While products containing the marijuana-derived cannabidiol (CBD) are being sold in The Bahamas, Health Minister Dr. Duane Sands said he is not aware of any licenses recently being issued to bring them in.
“I am not aware of any specific license that’s been granted over the last 18 months for CBD,” Sands said.
He added: “I know we’ve gotten applications but we’ve certainly not gotten applications to any great number. I don’t believe that any have been approved recently.”
Sands said while he is aware that there are companies selling CBD-containing products, his ministry does “not control the importation of every good that makes it across the border”.
“We’re in a peculiar spot right now because some of these things slip through and nobody pays any attention that it’s CBD,” he said.
“Technically, legally we’re ought to have a particular permission to import through the Pharmacy Council, which is an agency of the Ministry of Health.”
Sands said it “would not be reasonable” to approve licenses while the marijuana commission attempts to examine the issue of the drug in The Bahamas.
The government approved the makeup of a marijuana commission in August 2018. The commission is tasked with making recommendations to the government on how the issue ought to be handled.
Sands said, “We’re not minded at this point to have a proliferation of licenses, as it were, for importation of CBD or any cannabis-containing product at this point.”
The minister added: “…But every single application will be considered objectively and on a case-by-case basis. You know, you don’t want to put the cart before the horse.
“If we are specifically asking a question to determine how we should go and then you have, and I’m just pulling a number out the sky, 100 or 200 applications that you approve, then what’s the point of the process?”
As it relates to extreme cases like children with seizures or individuals with metastatic cancer, the Ministry of Health is “certainly able to approve those kinds of applications”, according to Sands.
He said the ministry has to be “very, very careful” with how it responds to applications for the widespread dissemination of CBD-containing products.
Marijuana is illegal in The Bahamas.
But in October, when asked about the legality of products containing CBD that were being sold in another establishment on the island, Sands said, “Is it legal? Yes, it is legal. However, you would need to have an import license.”
The cannabis plant contains dozens of cannabinoids, the most well-known being tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which can cause a feeling of being high.
However, research has found that other cannabinoids such as CBD will not induce a feeling of being high and can be used to treat medical ailments.
According to the Dangerous Drugs Act it is illegal to import Indian hemp, which “includes all parts of any plant of the genus cannabis whether growing or not from which the resin has not been extracted; the resin extracted from any part of such plant; and every compound, manufacture, salt derivative, mixture or preparation of such plant or resin”.
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