Ganja activist sceptical about drawn out debate

Head of the Caribbean Col­lec­tive for Jus­tice (CCJ), Naz­ma Muller, says they are pleased the Trinidad and To­ba­go Gov­ern­ment seems set to keep its promise to bring the is­sue of cannabis pro­hi­bi­tion to the Par­lia­ment for de­bate ear­ly next year.

“How­ev­er, we are skep­ti­cal about the man­ner in which such a cru­cial is­sue is be­ing han­dled, as our cit­i­zens con­tin­ue to be ar­rest­ed and jailed for the use of cannabis, even as Cana­da has le­galised recre­ation­al cannabis, and our neigh­bour, St Vin­cent, has le­galised med­ical us­es, and nu­mer­ous coun­tries have moved swift­ly to stop in­car­cer­at­ing and pun­ish­ing their peo­ple for this herb,” Muller told the T&T Guardian yes­ter­day.

Muller state­ment state­ment came hours af­ter At­tor­ney Gen­er­al Faris Al-Rawi an­nounced mar­i­jua­na leg­is­la­tion will be brought be­fore the Par­lia­ment ear­ly next year.

“Here we con­tin­ue to burn gan­ja fields and im­pose ex­or­bi­tant fines on our peo­ple, even as they lose jobs and face a bleak eco­nom­ic fu­ture,” Muller added.

She said the Gov­ern­ment must move quick­ly to al­low farm­ers to take part in the bil­lion-dol­lar cannabis in­dus­try.

“CBD oil from hemp is an op­tion for Trinidad and To­ba­go which can be ex­plored, even as we al­low our cit­i­zens to grow their cannabis at home for their per­son­al use,” Muller said.

“But this lengthy, drawn out process that the Gov­ern­ment is tak­ing a rather scenic route to get to the in­evitable des­ti­na­tion is fool­ing no one, and the longer they take to dis­man­tle the ex­ist­ing pro­hi­bi­tion, which has af­fect­ed so many of our peo­ple on neg­a­tive ways, the more skep­ti­cal the peo­ple will be­come about the Gov­ern­ment’s agen­da.”

She added, “As a ma­jor trans­ship­ment point for gan­ja and co­caine, the Gov­ern­ment must ad­dress this is­sue, which im­pacts our crime sit­u­a­tion, our mur­der rate, and our econ­o­my,” Muller said.

Reporter: Joel Julien

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