It was Sunday afternoon and the pungent scent of marijuana was permeating the atmosphere of Woodford Square, in Port-of-Spain.
The All Mansions of Rastafari (AMOR) was hosting Cannabis Appreciation Day and celebrated marijauna, which was decriminalised on December 23 last year.
To accompany the call to free the herb were visuals of individuals cleaning marijuana, others were selling branded t-shirts and related merchandise.
A few among the small group gathered also took the opportunity to take a smoke, activist Nazma Muller was one who lit up her joint while sitting on a bench with the Red House in her background.
On the stage the All Mansion of Rastafari continued to champion the cause for the full legalisation of marijuana but until that happens the group has called on the Government to properly define what is meant by a public place.
The amendments to the dangerous drug law provides for an individual to be in possession of up to 30 grams of marijuana or plant up to four plants at a private residents. It also made it illegal to smoke the drug in a public place.
This is the latest point of contention for the AMOR.
Chairman of All Mansions of Rastafari Clyde Noel said the problem is the law isn’t fully structured as yet to say what is public places and we find it is very rude and unconstitutional for us.”
Noel added that what is even more disheartening for his group is that fact that “cigarette smoking in public places is forbidden but hence you see people leaving their work and coming outside and smoking in the streets and different places, so why not marijuana, which is even more better than cigarette.”
He said when the term public places is used for marijuana use it makes it hard for people who want to partake. “We think the law should take a better look into that so that we could have an equal rights and justice,” he said.
The chairman said he is also very concerned that more people could end up behind bars because of the definition of public places or lack thereof. He also called on the police to exercise discretion when treating with marijuana smokers. “Please officers use your conscience and know that freedom and liberty belongs unto the people,” he said.
Noel maintained that there are much more important national issues to treat with “look at the statistics for crime for the month of January which isn’t finished yet and more emphasis is being still placed on police going out looking for marijuana smokers.”
Nevertheless, Noel said they plan to still abide by the law and hoped that their “brothers do likewise.”
He said, “It is not the position of the All Mansions of Rastafari to break and law, we are law abiding citizens. We love the cannabis and are always ready to wait with baited anticipation for the day that we could get that freedom.”
On Saturday, a well-known disc jockey posted on twitter that police surrounded his “bredrin” while at a Carnival fete in south Trinidad and threw his out for having a “roll on” on his ears. He went on to question if decriminalization meant anything in this country. “He was not smoking it eh! I thought we were allowed to have 30 grammes?” He questioned.
On Thursday, a San Juan man was arrested for driving a motor vehicle under the influence of a dangerous drug namely cannabis and exposing a child to a dangerous drug by officers of the Inter-Agency Task Force during an anti-crime exercise in Laventille.
During the exercise, officers were conducting a road check exercise along Pashley Street, Laventille, between 3 pm and 9 pm on January 23, when they had cause to stop a Mitsubishi Lancer motor vehicle with a male driver.
Officers observed the driver smoking a lit cigarette of unusual length and a male child seated in the backseat of the vehicle.
The driver, a 39-year-old man of El Socorro Road, San Juan, was arrested in connection with the offences of driving a motor vehicle under the influence of a dangerous drug namely cannabis and exposing a child to a dangerous drug namely cannabis