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Wednesday 24 July 2019
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Marijuana debate a distraction

 UNC political leader Kamla Persad Bissessar.
UNC political leader Kamla Persad Bissessar. PHOTO BY ANIL RAMPERSAD.

THE proposed parliamentary debate on the decriminalisation of marijuana is another distraction by the ruling People’s National Movement (PNM).

The Opposition Leader made this claim at a United National Congress (UNC) public meeting at the Union Presbyterian Primary School on Monday night.

Persad-Bissessar told UNC supporters this was another “bait and switch” tactic being used by the Prime Minister.

At a PNM meeting in Diego Martin last Sunday, Dr Rowley said he did not believe there were no deleterious effects from smoking marijuana but the legislation had created another problem. He described it as a matter of social justice that needed to be addressed and he was in discussions with Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi about it.

In July, Al-Rawi said Cabinet will discuss the establishment of an inter-ministerial committee that will organise town hall meetings throughout TT to discuss the decriminalisation of marijuana. Persad-Bissessar declared, “You can’t just come and say that the government will start consultations on marijuana decriminalisation and think that you can trick people into supporting you.”

She said Rowley must “tell us what is the PNM position on cannabis.” Persad-Bissessar asked, “What is the plan for persons who are currently in jail for a marijuana possession conviction? What about persons who currently have a marijuana conviction on their criminal record? Will that record be wiped clean now?”

She claimed Rowley was in election mode and getting support from the media. Persad-Bissessar referred to an interview with Rowley that was carried in one daily newspaper.

Referring to some of the PM’s comments in the article, Persad-Bissessar said, “What was more astounding than this mad rant, this megalomaniac’s delusional statements—is the fact that he got the newspapers to put that on the front page, like they are some fanzine publication, run by groupies of Rowley.”

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