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