Attorney General Faris Al Rawi has laid two pieces of legislation in Parliament, that seek to decriminalise marijuana.
The bills are called the Dangerous Drugs (Amendment) Bill and the Cannabis Control Bill.
They will both come up for debate in the House of Representatives at a later date.
In laying the legislation, the AG said that between 2017 and 2018, there were 84,666 cases before the courts under the Dangerous Drugs Act, for possession, cultivation and gathering of weed.
Of that figure, 71,964 were for possession of marijuana alone.
He said that 9,553 marijuana-related cases were brought before the magistrate courts between 2017 and 2018, with 8,316 for possession alone in one year.
Al Rawi told the House that it is mostly poor and underprivileged men who feel the brunt of the law under the existing legislation.
He said that approximately 500 people each year are unable to access bail even though they were granted bail by the court over marijuana possession.
He told the Parliament that the cost to taxpayers for keeping them in remand is as 'atrocious'.
"The government, after significant research and wide stakeholder consultation, is of the firm view it is the correct time to amend the Dangerous Drugs Act," he said, adding that there will be and strict licensing implemtned through a Cannabis Control Authority.
"While others have flirted or failed in 25 years since the passing of Dangerous Drugs Act, please to witness the laying of two bills, the Dangerous Drugs Amendment and Cannabis Control Bill," Al Rawi said.
The new law will maintain the prohibition of the use of marijuana in public spaces, educational places and places of work.
It will allow a person to lawfully grow no more than four cannabis male plants at a residence without a license.
Possession of 30 grammes or less will no longer be an offence.
Fixed penalties will apply for possession of more than 30 gramme but not more than 60 grammes and for possession of five to 10 grammes of resin.
The full brunt of law will be applied only if someone refuses to pay the fixed penalty and after community service is explored.
Persons will be prosecuted for having marijuana in school limits, on a bus or in a schoolyard, even if they are in possession of the acceptable amounts.
That penalty will be $200,000 and imprisonment for five years.
Anyone in control of a motor vehicle, aircraft or ship while under the influence of marijuana will be liable to summary conviction carrying a penalty of $250,000 and imprisonment of five years.
Persons currently before the courts for possession of up to 60 grammes can apply to be discharged and have their matters expunged. They will also be able to apply for a pardon.
The AG said that eight types of licenses will be granted by the Cannabis Control Authority, including licenses for cultivation, retail distribution, importation/exportation and transportation.
Strict controls will also be in place for medicinal use and religious purposes.
Differences between male and female marijuana plants
Male plants essentially produce pollen which is needed for cannabis plants to naturally reproduce; seeds occur when there are male plants in the mix. If you want to make your own seeds you will need a male plant. However, if you’re growing regular plants and want to harvest flowers, we recommend getting rid of any males as soon as possible. You won’t be able to tell them apart until they begin to flower, which is when plants begin to show their sex. Male weed plants grow “balls” that open up to let their pollen out, ending up looking like a small bunch of flowers. You’ll need to get rid of them way before this happens. If they manage to release their pollen it’ll be too late. They can take up to three weeks to burst. If you’re still not sure how to tell them apart, male flowers do not have any pistils on them at all.
Female plants are basically what everyone is after when growing cannabis, as these are the ones that make buds, which is the part of the plant that contains the most THC. With just one male plant and a miniscule amount of pollen, your plants might end up filling their flowers with seeds. If you have male and female plants in the same growing area, the buds grown there will only produce seeds so you won’t be able to smoke any of it. You can tell females apart due to the fact that their flowers don’t fully close, they’re actually quite open and they produce little hairs called pistils. They’re incredibly easy to recognize, as the first thing they produce are their pistils, which male plants do not have at all.
- by Sampson Nanton