increased it. Prohibition has failed to control the use and domestic production of marijuana. Therefore with the necessary legislative reform it may result in a reduction in crime. Additionally, it can be said that the current prohibition maybe breaching the fundamental rights of the Rastafarians under the Constit...
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...ession of small quantities of marijuana for personal use. This would be treating marijuana consumption and possession for private use as either legal or only mildly punishable while leaving its distribution a criminal offense. Decriminalization is often seen as a middle ground between prohibition and legalization. Decriminalization would leave marijuana in much the same legal position as alcohol during Prohibition: legal to have and use but not sell.
Decriminalization would reduce the number of arrests made and would save enforcement resources. This would relieve some strain on the police force and save costs. However under decriminalization, despite the absence of sanctions against possession, marijuana would still not be freely purchasable. It can therefore be suggested that the wisest decision that legislators should make is the decriminalization of marijuana.
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