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.