AG: Cabinet appointed subcommittee to review marijuana legislation

AG: Cabinet appointed subcommittee to review marijuana legislation
A marijuana plant.

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — The Cabinet of The Bahamas has appointed a subcommittee to review marijuana legislation in other jurisdictions, said Attorney General Carl Bethel yesterday.

In an interview with Eyewitness News, Bethel noted that that subcommittee will be seeking expert advice from around the Caribbean region and Canada in order to advance the matter.

Attorney General Carl Bethel. (FILE PHOTO)

He said he has also requested a review of draft legislation from around the region, in order to advise the Cabinet committee.

Last July, the attorney general indicated that a draft bill on marijuana legislation was expected to be presented to Cabinet “in very short order”.

The Bahamas National Commission on Marijuana (BNCM) has completed its survey codifying the views of Bahamians on the legalization of cannabis in the country.

Bethel said the completion of the survey signals that the ball is rolling on the matter.

BNCM Chairman Quinn McCartney recently told Eyewitness News that the committee met and discussed the findings with Public Domain, a Bahamian market research firm commissioned to conduct the survey.

The survey, conducted in the early part of November into the first two weeks of December, included 1,000 respondents across the country.

While he would not disclose the results of the survey, McCartney noted that preliminary analysis of the data showed Bahamians are moving away from traditional views on the matter and are cautiously willing to consider something different.

McCartney noted that the commission’s subcommittees will study the survey data and will meet in two weeks to formulate the final report to present to the prime minister and the Cabinet.

While he said they hope to complete the final report within a matter of weeks, McCartney could not give a date when that final report will be completed and handed over.

The BNCM recommended that marijuana be decriminalized and that individuals be allowed to have a maximum of one ounce of the substance in their possession without prosecution.

The commission also put forth recommendations for medicinal, recreational and religious use of the substance and insisted that Bahamians should own 51 percent of the industry in a legalized framework.

It stopped short of recommending legalization for recreational use, noting more data must be explored.