House passes Cannabis Control Bill

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Faris Al-Rawi. File photo/Jeff K. Mayers

The House of Representatives unanimously passed the Cannabis Control Bill 2020 on Friday to regulate the commercialisation of marijuana. According to the bill’s long title, it will “provide for the regulatory control of the handling of cannabis for certain purposes, the establishment of the Trinidad and Tobago Cannabis Licensing Authority and connected matters.”

The bill’s passage came after the House approved a motion to adopt the report of the joint select committee (JSC) on the bill. Those speaking on the motion were Fyzabad MP Dr Lackram Bodoe, Sport Minister Shamfa Cudjoe, Pointe-a-Pierre MP David Lee, La Horquetta/Talparo MP Foster Cummings and Moruga/Tableland MP Michelle Benjamin.

In his wind-up on the motion Minister of Local Government and Rural Affairs Faris Al-Rawi said the bill would give the country opportunities to make some “serious money” even as the broader relaxation of the law on cannabis consumption (by the Dangerous Drugs (Amendment) Bill has greatly helped to unclog the country’s legal justice system. He said the commercial handling of cannabis under the Cannabis Control Bill will not be impeded by the Dangerous Drugs Act, Proceeds of Crime Act, Medical Board Act, or Pharmacy Board Act.

He said the bill will allow individuals entering the cannabis industry to become bankable, without any risk of correspondent bank failure.

“People have the opportunity to make some serious money in a serious industry.”

The AG promised regulations which will go into greater detail on aspects of the bill. He said the regulations will include “an explosion care and caution” in the management of cannabis, as opposed to a mere economic approach. “The opportunities in rural areas from an economic standpoint will be tremendous.”

Al-Rawi said TT could get the opportunity to market cannabis by way of its point of origin, just like the categorisation of champagne. He said his constituents of San Fernando West were lined up behind the economic opportunities presented by the new bill. He said that on behalf of the people of TT he could say there was “great excitement” over the new bill.