NASSAU, BAHAMAS – A survey to codify the views of the Bahamian public on marijuana is expected to be completed by mid-April said Bahamas National Commission on Marijuana co-chairman Quinn McCartney yesterday.
The commission’s preliminary report was tabled in Parliament earlier this month, however its final report will be presented after the national survey.
“We anticipate in the next week or two we would have the survey instruments prepared and then the company engaged to do that,” McCartney told Eyewitness News.
“I would say early March and that should be a four to six-week process, so certainly by mid-April we should be finished with the survey.”
He noted that the commission is considering the Department of Statistics alng with two private companies to conduct the survey, taking in consideration cost and how soon the entity would be able to complete the process.
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 once 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.
Additionally, Rastafarians and other religious groups who use the substance as a sacrament would be allowed to possess, cultivate and use it for sacramental purposes.
The commission has stopped short of recommending the legalization of recreational marijuana insisting that the issue needs to be explored further before a consensus can be garnered.
McCartney noted yesterday, “We’ve handed it to the government and we have a small piece to complete.
“It’s now for the government to make their decision in terms of the way forward that they would like to go.
“Our survey will add additional information to help in their decision making but for the most part the majority of our work is completed.”
Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis has suggested that cannabis reform laws are on the horizon and has previously affirmed his support for the decriminalization of the substance the release from prison and expunging of records or all individuals convicted for the possession of small amounts of marijuana.