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Trinidad and Tobago MP warns legislation does not address religious purposes of cannabis

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Congressman Dinesh Rambally - Photo: AZP News

Lawyer and MP from West Chaguanas, Dinesh Rambally, is seeking clarification from the Trinidad and Tobago government on instructions for religious bodies to obtain, store and transfer cannabis without monetary transactions. According to the deputy, Trinidad and Tobago's new cannabis control legislation does not take into account the religious uses of cannabis.

During his contribution to the House of Representatives on Wednesday, Rambally stated that there were parts of the 2020 “The Cannabis Control Bill” bill that did not clearly address the religious use of cannabis. The speech was delivered during a session to present a motion to adopt the report by a selected joint committee (JSC) on the Cannabis Control Bill.

The deputy stated that, although a specific amount of cannabis for sacramental or religious purposes is enshrined in the legislation, it does not address the ways in which it can be obtained by religious leaders since the regulations provided for prohibit the trade. Rambally leaves the question open: “When we look at Clause 47, we are told that there must be no commercial benefit, no sale, supply or any transaction involving cannabis for sale, profit, monetary gain or compensation. But not even the water that falls from the sky is free, so how do we expect religious groups to obtain, store, hold and distribute cannabis, completely devoid of any cash flow, to facilitate basic access to cannabis for religious use?” The deputy also clarifies that “Any person who violates the section, that is, engages in the handling of cannabis for money not necessarily for profit, because it can be for mere reimbursement of money used in the acquisition, can be subject to severe penalties”.

Rambally also suggested that religious bodies may not see any benefit in applying for a grower's license for religious purposes, as the bill suggests they could only dispense 30 grams of cannabis to each participant. "This is already a popular provision for citizens, so what it suggests is an insensitivity to religious groups to tell them to apply for a license to obtain the amount of cannabis they can already obtain without a license."

Rambally added that further clarification is needed on Trinidad and Tobago's compliance with national regulations before international narcotics agencies, referring to comments by Acting Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi who earlier in the session suggested that the country did not violate any regulatory agency.

 

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[Disclaimer: Please note that this text was originally written in Portuguese and is translated into English and other languages ​​using an automatic translator. Some words may differ from the original and typos or errors may occur in other languages.]

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