Topic: To what extent should marijuana be legalized in Trinidad and Tobago?
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 ...view middle of the document...
Moreover, this paper addresses and compares the various extents to which marijuana can be legalized within Trinidad and Tobago. The extents that are discussed include general legalization, decriminalization and for medical purposes. Decriminalization of marijuana allows for the possession of small quantities of marijuana for personal use. Decriminalization can also extend to the specific use for medicinal purposes. Legalization of marijuana however is a more far-reaching extent and allows for the distribution of the drug. Marijuana would then be as easily accessible like other drugs such as alcohol and cigarettes.
The paper then concludes with the recommendation that the Decriminalization of the drug and the allowed use for medical purposes would be the wisest choice for Trinidad and Tobago; General Legalization would be too radical a change.
The debate for the legalization of marijuana has been ongoing for centuries. Before the incorporation or passing of any legislation, the legislators ought to look at the current public policy issues surrounding that piece of legislation. Also, they have to address the current legal issues and how the law may benefit society.
Some of the key issues that legal drafters should highlight prior to a possible reform in the legislation about marijuana is discussed below.
The current legislation is too punitive:
A growing number of community and opinion leaders such as the current Chief Justice of Trinidad and Tobago Ivor Archie agree that the current prohibit prohibition of cannabis is only serving to protect the status quo and is too punitive. The current legislation poses a number of issues within society. Classified as a dangerous drug, marijuana is included in the First Schedule list of narcotic drugs. Under the Dangerous Drugs Act, 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. This wastes valuable law enforcement resources, which at the extreme are expended in the unsuccessful war to eradicate the production of marijuana and dry up the supply of the drug. Just recently, a 54 year old man was sentenced to one year in prison for a mere 21.96 grams of marijuana. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking of illegal drugs in Trinidad and Tobago are strict. Suspected offenders can expect lengthy jail sentences and fines, and may be jailed until the trial date, which can be months or even years after the arrest. Too many of our countries families are separated for long periods thanks to the overly...