Marijuana commission unveils plans for public consultation

NASSAU, BAHAMAS – The Marijuana Commission, a team of a little over one dozen civic leaders who represent a wide cross-section of society, revealed for the first time on Wednesday that its efforts to garner public feedback on the use and decriminalization of marijuana will be rolled out in short order.

Dr. Bridgette Rolle, Chairman of the Marijuana Commission confirmed Wednesday that government expects their feedback on public’s response to the idea of possibly decriminalizing marijuana as soon as April.

She said this means that the independent body has two months to gather and compile data into a report.

“Well we are hoping to start with the public consultation in Abaco as early as next week and we have an ambitious timeline to get the public consultations done,” she noted.

To ensure that the Marijuana Commission covers all bases in the marijuana discussion, the commission’s co-chair Quinn McCartney revealed that they have formed six subcommittees.

“The first sub-committee is the medicinal use of marijuana subcommittee. This committee will be charged with the responsibility of examining how marijuana is currently being used medically and other potential uses,” he said.

“It is expected that empirical data will be provided that will support all sides of the claims that are now being made.”

Then there’s the recreational use of marijuana subcommittee, noted McCartney.

“Some areas to be examined will include, but not limited to, social stigmas associated with marijuana and the public health concerns associated with recreational use,” he said.

A committee will also focus on the religious and ceremonial use of marijuana.

“This examination will not be limited to any particular religious community but will seek to present a comprehensive look at what occurred historically and how it is being used in today’s society,” McCartney explained.

A legal regulatory subcommittee has been formed to “examine all current legislation, local and international, pertaining to the legal status of marijuana possession and a look at what changes may be needed as it relates to its legalization,” according to McCartney.

Then there’s the sub-committee on industry economic implications which “will examine the financial implications for individuals who wish to pursue this industry as well as the national benefits of public-private partnerships,” McCartney noted.

The sixth sub-committee, the education and public relations committee, will help to further the conversation of marijuana use through various campaigns.

The commission was unable to confirm if government has provided a timeline on how long it will take to review its draft proposal once it is completed in April.