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Marijuana commission hopes to submit report by August

After requesting an extension to submit its findings, the Bahamas National Commission on Marijuana expects to meet its new deadline of August 2019, co-chair Quinn McCartney said yesterday.

“We are pushing hard to make sure that we meet the deadline but certainly what will affect us meeting our deadline are our planned trips to Jamaica and Canada, because certainly we would want to make sure include those,” McCartney told reporters at the commission’s office on Virginia Street.

McCartney added, “We understand, and certainly the commission is aware, that members of the public want this issue to be addressed as quickly as possible, but the commission wants to make sure that we are very deliberative in our discussions and our consultations.”

He continued, “…We want to make sure what we bring to the Bahamian public is something that will be of relevance to The Bahamas. And so, we say, yes we are perceived to be taking a bit too long but certainly we will have to give this issue sufficient time because it is a very important and critical issue.”

The commission was expected to submit its findings to the government by April, according to Minister of Health Dr. Duane Sands.

However, in April, McCartney announced that the commission was seeking a six month extension to conduct its research. 

Last month, Sands said the commission was given a three month extension to submit its report.

Yesterday, McCartney said the commission has planned fact finding missions to Jamaica and Canada.

While he did not give dates for the trips, McCartney said, “While in Jamaica, members of the commission will meet with key officials from both the Jamaican government and officials from the Cannabis Licensing Authority to investigate the regulatory issues and realities facing our sister CARICOM member state.”

He said he hopes the trip to Canada will allow commission members “to obtain a broader perspective relative to concerns surrounding cannabis reform around the world”.

The CARICOM Regional Commission on Marijuana has recommended the declassification of marijuana as a dangerous drug in all legislation and the reclassification of the drug as a controlled substance, 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, but advocacy groups suggest that figure is far too conservative, and if considered beyond domestic use, it is over $1 billion.

Jasper Ward

Staff Reporter at The Nassau Guardian
Jasper Ward started at The Nassau Guardian in September 2018. Ward covers a wide range of national and social issues.
Education: Goldsmith, University of London, MA in Race, Media and Social Justice
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