Marijuana plants

The marijuana plants found at the home a man charged with cultivation.

PEOPLE who are found guilty of possession of under 60 grammes of mari­juana will have their criminal records expunged.

This is one of the recommendations Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi has proposed to Cabinet.

To ensure the Government’s move to decriminalise marijuana meets no challenge, the AG is also proposing the legislation to decriminalise the cannabis drug be split in two—the simple majority provisions which can be passed without the support of the Opposition; and the three-fifths majority clauses where the Opposition vote is needed.

Asked by the Express what the simple majority of the law entailed, the AG said it speaks to the quantities to be decriminalised, the fixed penalty aspects, how to deal with the expunging of records and the licensing for medical usage.

Al-Rawi said he is hoping to have the legis­lation brought to the Parliament after the national budget debate in October. He emphasised Cabinet had the final say on the issue.

The AG was speaking yesterday at a luncheon meeting of the Rotary Club of Port of Spain West at the Cascadia Hotel, St Ann’s, where he delivered the feature address on the decriminalisation of marijuana.

An audience member asked Al-Rawi what would happen to people with previous marijuana convictions.

He said: “In the recom­mendations that are going to Cabinet, we are proposing that we have all offences that will become decriminalised going forward.

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“So in other words, if you are in possession of under 60 grammes and were treated by way of ticket or a violation, then we expunge those offences. That is the recommendation that goes forward. We got to ­reset.”

However, the AG warned that if a person is found trafficking the drug, they would be in trouble.

With respect to the splitting of the law, Al-Rawi explained the pattern of the Opposition UNC has been to not support three-fifths majority legislation, hence this approach.

“We split out what is simple majority from what is three-fifths majority. We get the simple majority managed and we get the conversation on an accelerated basis on the three-fifths issues. Why? We can’t starve the horse whilst the grass is growing,” he said, adding this move fits into the Government’s anti-crime position.