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Kamla: Referendum first on marijuana ease

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

BUCCAMENT—Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar says while decriminalising marijuana for medical use may be something worth considering, as other countries have done it, she could not say “yea” or “nay” without getting feedback from the T&T public. The PM spoke to reporters yesterday about the issue after yesterday’s opening function of the Caricom inter-sessional meeting. Conference host Caricom chairman Dr Ralph Gonsalves said the meeting’s long agenda, which he detailed, included the regional policy on medical marijuana and alteration of existing laws on the strict proscription of marijuana use for social and religious purposes.

Speaking to reporters afterwards, Persad-Bissessar said the issue was something leaders agreed in principle to discuss since they would have to take it back to their respective populations. “I don’t think as a responsible politician I would want to comment without getting feedback from the people of T&T. “It’s being done in other countries and certain US states and it is something certainly worth considering (in terms) of the steps for medical purposes,” she added. 

Research, she added, had shown when use of the herb was decriminalised, crime and security issues lessened as it was no longer on the black market and the secret movements and gun-running involved in the distribution were lessened. She noted some also saw it as a less powerful narcotic than other types. However, the PM stressed: “I have not made any view on that. We will have further discussions. Research has to be done and when we have that before us we will take it to T&T for public discussion.”