ATTORNEY General Faris Al-Rawi said there is an 80:20 distribution of cannabis versus cocaine, based on charges for possession, workload at the forensics division and police raids.
"How about if you completely take the profit out of cannabis by ensuring that supply is no longer an issue? What does that do to criminality? What happens when you demonetise $8 billion of currency in 21 days and you flag every version of predicate crime that you could look at on the back of money laundering, be it tax evasion, drug running, whatever it may be? Tough decisions."
He was speaking on Wednesday at the opening of a workshop on judge alone (trier of fact) trials
at the Hyatt Regency, Port of Spain.
The AG was referring to the Dangerous Drugs (Amendment) Act, which decriminalised possession of small amounts of marijuana (30 grammes), and the change of $100 notes from cotton to polymer.
He said annually there are 146,000 cases in the magistracy but no one was paying attention to case management and process reform, let alone people.
"We cry for justice every day. We see blood splashed across the pavements and then report it into the media. And crime stands as the number one issue in our country."
Al-Rawi reported that on January 21 or 22 the Motor Vehicle and Road Traffic amendments will be put into effect and the magistracy will have 104,000 fewer cases to manage.
He added that if the abolition of preliminary inquiries is proclaimed this month as planned, this would take away a further 26,000 cases and the decriminalisation of marijuana will free up services in the forensics division by 96 per cent and remove 8,500 cases ayear of people held with "two stick of marijuana."
He asked, "How about if we go to court and we cause the release of minors on charge? Minors incarcerated on remand conditions for one gram of marijuana? Common sense.
"Sounds simple now that we thread it together. Why wasn't it done before? Why was TT not operating on the back of statistics?"