Marijuana commission reconvenes today

Marijuana commission reconvenes today
Bahamas National Commission on Marijuana’s logo

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — The Bahamas National Commission on Marijuana (BNMC) is expected to reconvene today for the first time since March.

The commission plans to discuss the way forward for the completion of its recommendations on the legalization of marijuana in The Bahamas, Eyewitness News was told.

The group’s preliminary report was tabled in Parliament in early February and recommended that marijuana be decriminalized and persons be allowed to have a maximum of one ounce of the substance in their possession without prosecution.

Its final report was expected to be presented following a national survey to codify the views of the Bahamian public on the matter; however, the local spread of the virus has derailed those plans.

Commission co-chair Quinn McCartney said there are mixed views that a local marijuana industry could create an economic stimulus for the country.

“Certainly, we will be looking at all aspects of the industry,” he said, as he spoke about the continued work of the commission.

“…In light of what has happened because of the COVID19 situations, I’m sure that the economic implications for our country will be looked at now.”

In June, Attorney General Carl Bethel told The Tribune that a draft bill on marijuana legislation was being prepared.

Bethel said the draft bill was expected to be presented to Cabinet “in very short order”.

Yesterday, McCartney said the commission has not been actively involved in any discussions regarding any new legislation, notwithstanding it’s preliminary report.

“We could only hope that the few recommendations…in terms of changes to our laws, that they are the things that are being considered,” he said.

“I suspect that no matter what the rest of the government sides go into there will have to be changes in legislation.

“We are pleased to hear that. To what extent these changes are or to how extensive these changes are we are not aware of.”

McCartney said the commission is expected to meet today to discuss the way forward – of which the survey is high on the agenda.

“We are only now in the process of reconvening to see where we go from here”, he said.

“Things have changed of course, but a major outstanding issue is the survey.

“…How we conduct the survey may change depending on social distancing and protocols and a lot of the businesses would have suspended their operations, and so we will determine how we go ahead with the survey.

“The intent is once we get the results of our survey, we will conclude our report and add any additional information that we may not have had in the preliminary report, and then we will submit our findings to the government for consideration.”

While the survey was scheduled to be completed by mid-April, the country has been in a state of emergency since March 17.

Among its 24 recommendations, the BNCM has advised the government to allow those prescribed medical cannabis to be able to grow sufficient plants for their use; to allow tourists who are prescribed medical cannabis in their countries to obtain it in The Bahamas, and to allow the importation of regulated cannabis products for ailments.

Cannabis possession would be decriminalized up to one ounce or less for personal use for people 21 years or older and laws would be amended for the immediate expungement of small possession criminal records.

The commission stopped short of recommending the legalization of recreational marijuana, insisting that the issue needs to be explored further before a consensus can be garnered.

2 comments

Marijuana needs to be decriminalize and be used for spritiual purposes as well as recreational purposes as well as mefical and oils material remember this is a tree with many values people without vision preisj.

Why are these people trying to turn The Bahamas into Sodom and Gomorrah??!! It is not the view of the entire population to have marajuana made legal. That will not stop the flow of illegal drugs coming into the country, Or the illegal drugs already here being passed of as legal. When are government officials going to change the way we vote and add this things to a general ballot on election so we can vote our conscience instead of getting up in parliament and making these decisions for us. A lot of things the public alone should have a combined voice on whether or not it should be allowed. Not only parliamentarians who might be only trying to push an agenda. This is not the time to follow fashion of other countries. Stand Up and Stand Out from the rest. Stop trying to follow what the USA is doing and bringing gay rights, marital rape and legalizing marajuana here. We, I as a true born Bahamian do not agree with even the suggestion of tabling a bill. Because all the current parliamentarians are going to do is read it, make whatever “points” on it. Argue about point of order and then pass it. They won’t do anything to stop it. Legalizing a few ounces will encourage stockpiling and when the enough is bagged, they will sell it as illegal for thousands. And the police would not be able to lock them up because they would have thousands of receipts for a few ounces at a time -all legit. What is the point? Leave it illegal to sell, grow, manufacture, traffic, move, store, or any other kind of thing with Marajuana, or other illegal drugs. What are people thinking trying to do this? Already we can’t look at a God created Rainbow without thinking of some preverted act. Stand for something.

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