ONE of the architects of the marijuana legislation, Agriculture Minister Clarence Rambharat, has expressed personal concerns about the use of cannabis in edibles.
He said this is also a danger zone for every parent.
Rambharat sat on the legislative committee of the Cabinet to draft the legislation for the decriminalisation and commercialisation of marijuana, out of which two bills were produced. He held a forum in the Chaguanas East constituency he is contesting as a candidate, on Thursday night, to “Talk Weed.”
He responded to questions from the live audience, during which constituent Anderson Edwards shared his mind-boggling experience after sipping a marijuana punch. Edwards said he had never smoked a cigarette or marijuana in his life, but was moved to sample the marijuana-infused punch, underestimated the effect and after three sips, thought he would end up in a psychiatric ward.
“This marijuana thing is going to be rampant all over Trinidad. People who never smoke going to start, because your neighbour will come across and encourage you to try it because it is legal.
“We are seeing marijuana in muffin, marijuana in fudge and just now these things will be heading to the groceries and youths will be buying these things that will send them wild, haywire.
“What are we putting in place before they end up in the psychiatric ward?” Edwards asked the minister.
Rambharat replied that under the law as it is now, "Possession does not address the edibles.”
He said the commercialisation aspect of the law which provides for other derivatives of cannabis has not been passed, and was still at the joint select committee (JSC) stage when Parliament was dissolved .
He said that bill is not limited to medicinal marijuana but extends to all products that can be created from cannabis.
On concerns about keeping these edibles out of schools and out of the reach of children, Rambharat said the decriminalisation aspect of the bill, which allows for private possession of up to 30 grams and prohibits use in a public space, takes care of that.
He said in Canada the leaf of the cannabis must be visible if used in any other products.
“That is one way in which the lawmakers have tried to deal with this issue of chemical content.”
Rambharat said some in the medical field have noted an increase in young people seeking attention after consuming unknown quantities of cannabis in muffins, cookies and other edible items.
He said in the case of medicinal marijuana a prescription lays out the form and dosage.
“You would have a prescription for medication and have a product that is prescribed based on the chemical composition.
"But when you sell edibles, there is no reference to the variety and the chemical composition...and that is where my personal concern lies.”
He also shared data from North America which showed a proliferation of vaping among teenagers had reversed all the gains made to get them to stop smoking.
“Now we are allowing possession of marijuana, which means we may have new smokers of marijuana.
“We are dealing in the main with people who have been smoking illegally all along, but we may be exposing ourselves to a new group of smokers who may use cannabis by way of smoking.”