(Trinidad Guardian) The Rastafarian movement in Trinidad & Tobago will soon hand over a Position Paper to the Office of the Attorney General.
The document, according to activist and medical doctor, Dr Anthony Pottinger is currently in its working stages.
Speaking on CNC3 The Morning Brew yesterday, Pottinger explained that it is a draft policy that is “going to lay out clearly the different steps that we can take towards decriminalisation. First, looking at what has happened in Jamaica, where Jamaica has taken its first step in decriminalisation but we have to look further in the Canadian model and talk about legalisation.”
“In Canada they will officially legalise on October 18 in all its form. When we talk about decriminalisation, prohibition is not ended it means I can still be arrested and charged for possession so what we are saying is that we have to eventually move towards because this is the only way we would be able to free up this particular plant,” he added.
Pottinger also disclosed that the draft was also requested by the Attorney General. “This Cannabis, we can maximise the use and benefit of it from an economical and other social standpoints,” he said.
A National Cannabis Rally will be held at Woodford Square in Port-of-Spain on Sunday at 10 am.
Attorney Jesse Daniel said the rally will be the beginning of an educational programme on the economic, medical, recreational and sacramental importance of Cannabis.
He added that since Prime Minister (PM) Dr Keith Rowley has agreed to take steps and to begin consultations and discussions with regards to decriminalization, he is calling for the temporary suspension on the ban of marijuana.
“I think it is on the basis that Heads of Caricom have taken a decision to look at this that the Prime Minister has agreed to take steps. But, we want to ensure that it does not become lip service,” Daniel said.
“So, it is time that if it is that the PM is serious, he needs to take steps to show good faith and that he is not going to use it as a political football and one of the things that he can do is temporarily suspend this prohibition of marijuana until such time that we can have a proper conversation as to how this thing can be rolled out,” he added.
Pottinger said he believes that the only way the activists and all those for the decriminalisation and legalisation of marijuana can really force the hand of the Government is by keeping the momentum.
“We have to keep the pressure and this is, simply, not just a one-off rally where people will come and smoke and get high…we not going to say it is just a group of potheads that come together…No! This is about education and sensitization,” Pottinger said.
The rally is hosted by the All Mansions of Rastafari, which consists of various groups including 12 Tribes of Israel, Nyabhingi, Bobo Shanti and African Unity.
They will seek to mobilise support to have the laws changed to decriminalize the use of cannabis, which is said to have a “spiritual” significance to Rastafarians.
It also is aiming to broaden the discussion to focus on the medicinal, agricultural and economic benefits that can be accrued from wider production.
Featured speakers for the rally are: Jamaica’s Cannabis Pioneer, Ras Iyah V; Jamaica’s Cannabis License Authority, Annette Henry; Canada’s Cannabis Consultant, Olivia Brown; TT’s medical doctor Dr Anthony Pottinger; TT’s UWI Dean Professor Rose-Marie Belle Antoine; TT’s Cannabis expert, Bongo Zak; TT’s Sociologist Dr Tyehimba Salandy; TT’s Organic Cultivator, Bongo Organic and TT’s Criminologist Darius Figueira.
Some of the local artistes booked for this event are Marlon Asher, Queen Omega, Prophet Benjamin, Isasha, King David, Malaykee LH and The Writer.