As the ongoing debate on whether or not to legalize marijuana continues, members of the Marijuana Commission Board have added 25 persons from a wide cross section of society to their team.
Bishop Simeon Hall and former deputy commissioner of police Quinn McCartney were recently appointment co-chairs of the Marijuana Commission Board.
Bishop Hall told Eyewitness News on Saturday that the 25 members comprise of pastors, lawyers, pharmacists, doctors, school teachers and other professions.
The Commission, he said, will be centered around research.
“We are hopeful that we would be able to look at the religious, recreational and medicinal use of marijuana, [and] persons in the Bahamian community have already began looking at the economic benefit of this herb,” Hall said.
Hall mentioned that there is a popular misconception that the Committee’s purpose is to promote the usage and legality of marijuana.
“The commission is not in the business to promote the usage of marijuana. It is to study the fact that it is already in our society and how we can curb this,” he stressed.
Hall touched on another misconception about marijuana users. He said that the average person hears the word ‘marijuana’ and depicts someone who is ‘crazy’ or ‘spaced, but evidence, he said, does not support this false reality. He told Eyewitness News that misconceptions like this one has inspired the Committee to put its primary emphasis on education.
Hall also mentioned that while serving on the CARICOM national commission for marijuana he was amazed at the ability of participants [from other countries] to come into open forum and have intelligent conversations about the legalization of marijuana.
“Some of these places were not as fluent as the Bahamas,” said Hall, “but they seem to have gained a level of discourse and national conversation that we in the Bahamas seem to be lacking.”
Hall stated that the finalized committee is expected to have its first official meeting in the coming weeks, and they will begin to call on persons who are for or against the legalization of marijuana, listen to both sides, and then make a conclusion.
Hall said he does not know how long the process will take, but they will do their best to be worthy of the Bahamian people’s trust to move forward.