Sunday, 23 February 2020
Driving Under the Influence of Marijuana
Q: Now that marijuana is decriminalized, is the smell of marijuana coming from my vehicle, reasonable cause to search my vehicle without a warrant?
A: This is a very interesting question because whilst it is legal to have in one’s possession no more than 30 grams of cannabis, the following is also true according to the Dangerous Drugs (Amendment)Act 2019, which will eventually be incorporated into the Dangerous Drugs Act:
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.
However, in some very interesting cases being handed down in the United States regarding “Sniff & Search”, the courts have held that “Police still can use the smell of marijuana as justification to search a vehicle... But they can’t search anyone in the vehicle unless they find evidence of a crime, not even if police find a small amount of marijuana.”
Be that as it may in America, let’s see how these issues surrounding new marijuana laws unfold in Trinidad and Tobago.