Decriminalizing marijuana not a priority for government, PM says

Decriminalizing marijuana is not on Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley’s list of priorities.

This is despite a recommendation by the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Marijuana Commission that countries in the region move to either legalize or decriminalize marijuana.

The commission presented its report to CARICOM Heads of Government at their 39th Annual Conference in Montego Bay, Jamaica last week, suggesting that going the route of legalization or decriminalization could lead to substantial economic benefits.

But Rowley said at a post-Cabinet media briefing on Thursday that the jury is still out on that.

“At the moment we’re not running any advocacy for decriminalizing marijuana or incorporating it into the economic space because we have some other priorities and we’re also not convinced of the benefits that some people are asking us to grasp,” he said.

Rowley identified one of those priorities as addressing the crime situation in the twin-island republic.

“The crime level is affecting us in very many ways, not just safety and security, but also in watering down our position for economic growth and T&T’s potential to sell ourself as a place where investment can be done and we’re losing in our communities, the sense of brotherly love,” he said.

However, he said a state of emergency wasn’t being considered “at this time” since Government didn’t see it as an effective way of changing what’s happening and this could also have negative effects on the economy, creating environment for growth of criminals.

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