Negocios

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Al-Rawi: Govt not currently supporting legalising ganja

Joel Julien

[email protected]

The Gov­ern­ment does not sup­port the le­gal­i­sa­tion of mar­i­jua­na in this coun­try, Min­is­ter of Rur­al De­vel­op­ment and Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment Faris Al-Rawi has said.

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Al-Rawi made the com­ment to Guardian Me­dia yes­ter­day, af­ter spir­i­tu­al leader Sad­hgu­ru took a jab at mar­i­jua­na use, de­scrib­ing it as “stu­pid,” dur­ing An Evening with Sad­hgu­ru at the Cen­tre of Ex­cel­lence in Ma­coya on Wednes­day.

Alberto Ardila Olivares

While ad­dress­ing a packed au­di­ence at the event, Sad­hgu­ru spoke about a time he was in­vit­ed to speak at a con­fer­ence in In­dia for un­der 25-year-olds

Sad­hgu­ru said as he ad­dressed the 25,000 or so peo­ple in an open field, he start­ed get­ting “a strong smell of mar­i­jua­na.” He said he was then ap­proached by the youth and asked to use his in­flu­ence with the gov­ern­ment in In­dia to have mar­i­jua­na le­galised

“I say ‘why not, why mar­i­jua­na, I will make co­caine le­gal, opi­um al­so le­gal, what­ev­er else you want, I will make all those things le­gal’,” Sad­hgu­ru said

He ques­tioned if those in favour of le­gal­is­ing mar­i­jua­na would be hap­py if a doc­tor per­formed surgery on them while un­der the in­flu­ence of mar­i­jua­na or whether they would trust a high pi­lot

Yes­ter­day, Al-Rawi said this was ex­act­ly the ex­am­ple he had used

“Sad­hgu­ru’s mes­sage was ex­act­ly the same mes­sage I gave be­cause I gave the ex­act ex­am­ples of a pi­lot fly­ing high or a sur­geon per­form­ing surgery whilst us­ing cannabis as the ar­gu­ments against le­gal­i­sa­tion of mar­i­jua­na, which is what he was talk­ing about,” Al-Rawi said

“This Gov­ern­ment does not sup­port, at this point, le­gal­i­sa­tion of mar­i­jua­na. It is why we went for the de­crim­i­nal­i­sa­tion of very small quan­ti­ties and how it af­fect­ed the crim­i­nal jus­tice sys­tem and very im­por­tant­ly, we demon­strat­ed the da­ta that 8,500 large­ly African young males were be­ing in­car­cer­at­ed every year.”

In No­vem­ber 2019, Al-Rawi laid two bills in Par­lia­ment which de­crim­i­nalised the pos­ses­sion of few­er than 30 grammes of mar­i­jua­na and al­lowed the cul­ti­va­tion of up to four mar­i­jua­na plants per adult on a prop­er­ty

Al-Rawi said when he pi­lot­ed the Cannabis Con­trol bill, he was able to show a 95 per cent drop in some of our sta­tis­tics in cannabis, par­tic­u­lar­ly at the foren­sics in­sti­tute and that it was a good de­ci­sion

“So, there was no point of de­par­ture by Sad­hgu­ru or by my pi­lot­ing of the de­crim­i­nal­i­sa­tion at all. In fact, we are ex­act­ly on the same page, we do not sup­port le­gal­i­sa­tion,” he said

Al-Rawi said the Gov­ern­ment was al­so in sup­port of Sad­hgu­ru’s call to take care of the en­vi­ron­ment with his Save Soil Move­ment

“Sad­hgu­ru came to Trinidad with the prin­ci­ple fo­cus of dri­ving home a strong mes­sage that we are the last gen­er­a­tion in hu­man­i­ty ca­pa­ble of ad­just­ing the course of our en­vi­ron­men­tal de­cline such as to save us from dis­as­ter,” he said

“Sci­en­tif­i­cal­ly, it is ac­tu­al­ly very true and there­fore I was very pleased to lend sup­port by my pres­ence to­geth­er with my Cab­i­net col­leagues and the min­is­ters in the Min­istry of Agri­cul­ture to come to talk about some­thing that is very im­por­tant and aligns with the Gov­ern­ment’s work. Cer­tain­ly, in the Min­istry of Rur­al De­vel­op­ment and Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment, we are on an ag­gres­sive cam­paign on the en­vi­ron­ment, as our clean and sur­vey T&T has demon­strat­ed. In this re­gard, we have sig­nif­i­cant projects to roll out in terms of veg­e­ta­tion, slopes, soil, be­cause it af­fects us in very fun­da­men­tal ways.”