Op-Ed

Make Cannabis Bill comprehensive

Attorney General Ryan Pinder said this week that the government intends to advance its Cannabis Bill to “develop a comprehensive regulatory framework for growing, harvesting and exporting cannabis” within the first six months of the new fiscal year.

That’s all well and good; we need the most comprehensive bill beneficial to all Bahamians that we can draft.

So, I get the need for more time. However, I also understand the need for urgency because while we “slunk”, the world isn’t!!

The Switzerland government announced on June 22 that it will lift the ban on medical cannabis according to an amendment to the Swiss Narcotics Act SNA that Parliament approved in March 2021.

The Swiss government will facilitate access to cannabis for medicinal use only.

Using cannabis-based medicine for therapeutic purposes will remain the decision of the doctor treating the patient.

As of August 1, patients will no longer be required to obtain permission from the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH).

However, adult-use cannabis sale and consumption will remain illegal.

In Switzerland, medicinal marijuana is only allowed with a doctor’s prescription or previously required approval from the FOPH.

However, medical cannabis is still only allowed if the medicine contains less than one percent THC and is licensed. Currently, only Sativex is approved for a prescription to patients.

Swissmedic, the country’s federal public law institution, which is responsible for both authorization and supervision of therapeutic products, including cocaine, methadone, and morphine, could eventually be directed to manage the cannabis industry in the future.


Recreational use not ignored

Not ignoring the recreational users, in September 2020, the Swiss government approved a recreational cannabis trial called “Zuri Can,” expected to launch this summer.

One significant caveat, only “experienced users” should apply to participate, and this is verified by thorough testing. (Hair samples).

The trial program will be held in Basel, Switzerland, tracking the results from 400 people who are deemed “experienced” recreational users approved to buy recreational cannabis from specific pharmacies.

FOPH head of Policy and Implementation, Adrian Gschwend, also stated, “The study comes precisely at the right time as the commission for social and healthcare issues of the national assembly has recently started a legislative proposal regarding the legalization of cannabis.

“The results show that both the current illicit market and a liberal commercial market inflict costs on the public while individuals generate big profits. We thus need a well-regulated market that ensures both protection for children and adolescents and health protection measures.”


Get a move on

We are still at the embryonic stages of drafting our marijuana bill, it appears.

The previous administration moved at a snail’s pace with deaf ears, the report from the Marijuana Commission was lacking, and now the current administration needs more time, hopefully, to add a recreational portion to their proposed bill, which does not currently speak to it.

We need to get a move on as other nations in the region continue to spin their wheels in the mud; we have a golden opportunity to become the leaders in the region, and major players in the global market as well.

 
Inigo “Naughty” Zenicaze- laya is the host of radio show “Talking Heads” on Guardian Radio.

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