McAlpine supports medical marijuana
The criminal records of individuals found with small quantities marijuana in The Bahamas should be expunged, Pineridge MP Frederick McAlpine said.
“I also believe that we’ve reached this stage and point where we should seek to find a way to expunge the records of those persons who have been charged or have a record for having a spliff of marijuana or find it difficult to get a job,” McAlpine told The Nassau Guardian in a recent interview.
“I think we need to find a way to clear these persons’ records and to find a way to stop putting our young men in jail for such a small quantity of marijuana being found in their possession.”
Asked why he believes the criminal records should be expunged, the Pineridge MP said, “The way the world is moving where you have several countries now entertaining the medicinal use and recreational use, The Bahamas need not be far behind.”
McAlpine said the government should consider offering rehabilitation as an option for individuals found with marijuana rather than imprisoning them.
When asked if he supports the legalization of marijuana, he said, “I support that for medicinal purposes at this time. I believe if this plant can be used to assist in making life easier or curable for any disease then I think it should be considered.”
He added, “Again, I’m not sure about recreational use, but I think if it’s in terms of medicine, particularly I think the CBD (cannabidiol) portion of it… we should not rule it out as a country.”
McAlpine also noted that scientists have found that marijuana has made “a significant stride toward medical revolution”.
Speaking about the legalization of medicinal marijuana, he said, “The quicker [we legalize it] the better because people seem to need this medication to help them with their conditions.”
A survey conducted last year showed that 71 percent of Bahamians support the legalization of medicinal marijuana.
In August 2018, the government formed a commission tasked with examining the issue of marijuana in The Bahamas.
Upon the completion of its examination, the commission will make recommendations to the government which will subsequently be tabled and discussed in Parliament.
The issue of whether marijuana ought to be decriminalized in the region was on CARICOM’s agenda.
The Regional Commission on Marijuana, which presented its report to CARICOM on the social, economic, health and legal issues surrounding marijuana in the region, put forward the view that, in a regulated framework, marijuana should be treated similarly to tobacco and alcohol.
According to the regional commission report, The Bahamas could see a financial benefit of around $5 million from the legalization of the substance and regulation of its sale, though Commission Chairman Simeon Hall and others have opined the financial benefit to the nation with regard to medicinal use could be far greater.
Education: Goldsmith, University of London, MA in Race, Media and Social Justice