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Cannabis Control Bill Moves Forward In Trinidad And Tobago

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Trinidad and Tobago’s emerging medical cannabis industry received a big boost on Friday when the Caribbean nation’s House of Representatives voted unanimously to pass the Cannabis Control Bill 2020.

The bill would, among other things, set up the Trinidad and Tobago Cannabis Licensing Authority which would serve as the regulatory body for the nation’s medical cannabis industry.

As I previously reported, part of the measure would create licenses for religious use. The religious use licensing provisions seemed to be causing some concern among religious groups and at least one lawmaker leading up to the vote, however, those concerns were obviously not enough to prevent the unanimous vote.

There are five cannabis licenses that people who use cannabis for religious purposes would be able to apply for according to the measure:

  • a cultivator license
  • dispensary
  • import license
  • export license
  • transport license

Cannabis was decriminalized in Trinidad and Tobago in 2019, and people can possess up to 30 grams of cannabis and cultivate up to 4 plants on their own property. The recently passed measure would create economic opportunities if it makes it all the way to the finish line, especially in rural areas, as touched on by coverage from Newsday:

In his wind-up on the motion Minister of Local Government and Rural Affairs Faris Al-Rawi said the bill would give the country opportunities to make some “serious money” even as the broader relaxation of the law on cannabis consumption (by the Dangerous Drugs (Amendment) Bill has greatly helped to unclog the country’s legal justice system. He said the commercial handling of cannabis under the Cannabis Control Bill will not be impeded by the Dangerous Drugs Act, Proceeds of Crime Act, Medical Board Act, or Pharmacy Board Act.

He said the bill will allow individuals entering the cannabis industry to become bankable, without any risk of correspondent bank failure.

“People have the opportunity to make some serious money in a serious industry.”

The Cannabis Control Bill now moves to the upper house (Senate) of the bicameral Parliament of Trinidad and Tobago.

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