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Sunday 17 November 2019
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Expunging ganja convictions being considered

Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi at the special select committee appointed to consider and report on the Sexual Offences (Amendment) Bill 2019 in Parliament on March 12. FILE PHOTO
Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi at the special select committee appointed to consider and report on the Sexual Offences (Amendment) Bill 2019 in Parliament on March 12. FILE PHOTO

ATTORNEY General Faris Al-Rawi yesterday said the issue of expunging the convictions of people caught using certain amounts of marijuana, is one that is being carefully worked out ahead of legislation to decriminalise marijuana being brought to Parliament this year.

He made this comment in response to a statement made earlier in the day by Emancipation Support Committee head Khafra Kambon. Al-Rawi said the legislation remains on track to be laid in Parliament in September. The “finalised product”, he continued, will go to the legislative review committee today. Al-Rawi hoped that it would go to Cabinet next week for its consideration.

While June was originally identified as the time for the legislation to be laid in Parliament, Al-Rawi said that did not happen because certain conditions were not met before that time.

He said consideration has to be given as to whether the removal of criminal convictions for using certain amounts of marijuana was something that could involve a three-fifths majority for passage or not. While issues such as these are “very emotive” to some people, Al-Rawi explained they must be thought out very carefully, as the legislation is put together.

“We cannot be cavalier,” he said. Al-Rawi said getting the correct data on people convicted for marijuana possession was another key piece of the puzzle which must be obtained. Referring to the advocacy of former journalist Nazma Muller for the decriminalisation of marijuana, Al-Rawi said it was her right to do so under the Constitution. But he added this was not simply a case of demanding a law be passed and it is passed.

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