CARICOM report on marijuana to be released next week

A marijuana plant.

The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) is set to release its completed report on medicinal marijuana next week, according to officials.

While there has been much speculation about what may be included in that report, many are said to be hopeful that it will be the catalyst for the legalization of the drug.

Health Minister Dr. Duane Sands said however, that while he can appreciate the anxiety surrounding the subject, there is a fine line between the good and bad effects of marijuana.

“CBD – which is a component of marijuana when used medically – is both safe and probably effective,” Dr. Sands said.

“But medical marijuana is just the door for recreational marijuana.”

Earlier this year, the country held a town hall meeting after CARICOM released a public discourse on the use of marijuana for medical purposes.

Public Hospitals Authority (PHA) Deputy Director Dr. Marvin Smith urged the government during that time to set the standard for medical marijuana research in the Caribbean.

“I haven’t seen the report but I look forward to reading the report,” National Security Marvin Dames said.

“This is the way the world is headed. We can’t ignore it.

“There are many studies being conducted around the world on the medicinal use of marijuana and how it’s reaping positive results. But, we have to look at it from a holistic perspective.

“If you look at countries that have moved toward legalization, it’s not something that has happened overnight. There’s a lot of work and a lot of studies that have to go into this process and as a government. We’re not going to rush into it.”

According to Dr. Sands, the legalization would lead to heavy tax.

“The idea that these items ought to carry a significant tax is certainly reasonable, and hypothetically if we considered liberalizing such a thing, then it wouldn’t be unreasonable in my mind to carry a very hefty level of regulation and taxation,” he noted.

“So, while the tactic that has been used in those jurisdictions that have ultimately ushered in more progressive marijuana legislation, the first step was often medical marijuana but the prize was legalisation of recreational use.

“The Bahamas will have to charter its own course.”