Flag of Trinidad and Tobago with a cannabis leaf on it.

Flag of Trinidad and Tobago with a cannabis leaf on it.

By Chris Bovey

Trinidad and Tobago is to be the latest country to knock down the dominoes of prohibition by announcing it intends to review its cannabis laws.

Last year Canada followed the lead of Uruguay and a number of US states by legalising weed, not long after Canada legalised, the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg became the first EU country to announce plans introduce legislation to end cannabis prohibition and the New Zealand government is to hold a referendum on whether to legalise cannabis, which is widely expected to pass.

Dr Keith Rowley, the Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago announced his government will review cannabis legislation later this year with a view to possibly decriminalising the harmless plant.

Dr Rowley said: “Many young men from certain communities are being sent to the nation’s jails because of the plant.

“Our jails are full of young people, largely young men because they smoked a marijuana joint and the law in this county makes the smoking of a marijuana cigarette a criminal offence.

“The marijuana smoking in the upper echelons of society where a serious number of acres of marijuana is burnt, very few of them end up in jail. If they even get charged it is very unlikely that they will end up in the jail. But the ‘gift’ for those who are from Laventille, Enterprise or Cunupia – if you get caught with marijuana you’re going to jail.”

“Many of them can’t raise bail so they rot inside the jail. That is a matter of social justice that needs to be addressed.”

“It is my responsibility as leader of this country to have this matter properly examined and I am in discussion with the Attorney General to determine how we treat with this problem,” he said.

Affecting families

Dr Keith Rowley is to review the cannabis laws of Trinidad and Tobago.

Dr Keith Rowley, PM of Trinidad and Tobago.

“As I examined this problem in recent times, I have met fathers who’ve lost their jobs because they smoked a marijuana cigarette and they are in jail. Their children are unattended and unsupported. I am sure that was not the intention of the law.

“But of course it has to be managed because I do not buy for one moment that there are not deleterious effects from smoking marijuana but the management of the offence has created its own problem and this country must now address it,” said Dr Rowley.

The news has been welcomed by drug law reform campaigner around the world.

In the UK, we are not so lucky. Our evil old hag of a PM, Theresa May, has not only consistently ruled out reforming British cannabis laws while her husband sells millions of pounds worth of it which he buys from her Drugs Minister’s husband, she has even said she is sympathetic to upgrading ‘skunk’ to a Class A drug, although how they can define a common hybrid of cannabis that’s been around for decades, I do not know.

Perhaps it’s because the Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago is a scientist with an actual PhD rather than a vicar’s daughter with a mediocre degree in geography that their government is looking at scientific evidence-based drugs policy instead of reefer madness.

Last year Jamaica became the Caribbean’s first country to open a legal medical cannabis dispensary where pot has also now become decriminalised and licensing is controlled by the Jamaica Cannabis Licensing Authority.

If Caribbean countries can keep with the times by reforming cannabis law then there is no reason why Britain cannot too.


Chris Bovey, writer and musician.

Chris Bovey is a businessman, writer, musician and practical joker. He lives in Devon with his partner, two children and cat.

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