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  • Minister of Justice, Senator the Hon. Mark Golding, says the successful implementation of the new law regarding possession of small quantities of ganja will require the discretion and judgement of the police.
  • Mr. Golding said discretion and judgement on the part of the police is not an unusual requirement for the performance of their duties.
  • The Minister added that operational guidelines are also issued to ensure implementation in a manner that meets both the objective of law enforcement and the policy objectives of the new law.

Minister of Justice, Senator the Hon. Mark Golding, says the successful implementation of the new law regarding possession of small quantities of ganja will require the discretion and judgement of the police.

Mr. Golding said discretion and judgement on the part of the police is not an unusual requirement for the performance of their duties.

“As is usual, when laws which affect the police’s mode of operation are introduced, the police are sensitized within the context of the relevant policy of the Ministry of National Security,” he explained.

The Minister added that operational guidelines are also issued to ensure implementation in a manner that meets both the objective of law enforcement and the policy objectives of the new law.

Responding to questions tabled by Opposition Senator, Robert Montague, in the Senate, regarding the amended Dangerous Drugs Act (Ganja Law), on May 29, Senator Golding said that the police are not presently equipped with weighing apparatus in the field and are therefore not able to determine scientifically the precise weight of ganja in the field.

“However, two ounces of ganja are substantially more than a large spliff,” the Minister noted.

He said that in situations where it may not be clear whether or not the amount of ganja exceeds two ounces, but it is reasonable to infer that the ganja is for the person’s own personal use, the policy of the Ministry of National Security is that, rather than expending the police’s time and other resources in proceeding with a criminal charge for possession that will ultimately be unsuccessful if the amount is less than two ounces, the police should proceed on the basis that the amount does not exceed two ounces and may issue a ticket.

Also, he said a person who has been wrongly ticketed for a substance that is not ganja may decline to pay the ticket. “After the 30-day period for payment of the ticket, proceedings may be commenced in the Petty Sessions Court against the person for the offence of non-payment of the ticket. If the person advises the court that the substance for which the person was ticketed was not ganja, the burden would be on the prosecution to establish (proof),” he said.

The Dangerous Drugs (Amendment) Act 2015 became effective on April 15, and makes provision for development of a medical marijuana industry.