CRIMINOLOGIST Dr Darius Figuera advised that when marijuana is decriminalised adults should be allowed to grow up to seven plants of their own which would prevent an on-going marijuana turf war from getting even worse.
Although all for the decriminalization of the herb he advised that it should be well thought out to suit the realities of the country.
“The reality is that prohibition has failed to dampen demand. In fact demand in 2019 outstrips demand in the 90s and this demand has exploded because we have a whole digital generation now who makes it clear to you that they have rejected this prohibition talk and insisted that ganja is necessary for their well being.”
In mid-December last year, Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley announced that marijuana should be decriminalised in Trinidad and Tobago by mid-2019, with public consultations to take place early this year.
“We have to be clear in what we are doing,” said Rowley. “We have committed to the decriminalisation. What we are working on now is the method by which and what that represents in terms of the use.”
Adding to the chorus this week were the All Mansion of Rastafari who called for an immediate halt of arrests and prosecution for marijuana possession, the complete legalisation of the herb and to expunge the records of those who had been arrested, fined or jailed for small amounts.
Dr Figuera further explained that if decriminalization or legalization is not well thought out, “the next problem is as demand escalates supplies cannot satisfy demand and since 2013 there has been an escalating ganja war in Trinidad where people are getting killed for half pound of weed.”
He also that outside of Jamaica, Trinidad had the highest demand in the Anglophone Caribbean.
“We are sucking ganja supplies from all over, Colombia, Jamaica, St Vincent and the Grenadines and even Venezuela,” he said.
“With continued prohibition this has blood running on our streets because users don’t care, they want their weed but we continue to prop up prohibition and not break this murder spree over ganja but the only way to break it is that we have to change the supply side of the market and the way to do that is through decriminalization and most important is to allow every individual over 18 to grow their own.”
“Listen,” he continued, “we have two examples namely Antigua and Belize and depending on what we do if we don’t give people the right to grow their own plant we could end up like Belize which has a violent marijuana turf war or like Antigua which had an escalating murder rate but when they put into legislation giving people the right to grow five plans their murder rate collapsed.