ATTORNEY General Faris Al Rawi is calling for common sense to prevail with the decriminalisation of marijuana.
Al Rawi spoke to the media at the Hall of Justice in Port of Spain on Monday. He had been there for the hearing of an application for an administrative order which will speed up the process of pardon for those who stand to benefit from the new law.
“Exercise common sense and be careful,” was his advice to those adults who will now seek to possess 30 grammes or less of marijuana for personal use.
“It is a matter of choice and social consciousness… You don’t have to be drunk 24 hours a day,” he said.
He also addressed concerns over the challenges the police can expect while out on the field in determining just how much is 30 grammes of marijuana.
“It is a process of understanding. The police are informed of what 30 grammes of marijuana looks like,” he said, adding, for the benefit of some, that 30 grammes was the equivalent of three packs of cigarettes, which hold 20 each.
He said the process for prosecuting a charge was outlined in the legislation.
“You are going to have further investigation if it is more than 30 grammes,” he said, adding that those who wished to challenge the police can have the matter go to court, while those who were not disputing it could pay the ticket in the same way traffic offences are dealt with.
He also said there were scales which the police commissioner will have deployed to assist his officers on the field.
“We are confident that in the application of the law that common sense will prevail,” he added.
And on where can people expect to get their 30 grammes of the herb?
Minister in the Ministry of the AG Fitzgerald Hinds reminded that that the law entitled adults to have four marijuana plants.
“It is not a difficult issue where you get it,” he said, acknowledging that “it will take time to grow.”
“If you have to wait a few weeks, there is where you will get it,” he said.
Al Rawi said the Government deciding to separate the freeing of those who were charged with small amounts, in keeping with the amendments, before treating with the control aspect of the legislation.
“We could not let the horse starve while the grass is growing. We make no apology for starting liberating the people first,” he said.
He also said regulations had been drafted for dispensation of cannabis which will be taken to the Cabinet in January. These will allow for the drug to be imported and dispensed as part of the pharmaceutical process.
In the meantime, he said doctors, dentists and vets can prescribe cannabis.