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Monday, 23 December 2019

Trinidad & Tobago Marijuana Laws

Q: Is marijuana really legal in Trinidad and Tobago?


A:
No, it is still illegal to use, possess, and/or sell marijuana in Trinidad and Tobago; however, the new law that goes into effect from today decriminalizes the possession of certain amounts for personal use.

When the Dangerous Drugs (Amendment) Act 2019 is incorporated into the Dangerous Drugs Act 1991, as amended, the amended sections would look like this:


3. (1) In this Act—
“analyst” means a person designated as an analyst under section 22(2);

“bank” means a bank licensed under the Banking Act (since repealed by the Financial Institutions Act 2008), or an institution carrying on the business of banking under a written law;

“business” means an activity carried on for the purpose of gain or profit and includes all property derived from or used in or for the purpose of carrying on such activity, and all rights and liabilities arising from such activity;

“cannabis” means the plant of the genus cannabis, whether growing or not, including –
(a) any part of the plant, whether growing or not;
(b) its seeds;
(c) any compound, salt, mixture, extraction, derivative, product, synthetic or other preparation of the plant, any part of the plant, its seeds or cannabis resin,

but does not include –
(d) cannabis resin;
(e) fiber produced from the stalk of the plant;
(f) oil or cake made from the seeds of the plant;
(g) sterilised seeds of the plant which are incapable of germination; or
(h) any other ingredient –
(i) combined with the plant, any part of the plant, its seeds or cannabis resin, or
(ii) used in anything referred to in paragraph (c), for the purposes of preparing any topical or oral administration, food, drink or other product; “cannabis resin” means the separate resin, whether crude or purified, obtained from any plant of the genus cannabis;

“coca plant” means a plant of the genus Erythroxylon from which cocaine can be extracted;

“dangerous drugs” means a narcotic drug listed in the First Schedule or a thing that contains such a drug or a psychotropic substance listed in the Second Schedule or a thing that contains such a substance;

“dentist” means a person registered as such under the Dental Profession Act;

“Director of Public Prosecutions” means the Director of Public Prosecutions of Trinidad and Tobago or any person assigned by him for the purpose of this Act;

“document” includes—
(a) a letter, figure, mark, inscription, writing, sign, caricature, picture, drawing or representation in any form; and
(b) a visual recording, whether of still or moving images, or sound recording, on any substance, material, thing or article;

“drug traffic”, “drug trafficking” or “trafficking” means the importation, exportation, manufacture, sale, giving, administering, transportation, delivery or distribution by any person of a dangerous drug or any substance represented or held out by such person to be a dangerous drug or the making of any offer in respect thereof, whether in the Territory or elsewhere, and includes an arrangement whereby—
(a) the retention or control by or on behalf of another person of the other person’s proceeds of drug trafficking is facilitated, or
(b) the proceeds of drug trafficking by another person are used to ensure that funds are placed at the other person’s disposal or are used for the other person’s benefit to acquire property;

but does not include—
(c) the importation or exportation of a dangerous drug by or on behalf of any person who has a licence therefore under section 4; or
(d) the manufacture, processing, packaging, sale, giving, administering, transportation, delivery or distribution of a dangerous drug or the making of any offer in respect thereof by or on behalf of a person who has a licence therefore under section 5 or by or on behalf of a medical practitioner, dentist, veterinary surgeon or pharmacist for a medicinal purpose;

“drug trafficking offence” means any of the following:
(a) an offence under section 5(4) and (7) and *section 47;
(b) an offence of conspiracy to commit any of the offences referred to in paragraph (a);
(c) an offence of attempting, inciting, aiding, abetting, counselling or procuring the commission of any of the offences referred to in paragraph (a) or (b);

“export” means the taking or conveying, or causing to be taken or conveyed, out of the Territory;

“holder”, in relation to any property, includes, a person who—
(a) is the owner of;
(b) is in possession of;
(c) is in occupation of;
(d) has custody or control of; and
(e) has any other right, interest, title, claim, power, duty or obligation,
in relation to that property;

“import” means the bringing or conveying, or causing to be brought or conveyed, into the Territory;

“life” means the natural life of a person;

“medical practitioner” means a person registered under the Medical Board Act;

“Minister” means the Minister to whom responsibility for the administration of Health is assigned;

“opium” includes raw opium, powdered opium and opium wholly or partially prepared for any use or purpose whatever its content of morphine may be;

“pharmacist” means a person registered as such under the Pharmacy Board Act;

“plant” includes a living plant or any part thereof and any organ, tissue, cell or portion of the genetic material thereof;

“prepared opium” or “smoking opium” means the product of raw opium obtained by a series of special operations, especially by dissolving, boiling, roasting and fermentation, designed to transform it into an extract suitable for consumption; and “prepared opium” includes dross and all other residues remaining when opium has been smoked;


“property” means real or personal property, whether within or outside the Territory and includes—
(a) a right, interest, title, claim, chose in action, power, privilege, whether present or future and whether vested or contingent, in relation to property, or which is otherwise of value;
(b) a conveyance executed for conveying, assigning, appointing, surrendering, or otherwise transferring or disposing of immovable property whereof the person executing the conveyance is proprietor or possessed or wherein he is entitled to a contingent right, either for his whole interest or for a lesser interest;
(c) a monetary instrument;
(d) any other instrument or securities;
(e) any business;
(f) a vehicle, boat, aircraft or other means of conveyance of any description; and
(g) any other tangible or intangible property;

“public place” means an indoor or outdoor area, whether privately or publicly owned, to which the public has access by right or by invitation, expressed or implied, whether by payment of money or not;

“securities” includes stocks, bonds, shares, debentures, funds and certificates of deposit;

“smoke”, in relation to a substance, means –
(a) to inhale, exhale, burn, combust or vaporize the substance;
(b) to carry any lighted or heated device, pipe or other product, whether natural or synthetic, for the inhalation of the substance in any manner or in any form, and includes the use of an electronic smoking device that creates an aerosol or vapour, in any manner or in any form, or the use of any orally used device, for the purpose of the inhalation of the substance;”.

“Territory” means the territory of Trinidad and Tobago;

“trust” includes a legal obligation in favour of a beneficiary subject to which any person holds property;

“veterinary surgeon” means a person registered under the Veterinary Surgeons (Registration) Act.


Minister may issue licences

4. The Minister may, subject to Regulations made under section 57—
(a) issue licences for the import, export, diversion, sale, manufacture, production or distribution, at a stated place, of any dangerous drug;
(b) issue licences for the cultivation, gathering or production, at a stated place, of opium poppy, marijuana, or coca plant any opium poppy, coca plant or plant of the genus cannabis;
(c) name the ports or places in the Territory where any dangerous drug may be exported or imported;
(d) prescribe the manner in which any dangerous drug is to be packed and marked for export;
(e) authorise the furnishing of dangerous drugs to the master of a ship for the medicinal needs of the crew thereof;
(f) prescribe the records that are to be kept by any person in connection with the export, import, manufacture, receipt, sale, disposal and distribution of a dangerous drug.


Possession of and trafficking in dangerous drugs

5. (1) Subject to subsection (2) and (2A), a person who has in his possession any dangerous drug is guilty of an offence and is liable—
(a) upon summary conviction to a fine of twenty-five two hundred and fifty thousand dollars and to imprisonment for five years;
(b) upon conviction on indictment to a fine of fifty thousand dollars and to imprisonment for a term which shall not exceed ten years but which shall not be less than five years  one million dollars and to imprisonment for fifteen years.

(2) Subsection (1) does not apply to—
(a) a person who has the possession of a dangerous drug under a licence issued pursuant to section 4 permitting him to have possession of that dangerous drug;
(b) a medical practitioner, dentist, veterinary surgeon or pharmacist who is in possession of a dangerous drug for any medicinal purpose;
(c) a person who obtains a dangerous drug for medicinal purposes from or pursuant to a prescription of a medical practitioner, dentist or veterinary surgeon;
(d) a person authorised under the Regulations to be in possession of a dangerous drug;
(e) a person who is acting for and under the supervision of a person mentioned in paragraph (a), (b), (c) or (d);
(f) a person who has in his possession not more than-
(i) thirty grammes of cannabis; or
(ii) five grammes of cannabis resin;
(g) a person who cultivates or has in his possession not more than four growing male plants of the genus cannabis.

(2A) Subject to section 5B(2), a person who has in his possession –
(a) more than thirty grammes, but not more than sixty grammes, of cannabis; or
(b) more than five grammes, but not more than ten grammes, of cannabis resin, commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine of fifty thousand dollars.

(2B) Where a person who is convicted of an offence under subsection (2A) fails or is unable to pay any fine imposed on him under that subsection, the Court may make a community service order requiring him to perform thirty hours of community service in accordance with the provisions of the Community Service Orders Act.”

(3) Subject to subsection (3A), a person who cultivates, gathers or produces any marijuana plant of the genus cannabis, except where he does so under a licence granted under section 4 or any other written law or where he is acting under the supervision of a person having such a licence, commits an offence and is liable—
(a) upon summary conviction to a fine of seven hundred and fifty thousand dollars and to imprisonment for ten years; or
(b) upon conviction on indictment to a fine of one hundred thousand two million dollars or where there is evidence of the street value of the marijuana plant, ten times the street value of the marijuana plant, whichever is greater or to imprisonment for twenty-five years to life.

(3A) A person who cultivates, gathers or produces any opium poppy, or coca plant, except where he does so under a licence granted under section 4 or where he is acting under the supervision of a person having such a licence, commits an offence and is liable upon conviction on indictment to a fine of two hundred thousand dollars or, where there is evidence of the street value of the dangerous drug, fifteen times the street value of the dangerous drug, whichever is greater, and to imprisonment for a term of twenty-five years to life.

Most likely an error ----> (3A) Subsection (3) does not apply to a person who cultivates or has in his possession not more than four growing male plants of the genus cannabis.

(4) A person who trafficks in any dangerous drug or in any substance represented or held out by him to be a dangerous drug or who has in his possession any dangerous drug for the purpose of trafficking is guilty of an offence.

(5) Subject to subsection (7), a person who commits the offence of trafficking in a dangerous drug or of being in possession of a dangerous drug for the purpose of trafficking is liable upon conviction on indictment to a fine of one hundred thousand three million dollars or, where there is evidence of the street value of the dangerous drug, three ten times the street value of the dangerous drug, whichever is greater, and to imprisonment for a term of twenty-five years to life.

(6) A person who commits the offence of trafficking in a substance other than a dangerous drug, which he represents or holds out to be a dangerous drug is liable upon conviction on indictment to a fine of one hundred thousand three million dollars or, where there is evidence of the street value of the dangerous drug, three ten times the street value of the dangerous drug, whichever is greater, and to imprisonment for a term of twenty-five years to life.

(7) A person other than a person referred to in subsection (2) found in possession of a dangerous drug or a substance other than a dangerous drug which he represents or holds out to be a dangerous drug, on any school premises or within five hundred metres thereof is deemed to have the dangerous drug or substance for the purpose of trafficking, unless the contrary is proved, the burden of proof being on the accused, and such person commits an offence and is liable upon conviction on indictment to a fine of one hundred and fifty thousand three million dollars or, where there is evidence of the street value of the dangerous drug, three ten times the street value of the dangerous drug, whichever is greater, and to imprisonment for a term of thirty-five years to life.

(7A) Notwithstanding subsections (3A), (5), (6) and (7), where a person is charged for a drug trafficking offence under this Act, the Director of Public Prosecutions may, at the preliminary enquiry, elect to proceed with the matter summarily and if the accused so consents, the Court may adjourn the matter to be dealt with accordingly.

(7B) A person who pleads guilty to, or is found guilty of an offence tried pursuant to subsection (7A) is liable to a fine of seven hundred and fifty thousand dollars or, where there is evidence of the street value of the dangerous drug, three times the street value of the dangerous drug, whichever is greater, and to imprisonment for a term of ten years.

(8) In subsection (7) “school premises” means the premises of a school, college, university or other educational institution and includes buildings, playing fields or other premises established, maintained or used by such institutions for the benefit of its students whether or not such buildings, playing fields or other premises are within the curtilage of the institution.

(9) A person, other than a person referred to in subsection (2), found in possession of more than—
(a) twenty grammes of diacetylmorphine (heroin);
(b) ten grammes of cocaine;
(c) five hundred grammes of opium;
(d) thirty grammes of morphine; or
(e) one kilogramme of cannabis or cannabis resin one hundred and sixty-five grammes of cannabis resin; or, is deemed to have the dangerous drug for the purpose of trafficking unless the contrary is proved, the burden of proof being on the accused.
(f) five grammes or twenty tablets of 3,4 methylenedioxymethamphetamine (ecstasy) or any drug listed in Schedule I or Schedule II of the Second Schedule of the Act;
(g) ten grammes or one hundred and seventy squares of lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD); or
(h) five grammes of ketamine.

(10) Upon the trial of a person who is charged with an offence under subsection (4), if the Court is not satisfied that such person is guilty thereof but is satisfied that he is guilty of an offence under subsection (1), the Court may find him guilty of such latter offence.


Smoking in a public place

“5A. (1) A person who smokes or uses cannabis or cannabis resin in a public place commits an offence and is liable, on summary conviction, to a fine of two hundred and fifty thousand dollars and to imprisonment for five years.

(2) An owner of, or any person who has the sole or shared responsibility for managing, supervising, or regulating the use of, a public place shall ensure that any person who smokes or uses cannabis or cannabis resin in that public place cease and desist from such smoking or use and may remove or evict that person from the public place.

(3) Notwithstanding anything contained in this section, the Minister may, by Order subject to affirmative resolution of Parliament, prescribe a list of approved public places where the smoking of cannabis or cannabis resin may be allowed.

5B. (1) In this section-
“Clerk” and “Court” have the meanings respectively assigned to those expressions by section 2 of the Summary Courts Act;

“fixed penalty” means the penalty prescribed under subsection (2); “fixed penalty notice” means a notice issued under subsection (3) and includes a duplicate of such notice.

“proceedings” means proceedings by complaint before a Magistrate;

“Rules of Court” means rules by the Rules Committee under section 23 of the Summary Courts Act”.

(2) Where a police officer has reason to believe that a person is committing or has committed an offence under section 5(2A), he shall issue to the person a fixed penalty notice charging him with the commission of such offence, and requiring him to either pay the fixed penalty within the time specified in the fixed penalty notice.

(3) The police officer shall send to the Clerk, in the district in which the offence is alleged to have been committed, a duplicate of the fixed penalty notice.

(4) The fixed penalty notice issued or sent under this section shall be deemed to be a complaint within the meaning of section 33 of the Summary Courts Act.

(5) Notwithstanding any written law to the contrary, the fixed penalty notice referred to in subsection (4) is, from the expiration of the time thereon specified for the payment of the fixed penalty, deemed to be a summons issued in accordance with section 42 and served in accordance with section 43, respectively, of the Summary Courts Act.

(6) Notwithstanding any provisions of this Act or any written law to the contrary, a person who pays a fixed penalty before the expiration of the time specified for the payment thereof, may in the prescribed form, appeal to the Magistrate in the district in which he paid the fixed penalty in respect of the offence for which he was charged.

(7) Where, in an action referred to in subsection (6), the Court decides in favour of the appellant, the amount representing the fixed penalty paid by the appellant shall be refunded to him.

(8) A fixed penalty notice issued under subsection (2) shall bear the signature of the police officer and shall specify-
(a) the date, time and place that the fixed penalty notice was issued;
(b) the section of the written law creating the offence alleged and such particulars of the offence as are required for proceedings under the Summary Courts Act;
(c) the time within which the fixed penalty may be paid in accordance with subsection (2);
(d) the amount of the fixed penalty;
(e) the Clerk to whom, and the address at or to which the fixed penalty may be paid or remitted;
(f) the address of the Court at which the person is required to appear in the event of his failure to pay the fixed penalty within the specified time, and the date and time of such appearance.

(9) Where a notice has been given under subsection (2), the person to whom the notice applies, may, subject to subsection (10), pay the fixed penalty in accordance with the notice.

(10) Payment of the fixed penalty shall be made- (a) to the Clerk, having jurisdiction in the district in which the offence is alleged to have been committed; or (b) in accordance with the Electronic Payments into and out of Court Act, 2018.

(11) Where a fixed penalty is paid in accordance with a fixed penalty notice, a person shall not be liable to any sanction for the offence in respect of which the fixed penalty notice was issued.

(12) The time within which the fixed penalty is payable shall be fourteen days, or such other period as may be prescribed by Rules of Court, from the date of the fixed penalty notice, and where payment reaches the Clerk after that time, it shall not be receivable and shall be returned to the payer.

(13) Payment of the fixed penalty shall be accompanied by the fixed penalty notice completed by the person to whom the fixed penalty notice applies, in the manner prescribed.

(14) Where the fixed penalty is duly paid in accordance with the fixed penalty notice, no person shall then be liable to be convicted of the offence in respect of which the fixed penalty notice was given.

(15) A fixed penalty paid under this Act shall be dealt with in the same manner as payment of a fine imposed for an offence under the Summary Courts Act.

(16) The fixed penalty for an offence under section 5(2A) shall be two thousand dollars or such other amount as the Minister may, by Order subject to negative resolution of Parliament, prescribe.

(17) Proceedings in respect of an offence deemed to be instituted by a fixed penalty notice under this Act shall not be listed for hearing in Court unless—
(a) a period of two months, or such other period as may be prescribed by Rules of Court, has elapsed from the last day on which the penalty is payable and the Clerk has no record that the fixed penalty was paid in accordance with subsection (7); and 
(b) the Clerk has been furnished by the police officer with such information on the person to whom the fixed penalty notice has been issued under subsection (2).

(18) In any proceedings, a certificate that payment of a fixed penalty was or was not made to the Clerk by a date specified in the certificate shall, if the certificate purports to be signed by the Clerk, be sufficient evidence of the facts stated, unless the contrary is proved.

(19) Where the fixed penalty is not paid within the time specified in the notice, proceedings in respect of the offence specified in the fixed penalty notice shall proceed in the manner prescribed by the Summary Courts Act.


Offences

5C. A person who-
(a)   whilst under the influence of cannabis, does anything which constitutes negligence, professional malpractice, or professional misconduct;
(b) has cannabis or cannabis resin in his possession-
(i) on a school bus; or
(ii) in or on any premises where children are present for the purposes of education or attending or participating in any sporting or cultural activity; or
(c) operates, navigates, or is in actual physical control of any motor vehicle, aircraft, or ship whilst under the influence of cannabis, commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine of two hundred and fifty thousand dollars and to imprisonment for five years.


Possession of not more than sixty grammes of cannabis

5D. (1) A person who was charged for the possession of not more than sixty grammes of cannabis or not more than ten grammes of cannabis resin before the commencement of the Dangerous Drugs (Amendment) Act, 2019, may apply to the Court for a discharge of that offence.

(2) Notwithstanding the provisions of section 50K of the Police Service Act, any offence on the criminal record of a person prior to the commencement of the Dangerous Drugs (Amendment) Act, 2019, for the possession of not more than sixty grammes of cannabis or not more than ten grammes of cannabis resin shall be expunged by the Commissioner of Police.

(3) A person who has been convicted for the possession of not more than sixty grammes of cannabis or not more than ten grammes of cannabis resin may apply through his Attorney-at-law to the Commissioner of Police to have that offence expunged from his criminal record.

(4) A person who has had an offence expunged from his criminal record under subsection (2) or (3) may, in respect of that offence, apply for a pardon under section 87 of the Constitution.

SUPPLY OF DANGEROUS DRUGS BY PHARMACISTS UNDER LICENCE AND APPOINTMENT OF INSPECTORS AND ANALYSTS

7. (1) A person who has a licence under section 4 to deal in any dangerous drug shall not supply it to any person except as specifically provided in this Act.

(2) A person who has a licence under section 4 to deal in any dangerous drug may, upon receiving a written order or prescription therefor dated and signed by a person who has a licence under section 4 to deal in a dangerous drug, or by a pharmacist, medical practitioner, dentist or veterinary surgeon, whose signature is known to the person receiving the order or prescription, or if unknown, then verified before the order or prescription is filled, supply a dangerous drug to such person, or to a person authorised under the Regulations to purchase or be in possession of a dangerous drug.

8. (1) Subject to the Regulations, no pharmacist shall supply a dangerous drug to any person except upon receiving a written order or prescription therefor dated and signed by a medical practitioner, dentist or veterinary surgeon whose signature is known to the pharmacist or, if unknown, then verified before the order or prescription is filled.

(2) No pharmacist shall use an order or prescription to supply a dangerous drug on more than one occasion unless the prescription or order so directs and states the number of times it may be refilled.




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