Caribbean: Trinidad & Tobago Political Leader Calls For New Approach in Dealing with Marijuana

In the run-up to Trinidad & Tobago's national elections Monday, United National Congress (UNC) Party leader Basdeo Panday called for a new approach to dealing with marijuana in the island republic. It wasn't enough to bring the UNC to victory, though; it was defeated once again by the ruling People's National Movement (PNM), which picked up 26 seats in the legislature, compared to 15 for the UNC. Still, the leader of the primary opposition party in the country is calling for a reefer reassessment.
"I think we ought to look at that to see whether prohibiting things really ends the problem," Panday said during a pre-election radio forum. Panday recalled the "old days," when there was a shop selling "ganja" in Princes Town and people would smoke it in chillums on Saturday nights after working in the fields all week. "It never was a problem. That is the strange thing about it. I think we ought to go back and study that," Panday said.

If ganja were to become unavailable because of police crackdowns, Panday said, "fellas would plant it in their backyard" and such a crackdown would be as unsuccessful as American attempts to prohibit alcohol in the 1920s. There needed to be "another approach" to marijuana," he said without going into specifics.

Although marijuana is woven into Trinidad & Tobago culture, as it is throughout much of the Caribbean -- "The Ganja's Farmer's Lament" topped the charts there a couple of years ago -- the islands' use rates are among the lowest in the region. According to the United Nations Office on Drug Control 2007 World Drug Report, use rates were 3.7% in Trinidad and Tobago, compared with nearly 11% in Jamaica and more than 5% in Barbados, Bermuda, Grenada, Haiti, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and the Turks and Caicos Islands.

Marijuana is one thing, but "heavy drugs" are another matter, Panday said, claiming that 80% of crime in the country was linked to their use and trafficking. To combat hard drugs, he said, the "mafia" would have to be dealt with.

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Marijuana in the Carribean

It is controversial who started the "ganja" smoke in the region but it really narrows down to the local and largely extinct local native populations or the endentured servants period that gave birth to West Indian culture in the region. Needless to say, the use of the plant in the region has been going on for centuries, possibly millenia.
Being the one of the most studied substances on earth and there still not any direct link to any serious medical problem, it doesn't take a genius to decide the legalities of this substance on the islands. All of the local lore and expressions surrounding the plant: such as "Poor Man's Friend" in Jamaica, should express well its essence, both in effect on the consciousness and the economy. Studies done in Jamaica and Costa Rica (don't ask me why here, the grass generally bites there! haha) have been fairly conclusive in not only continuing its status as controversial in the areas of things like "productivity" and "motivation" but outright seemed to suggest that ganja smokers, even heavy ones, tended to live a lot longer with fewer overt signs of aging. This was likely attributed to less stressful lifestyles brought on by the effect if the drug on things such as world view and spirituality, which are of couse the backbone of culture everywhere. The issue of marijuana as a whole has to be one of the greatest farces in justice worldwide and not suprisingly led by the USA. It is a very fathomable but very complex reasoning troughing right into the realm of conspiracy and is best examined in complete texts on the matter, such as 'The Emporer Wears No Clothes," and films like "Grass."
Marijuana continues to be used for a variety of reasons regardless of its illegal status around the world, it just goes underground. Could you imagine if we tried to ban coffee? Is someone going to tell me that stuff isn't intoxicating? In my social experience and preference, the smell of marijuana says: "friendly, relaxed, interesting," when I approach a crowd. Pity the rank smell of island rum and stale cigarettes neither hold this association nor have the neutrality or even benefit towards health that pot has. Do the math people, open your eyes, wake up and live, try smoking a dube and going snorkelling and try to tell me this stuff is bad! Have a nice day all.

Enforcer or Police

Marijuana has been debated over an over,,,, It's benefits, uses and effects... Now! can anyone give a straight forward answer to why this herb is illegal.... I come from a little, but vibrant and fast growing caribbean island called Trinidad and Tobago... In my sweet island marijuana has been associated with the 'Rasta Farian' culture, and banned totally. I am a student that has found the "Illegal Herb" very useful, and I am currently studying psychology and making the link between marijuana usage and psychological patterns in co-relation to anthropology... In my sweet island the murder rate has sky rocketed. The interesting about this is that the police force is responsible for a percentage of these murders.... Take for instance the incident that took place on (20Feb2009) where a young man was shot while trying to evade the police after being caught smoking a roll-on (a marijuana joint rolled onto a cigarette). No warning shot was fired to alert the unarmed young man... He was pronounced dead a few hours after the incident... Shot in the back literally by the ones that swore to protect and serve.... What a shame!!!!!


i want to support this cause and i kno many others would love to as well what can we do to maybe realize decriminilazitation in trinidad and tobago

Spain's constitution gives

Spain's constitution gives considerable protection to what people do in the privacy of their homes."
"The Spanish law says that personal behavior in a private place, and this includes private land and outbuildings, is protected by the constitution," "The controversial issues are that police are allowed to determine if what you are doing is personal or if it is meant for distribution, which is illegal, and they are also allowed to arrest you if your cannabis activities or possession are outside of your private domain.


legalize it will stop many

legalize it will stop many arests the goverment could open shops and but a 18 and older limit on it you guys could make income off of weed please legalize

We want wengerocracy to be

We want wengerocracy to be instated, we want no taxes, and we want marijuana to be legalized. 

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