Features — 08 November 2017 — by Audrey Matura-Shepherd
RIGHT TO THE POINT: Will hotels consent to the use of marijuana on their premises?

Continued from Page 10 of the Friday, November 3, 2017, Issue No. 3129 of the Amandala

Penalties
Then there is the amendment to Section 18, which deals with the penalties imposed. The essence of that section is that it states that the penalties referred to in sub-section (1) regarding possession for cannabis and cannabis resin are not applicable, provided the amount of marijuana is ten grammes or less, and the possession and use is not on the premises of an educational institution. However, what it does not state or clarify, is whether it is an offence once the proprietor of the premises does not consent to the activity on his premises, notwithstanding that the amount is only ten grammes or less. Likewise, it leaves me to assume that if the ten grammes is in possession or use of a person other than on some premises, then it is an offence. But the law is drafted so poorly, I really would need clarification of that. Also, what happens if I have possession or use in my own vehicle or boat? If my assumption is right, then it means that if you are found in possession while travelling to your home, it is an offence, but if at your home it is not. Then it would also make sense that it is illegal to smoke or use any quantity of marijuana in public. Thus this ambiguity has to be clarified in the legislation.

Now Section 18(2) is subject to the new Section 18(2A), which can only be understood by reading 18(2) which now reads “(2) Subject to sub-section (2A) [I think an “AND” is missing] any regulations under section 9 for the time being in force, a person found in possession of a controlled drug in any school premises, or any other place of education or training or any centre for the rehabilitation of drug addicts, or in the immediate vicinity of any such premises, is deemed to have the controlled drug for the purpose of drug trafficking unless the contrary is proved, the burden of proof being on the accused.” But (2A) is saying this section does apply where the total amount of cannabis or cannabis resin found in the possession of any person [which I believe includes minors] is not more than ten grammes…” and as such under Section 7(7) (a) would not have been an offence and under Section 7(7) (b) would have only resulted in warnings or tickets because it’s an educational institution where the possession etc. took place.

In short… ten grammes of marijuana is not totally legal and those property owners must decide whether to consent or not consent. I await to hear from GOB the penalties where there is no consent!”

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Eden Cruz

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