Marijuana, weed, cannabis, pot, ganja, Mary Jane....whatever you choose to call it, there are always questions about it. Here are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about the laws on marijuana in T&T:
1. Is smoking weed legal in Trinidad and Tobago?
Well it actually depends on where you smoke it.
According to section 5A (1) of the Dangerous Drugs Act (as amended by Act No. 24 of 2019), if you smoke cannabis or cannabis resin in a public place you would be committing an offence.
Smoking in this case means to inhale, exhale, burn, combust or vaporise the substance OR to carry any lighted or heated device, pipe or other product for the inhalation of the substance - this includes an electronic smoking device like a vape pen.
A public place means a place in which the public has access. However, it does not include any premises used as a dwelling. In other words, if you smoke marijuana at home or at a private residence it would be considered legal.
If a police officer has reason to believe that you are smoking weed in public or you have been smoking weed in public he can issue what is called a "fixed penalty notice" charging you with the offence of smoking in public place and requiring you to pay the fixed penalty within the time specified on the fixed penalty notice (section 5B (2) of the Dangerous Drugs Act (as amended by Act No. 24 of 2019).
The fixed penalty for this offence is $2000TT (section 5B (16) of the Dangerous Drugs Act (as amended by Act No. 24 of 2019).
2. Can I smoke inside my vehicle?
You can smoke inside your vehicle as long as you are not on a public road, public space or in private space that is legally accessible to the public. To be safe, if your want to smoke in your car - do it at home in your garage or driveway.
3. How much marijuana am I allowed to have on me in T&T?
According to section 5 (2)(f) of the Dangerous Drugs Act (as amended by Act No. 24 of 2019), a person in T&T is allowed to have in his possession not more than 30 grammes of cannabis OR 5 grammes of cannabis resin.
Cannabis is the combination of the dried flowers and leaves of the plant. Whereas, the cannabis resin is the gooey sticky sap-like residue on the cannabis plant. The resin is produced by various parts of the plant but it is heavily concentrated on the buds of unpollinated female cannabis flowers. Female plants are grown and harvested specifically for their resin, which is rich in THC (the main ingredient in cannabis that makes you high) and therefore is considered the most valuable part of the plant.
4. Can I grow my own marijuana in T&T?
Yes, in Trinidad and Tobago you can legally grow your own marijuana plants (no matter the gender of the plant) - but there is a limit on the number of plants. According to section 5 (2)(g) of the Dangerous Drugs Act (as amended by Act No. 24 of 2019), a person can cultivate and have in his possession up to four growing marijuana plants.
5. How many growing marijuana plants are allowed in a household?
In T&T, a person can cultivate and have in his possession up to four growing marijuana plants. This implies that within a given household EACH adult in that household can have up to four growing marijuana plants. Therefore if there are 2 adults in a household, there can be up to 8 growing marijuana plants. If there are 3 adults in a household, there can be up to 12 growing marijuana plants. Please note this is on the assumption that each adult has no other growing plants in his/her possession outside of the household.
6. Can I have 30 grammes of marijuana in my possession and also have 4 growing marijuana plants?
Yes you can have 30 grammes or less of marijuana (OR 5 grammes or less of cannabis resin) in your possession AND have 4 growing marijuana plants - at the same time.
7. Where can I buy marijuana legally in T&T?
It is against the law to buy or sell marijuana in T&T unless the buyer has a prescription and the seller has a licence to sell. Under the Dangerous Drugs Act, the Minister (of Legal Affairs) can issue licences for the sale of cannabis. However, these licences for sale appear to be limited to selling for medicinal or scientific purposes only - not for recreational use.
8. Is it legal to consume weed brownies or cookies in T&T?
Well...it may be. You see in order to be charged with possession of marijuana above the legal limit, the marijuana has to be weighed - it has to be more than 30 grammes. BUT that becomes IMPOSSIBLE if it's baked or cooked into an edible. Unlike other countries where the possession of edibles is specified, it is not in Trinidad and Tobago's Dangerous Drugs Act. So how do you charge someone for possession of more than 30 grammes of cannabis when it's all baked in a cake or a cannabis-infused meal?
9. Is it illegal to drive under the influence of marijuana?
Yes, it is illegal to drive under the influence of marijuana in T&T.
According to section 5C of the Dangerous Drugs Act (as amended by Act No. 24 of 2019):
"5C. A person who--
(a) whilst under the influence of cannabis, does anything which constitutes negligence, professional malpractice, or professional misconduct;
(b) has cannabis or cannabis resin in his possession--
(i) on a school bus; or
(ii) in or on any premises where children are present for the purposes of education or attending or participating in any sporting or cultural activity; or
(c) operates, navigates, or is in actual physical control of any motor vehicle, aircraft, or ship whilst under the influence of cannabis, commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine of two hundred and fifty thousand dollars and to imprisonment for five years."
Additionally, under section Section 70 of the Motor Vehicles and Road Traffic Act any person driving under the influence of a drug to such an extent as to be incapable of having proper control of the vehicle is guilty of an offence:
"70. (1) Any person who, when driving or attempting to drive or when in charge of a motor vehicle on a road, is under the influence of drink or a drug to such an extent as to be incapable of having proper control of the vehicle, is liable on first conviction to a fine of twelve thousand dollars and to imprisonment for three years and on any subsequent conviction to a fine of twenty-two thousand, five hundred dollars and to imprisonment for five years.
(2) A person convicted of--
(a) two consecutive offences under this section shall, unless the Court for special reasons thinks fit to order otherwise and without prejudice to the power of the Court to order a longer period of disqualification, be disqualified for a period of three years from the date of the conviction from holding or obtaining a driving permit; and
(b) a third conviction for a like offence, shall be permanently disqualified from holding or obtaining a driving permit;
(3) Any constable may arrest without a warrant any person committing an offence under this section.
(4) The Minister may, by Order, approve the device to be used for the detection of drugs pursuant to subsection (1)."
The Ministry of Works and Transport in Trinidad and Tobago has also stated to the press that it is moving to finalize a policy for the introduction of drugalizer devices to address the potential issue that may arise regarding drug-impaired driving in Trinidad and Tobago.
10. Is CBD and THC oil legal in Trinidad and Tobago?
CBD, known scientifically as cannabidiol, is one of around 100 different cannabinoids found within the cannabis plant. CBD, unlike its relative THC, will not get you high. CBD oil is made by extracting CBD from the cannabis plant, then diluting it with a carrier oil like coconut or hemp seed oil.
CBD oil appears to be legal in T&T as cannabidiol is not listed in the First or Second Schedule of the Dangerous Drugs Act and therefore it is not considered to be a dangerous drug. This means you would not be guilty of an offence if it is in your possession.
Whereas, THC, known as tetrahydrocannabinol, is the psychoactive ‘counterpart’ to CBD. It is responsible for the high associated with cannabis. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is listed as a psychotropic substance in Schedule I of the Second Schedule of the Dangerous Drugs Act. Therefore it is considered a dangerous drug.
It means having THC oil is illegal in T&T and if it is in your possession you would be guilty of an offence unless:
Additionally, according to section 5(9)(f) of the Dangerous Drugs Act (as amended by Act No. 24 of 2019), a person found in possession of more than 5 grammes of THC is deemed to have the dangerous drug for the purpose of trafficking unless the contrary is proved - the burden of proving the contrary rests on the accused.
Important Notice: This post does not constitute or provide legal advice. Always consult a suitably qualified lawyer on any legal problem or issue.