Legalization of marijuana for medical and personal recreational use, pt. 2
That CARICOM Regional Commission on Marijuana has recommended the declassification of marijuana as a dangerous drug.
The Bahamas is a signatory and strong supporter of virtually all, if not all, the international conventions relating to control of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances. All of these conventions list marijuana as a controlled substance and dangerous drug.
Action to deregulate or legalize the use of marijuana in The Bahamas ahead of the reclassification of marijuana by the international legal community may be seen as the Bahamian government’s disregard of its international commitments. In an international environment where developed world countries flaunt international rules and regulations, but hold small developing countries like The Bahamas to account, it is wise to get our ducks in a row before we act.
This paper believes that the Bahamas government should align itself to international efforts to have marijuana removed from international dangerous drugs lists.
In the interim, however, it may move expeditiously to legalize access to medical marijuana as a controlled substance distributed via medical prescription through licensed doctors and pharmacists.
In spite of our desire to move along with the international community, the government should give early consideration to the creation of a framework in which the recreational use of marijuana might be decriminalized in The Bahamas.
In doing so, it would be important for the government to provide assurances to citizens who continue to see marijuana, like alcohol, as a gateway drug to more potent and addictive narcotic and psychotropic substances. Government must pledge that it will not permit unregulated distribution and use of a substance with damaging potential.
An opportunity might also be taken to launch new public education initiatives promoting responsible use of all mind-altering substances given the high incidence of alcohol abuse in The Bahamas with terrible impact on public health and horrific impact on road safety.
Some countries like Canada provide useful models for study. In that country the regulation of marijuana is similar to its regulations for alcohol, requiring specially licensed distributors to track their product from seed to sale; establishing an age minimum for eligibility for purchase; setting personal possession quantity limits as well as establishing limits on the number of plants a resident can grow at home for personal use.
This paper supports the legalization of marijuana/cannabis for medical purposes and for personal recreational use.