PLP wants separate committee on marijuana
While the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) has proposed appointing its own committee to review and make recommendations on the Regional Marijuana Commission’s (RMC) report, separate to the government, the party has hinted at some support for the substance being used medicinally.
“The PLP takes note of the recently released unanimous report on marijuana in the CARICOM region, of which we are a part, that was presented at last week’s heads of government meeting in Montego Bay,” the party said in a statement.
“The PLP also takes note of the widespread public interest in this matter both for medicinal and recreational use.
“We propose forthwith to appoint our own review panel to make recommendations on this.
“We sympathize with those who have been disproportionately affected by the anti drug laws, particularly our young people and those who are in need of medical marijuana to obtain relief.”
After returning from Jamaica where he attended the CARICOM meeting, Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis announced that the government will establish a committee to embark on an educational campaign in The Bahamas on the report to gauge public opinion before the matter is debated in Parliament.
He said the committee, once established, will present the findings of the report to the public.
That committee is expected to conduct town meetings and focus groups across The Bahamas, according to Minnis, who said the purpose is to seek the opinions of the public and other “advanced educational institutions within The Bahamas”.
It is expected to be comprised of a broad spectrum of sitting members, including certain non-governmental organization, members of the [Bahamas] Christian Council, members of the University of The Bahamas and members of the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce, among others.
Minnis said while he has personal views on marijuana, which are grounded in science, he will not force his views on anyone.
“I am a scientist first and foremost. I believe in research,” he said.
“If research shows there are medical benefits, my job as a doctor is to try and improve and save lives.
“I am first and foremost a doctor, so my views are more medicinal; my views are more research, but the matter has to be discussed.
“I am not going to throw my views down anyone’s throat.
“I would give them the facts. My colleagues will give them the facts.
“They will read the facts and they will make up their own minds.
“But, I will not force my views on anybody.”
The issue of whether marijuana ought to be decriminalized in the region was high on CARICOM’s agenda.
The Regional Marijuana Commission (RMC), which presented its report to CARICOM on the social, economic, health and legal issues surrounding marijuana in the region, forwarded the view that in a regulated framework, marijuana should be treated similarly to tobacco and alcohol.