A GREEN BAHAMAS?: National security minister says he foresees a Bahamas with legalized marijuana

A GREEN BAHAMAS?: National security minister says he foresees a Bahamas with legalized marijuana

Residents express mixed views on legalization for recreational use

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Minister of National Security Marvin Dames said yesterday he can “absolutely envision” a future where marijuana is legalized in the country.

“That’s the way the world is moving, but after having said that, we have to be responsible in our approach to it,” he said.

Minister of National Security Marvin Dames.

His comments come as debate around legalization of the drug has heightened following Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis’ announcement that the government is drafting legislation to present to Parliament on marijuana legalization.

However, some residents remain torn on whether the government should move full steam ahead with the proposed legalization.

One resident said: “For the purpose of selling it, really for material gain, where people’s lives are destroyed, then I am totally against that because I’ve also been around from the ‘80s and I saw the destruction the marijuana trade has caused in The Bahamas.”

Another resident said: “Definitely, on medicinal marijuana, I think they should go ahead and legalize it.

“But for recreational marijuana, I think the penalties should be less for someone smoking a joint or having a joint on them.”

As it stands, anyone convicted of possession of marijuana can be sentenced up to 10 years’ imprisonment and earn a criminal record that can stay with them for a lifetime.

However, with talks of the expungement of records of those convicted for possession of small quantities of marijuana being in play, many residents agree that penalties should be lessened.

One resident said: “I’ve seen so many young people’s lives destroyed because of a small quantity of marijuana in their possession. So, if it is going to alleviate some of that, yes.”

Another said: “They (the government) should not lock up anyone with a small possession of marijuana.

“There’s no point in clogging up the criminal system with petty crimes, really, as long as it hadn’t led to any acts of violence.”

The governing Free National Movement (FNM) said in a statement they are fighting to expunge the records for minor marijuana offenses. Dames said an announcement from Minnis on the issue is forthcoming.

Written by Eyewitness News Intern Devonté Hanna