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Trinidad and Tobago’s House of Representatives Votes to Decriminalize Marijuana

Trinidad and Tobago is positioning itself at the vanguard of progressive cannabis law in the Caribbean.

Trinidad and Tobago's House of Representatives Votes to Decriminalize Marijuana
Trinidad and Tobago/ Shutterstock

The Caribbean nation of Trinidad and Tobago is making history with the advancement of two new marijuana related bills. Most notably, the country’s House of Representatives just approved a bill that would decriminalize the possession of cannabis.

Taking things a step further, the nation is also considering a second bill. This one could set up a framework for regulating the production and sale of marijuana.

All in all, this new legislation could bring big changes to the country. But it could also have much broader implications throughout the region.

Trinidad and Tobago Getting Close to Decriminalizing Weed

On Wednesday, the House of Representatives in Trinidad and Tobago approved the Dangerous Drugs (Amendment) Bill of 2019. After the House’s approval, the bill will now move on to the Senate.

The Senate will discuss and debate the bill before it goes up for a vote. All of that is reportedly going to take place this week and next week.

If the Senate agrees on a final version of the bill and approves it, the legislation would eventually be sent back to the House for one more vote. And from there, it would finally be handed on to President Paula-Mae Weekes to be officially signed into law.

The Dangerous Drugs (Amendment) Bill of 2019 introduces a number of big changes for cannabis law in the country. These include the following:

  • A person can possess up to 30 grams of weed and five grams of resin without facing any criminal charges.
  • Possession of between 30 and 60 grams of weed, and between five and 10 grams of resin, will face a fee of roughly $200 USD. Importantly, this will not carry any criminal charges.
  • Possession of 60 to 100 grams of weed, or 14 grams of resin, would carry a penalty as high as $11,092 USD.
  • Citizens will be allowed to grow up to four cannabis plants at home. A previous version of this legislation allowed for home-growing male plants only. But this was changed, since male plants don’t actually produce smokable flowers.
  • None of these will result in criminal offenses punishable by jail time. But, failure to pay fines could lead to additional fines and community service.

Far-Reaching Impact

Obviously, if these amendments pass into law it will immediately affect Trinidad and Tobago. But it could also have ripple effects throughout the Caribbean.

According to Investopedia, Trinidad and Tobago is the wealthiest country in the Caribbean bloc, giving it a lot of weight and influence throughout the region.

One More Piece of Cannabis Legislation

While the nation is currently closest to passing its decriminalization bill, lawmakers are also considering another potentially big bill. This one is called The Cannabis Control Bill.

Importantly, this bill would establish a framework to regulate the production and sale of marijuana in the country.

The Cannabis Control Bill was recently moved to a Joint Selection Committee of the Parliament. Reportedly, this body will make recommendations to Parliament in early 2020.

If this bill eventually passes into law, it would move Trinidad and Tobago firmly to the forefront of progressive cannabis law in the Caribbean.

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