Marijuana commission to launch national survey

A national survey examining the issue of marijuana will be launched next week, Bahamas National Commission on Marijuana Co-Chair Quinn McCartney said yesterday.

“There will be further engagement in the coming weeks as we try and do a national survey,” McCartney said.

He added, “We’re hoping to engage — now that we’ve gotten past this stage — we want to engage them as early as next week. And so, the whole methodology takes a few weeks so we’re hoping for that within a few weeks.”

McCartney said the survey is the commission’s attempt to codify the views of the Bahamian people on the issue of marijuana.

“So, we want to actually go there and have a scientific survey conducted,” he said.

“We’ve gone door-to-door. We’ve spoken to people one-on-one. We’ve spoken to people at town hall meetings. But we actually want to get it scientific so when we quote statistics and say a certain representative of a portion of the population said a particular thing it will hopefully be reflective of the views of the majority of Bahamians.”

McCartney said the commission hopes to complete the survey as “quickly as possible”.

“Certainly, within the first quarter we hope that everything should [be] wrapped up, they analyze the data and then they give us our findings that we will incorporate within the final report,” he said.

The commission was formed in August 2018 and tasked with examining the issue of marijuana in The Bahamas in order to make recommendations to the government.

It was given until April 2019 to submit its findings.

However, the commission was granted several extensions.

Yesterday, the commission submitted its preliminary marijuana report to Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis.

McCartney said a final report will be submitted by the end of the first quarter of 2020.

In December, a draft of the preliminary report was leaked to The Nassau Guardian.

According to that report, the commission proposes the expungement of all police records reflecting possessions of small amounts of cannabis.

It also recommended the legalization of medicinal marijuana and the decriminalization of the possession of up to one ounce of the substance.

The report proposes that individuals over 21 should be allowed to use marijuana for recreational purposes. It also recommends that anyone over 18 be allowed to use the substance for medicinal purposes.

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Jasper Ward

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

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