President of Zion United Baptist Convention B. Wenith Davis yesterday said the decriminalization of marijuana and the legalization of the plant for medical purposes has its place in Bahamian society and in the world.
The Bahamas National Commission on Marijuana, in a preliminary report, recommended the legalization of medicinal marijuana and the decriminalization of the possession of up to one ounce of the substance.
Davis noted that some people believe The Bahamas is behind on the issue and that decriminalization should have happened a long time ago.
“However, persons who would be patient enough to subscribe to marijuana for healing, that person ought to be diagnosed properly by the responsible persons, and the dosage ought to be dished out accordingly,” he said.
“…So, where do I stand? Up front.”
Davis encouraged the education of school-aged children on the dangers of drug abuse if the commission’s recommendations are considered.
“You really need to teach, instruct and inform as to the danger of drug abuse because marijuana is still marijuana,” Davis said.
“It is still strong, and it can still destroy a country.”
The report also proposed the expungement of all police records reflecting possessions of small amounts of cannabis.
It noted that the public “generally felt” that small amounts of marijuana should not result in jail time.
Davis supports this recommendation.
“I think that persons who were caught with just a little bit of marijuana, sent to prison and dealt with very inhumanely should have their records expunged,” he said.
“Of course, [they’ll] move forward now with clean records to do exciting things to develop our county.”
Director of Substance Abuse Services for the Sandilands Rehabilitation Centre Dr. Kirk Christie last week said the minimum mandatory age to purchase and use recreational cannabis should be 26, as brain development continues up until 23 to 25.
The preliminary report recommends recreational marijuana be permitted for adults over 21 and medicinal marijuana be permitted for adults over 18.
Asked if he agrees, Davis said he doesn’t know whether the age of 18 is “sufficiently strong” to consume marijuana.
The commission hopes to finalize its report this month.