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DPM: Govt has looked into a national lottery

The government has been looking at the option of creating a national lottery, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Peter Turnquest said Friday, adding that a decision on this kind of economic stimulus is a long way away.

Turnquest made the revelation during a question and answer session at the Rotary Club of East Nassau’s regular meeting at the Nassau Yacht Club.

He explained that the government has looked at using the existing gaming framework to possibly enact its own type of game, or by possibly including the gaming stakeholders already present in the market. He said, however, the government has made no serious considerations on the matter.

Turnquest was also asked about the possibility of the government making way for medical marijuana as a form of economic boost. He noted the government is forming a committee to examine the issue.

Medical marijuana has become a critical conversation over the past several weeks, after the CARICOM Regional Commission on Marijuana recommended its legalization.

Elliot Hepburn-Marshall, president of Bahama Cann and CEO of Oakland, California-based Proper Rx Collective, a medical marijuana company, told Guardian Business recently that both medical and recreational marijuana could be a billion-dollar industry in The Bahamas, given the country’s multimillion count of visitors every year.

Hepburn-Marshall, who hails from Grand Bahama but moved to California to pursue his business, was refuting the report of the marijuana commission, which states The Bahamas could see a financial benefit of about $5 million from the legalization of marijuana and regulation of its sale and use.

Hepburn-Marshall said the population of The Bahamas is quite close to that of Oakland, where he runs his business. In Oakland, before recreational use of marijuana was allowed by the state, medical marijuana sales were bringing in a little less than $1 billion, according to Hepburn-Marshall.

Turnquest said that, through the government’s proposed business development center, he wants to make Bahamians millionaires in the tech and manufacturing industries. But, in the meantime, he explained that medical marijuana and a national lottery are not off the table.

“A national lottery can make millionaires overnight,” he said. “But, there’s such an emotive sentiment that goes with lottery.”

Chester Robards

Senior Business Reporter at The Nassau Guardian
Chester Robards rejoined The Nassau Guardian in November 2017 as a senior business reporter. He has covered myriad topics and events for The Nassau Guardian.
Education: Florida International University, BS in Journalism
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