Davis: More work to be done before decriminalization

Davis: More work to be done before decriminalization
Progressive Liberal Party Leader Philip Davis

PLP leader suggests age limit put in place in legalized environment

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Opposition Leader Philip Brave Davis said yesterday the approach to decriminalization of cannabis in The Bahamas must be responsible to avoid unintended consequences, namely “overly burdening” inner-city communities in The Bahamas.

In the preliminary report of the Bahamas National Commission on Marijuana obtained by Eyewitness News Online, the commission green-lighted recreational and medicinal cannabis, while recommending Bahamians own 51 percent of the industry in a legalized framework.

The report has not been completed and remains under review by the commission.

“To me, to the report, there is much to be done before we move to complete decriminalization,” Davis said during a press conference at the PLP headquarters, though he noted he had not seen the preliminary report as yet.

“We have to appreciate that the consequential burden of decriminalizing marijuana is going to be carried by our inner-city use.

“There has to be a responsible approach to the decimalization. We have to understand and appreciate that each and every one of us, our metabolism, and so far as what we ingest, in our system will react. Each of us will have different reaction to it.

“During my sojourn in the practice of law, I have seen the use of marijuana and what the deleterious effect it may have had on some and what good impact it would have had on others.

Davis said there is a need to find a balance to ensure the intention to benefit from the substance does not have “unintended consequences”.

He suggested introducing an age limit for the potential recreational use of the substance.

“For example, I think being responsible we cannot approach it in a way where young children —young people — who are still in high school for example,” he said.

“Reports are showing that children at the age of eight, still in junior high school are using marijuana. Is that something that we would want? And so, the message has to be that we are not too permissive for the use in young children. So, it has to be, we have to look at age — an age qualification. These are some of the factors, so work still has to be done.

The PLP leader commended the work of the commission.

He said from a policy point of view, a phased approach upon further study and informative understanding on the impact of the use of cannbis is the best way forward.

The PLP has openly expressed its support for the decriminalization of cannabis in The Bahamas.

Asked about the medicinal use of the substance, Davis said he does not believe there is a need for an age limit.

“I think that ought to be left to what I call the prescribing physician who’s going to prescribe to determine whether a young child should be treated with medicinal marijuana,” he said.

“…I think we leave that to the experts who are administering, taking, under who’s care a patient might be and who might require the use of marijuana. We ought to leave that to the experts to regulate and be responsible for, rather than we put the limit on that aspect.”