Trinidad: Judge warns of $3M fine for weed in schools

(TRINIDAD GUARDIAN) – While chil­dren may be cu­ri­ous about mar­i­jua­na and its var­i­ous prod­ucts, High Court Judge Frank Seep­er­sad yes­ter­day told stu­dents of the Na­pari­ma Girls High School that bring­ing the drug to school can change their lives for the worse.

Seep­er­sad ex­plained that any­one found guilty of bring­ing mar­i­jua­na to a school faces a max­i­mum penal­ty of $3 mil­lion as well as life im­pris­on­ment if found guilty by the High Court.

He was speak­ing to the stu­dents and staff on the de­crim­i­nal­i­sa­tion of mar­i­jua­na and its le­gal con­se­quences.

Just last week, sev­er­al stu­dents of the Ch­agua­nas North Sec­ondary School were treat­ed for a se­ries of ail­ments af­ter con­sum­ing mar­i­jua­na-in­fused brown­ies. Stu­dents suf­fered nau­sea, headaches and vom­it­ing. A Form Five fe­male stu­dent was ques­tioned by po­lice

“Sim­ply put, it is against the law to bring mar­i­jua­na or any prod­uct con­tain­ing mar­i­jua­na on­to school premis­es. The con­se­quences which can be at­tached if mar­i­jua­na is brought on­to a school’s premis­es are dire and se­vere. If you are found guilty by the High Court, the max­i­mum penal­ty can be a fine of $3 mil­lion as well as life im­pris­on­ment.

“School chil­dren need to un­der­stand that mar­i­jua­na has no place in the school as it is il­le­gal to bring mar­i­jua­na or any mar­i­jua­na prod­uct, in­clud­ing mar­i­jua­na brown­ies to school. If you or some­one you know brings same in­to this com­pound or take it to any school com­pound, which in­cludes a nurs­ery, kinder­garten, day­care cen­tre or a chil­dren’s home, very se­ri­ous and life-al­ter­ing con­se­quences can and will fol­low,” Seep­er­sad said.

Un­der Sec­tion 5c of the Dan­ger­ous Drugs Act, it is an of­fence to have mar­i­jua­na or mar­i­jua­na resin while on a school bus or on any premis­es where chil­dren are gath­ered for an ed­u­ca­tion­al, cul­tur­al or sport­ing pur­pose. Even so, for those 18 years old and over, they are not al­lowed to have mar­i­jua­na on them on a field trip, mu­sic fes­ti­val, In­ter­col or crick­et match.

While mar­i­jua­na may be le­gal un­der some con­di­tions, med­ical doc­tor Navin­dra Per­sad told stu­dents on Wednes­day, that there is a chance of it be­ing linked to can­cer. Per­sad said since the drug has been de­crim­i­nalised in sev­er­al coun­tries, a study was done and it showed that there were more cas­es of can­cer be­ing as­so­ci­at­ed with the use of mar­i­jua­na.

How­ev­er, he ad­mit­ted that the study was lim­it­ed and did not rule out that work en­vi­ron­ment and ge­net­ics could have played a role in de­vel­op­ing can­cer.

“The pre­vail­ing thought in the pub­lic is, I would say for 60 per cent of the pop­u­la­tion thinks that mar­i­jua­na is safe. You’ve been hear­ing things like, ‘it’s nat­ur­al.’ Mer­cury is nat­ur­al. Ar­senic is nat­ur­al. So will you take that? No, it will kill you. So that ar­gu­ment where they like to say, ‘Oh! It’s nat­ur­al,’ there are oth­er as­pects,” Per­sad said.

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