McCartney: There won’t be any great surprises in marijuana report

Bahamas National Commission on Marijuana Co-Chair Quinn McCartney yesterday suggested that the commission will likely follow the lead of other Caribbean countries on the issue of decriminalizing marijuana, noting that there won’t be “any great surprises”.

Several countries in the region, including Jamaica and Bermuda, have moved to decriminalize the recreational use of marijuana in recent years.

McCartney said the commission is expected to submit a preliminary report to the government at the end of the month.

“We’re still in the process of finalizing our position and certainly, like I said, we’re being guided by the CARICOM (The Caribbean Community) report,” McCartney, a former deputy commissioner of police, told The Nassau Guardian.

Asked if it was too soon to say what the conclusion of the report will be, he said, “I prefer not to say. I don’t think there will be any great surprises in our report. I think the views of the Bahamian public have been really known in the last year in particular and even before that.

“So, from our findings and from our interactions with the Bahamian public, the views have been fairly consistent. And so, I think the views of the Bahamian public seem to be in line with what’s happening in other Caribbean countries and in some of the other larger countries in North America.”

Canada, the United States and a few Caribbean countries have legalized the medicinal use of marijuana.

On Monday, Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis suggested that a pending report by the commission will “no doubt” be similar to a report done by CARICOM.

“I am well versed with the report that came out of CARICOM. I think everybody is versed with CARICOM’s report where CARICOM basically supports the way forward but we wanted to do our own report,” Minnis told The Nassau Guardian.

In July 2018, CARICOM Regional Commission on Marijuana recommended the declassification of marijuana as a dangerous drug in all legislation and the reclassification of the drug as a controlled substance, noting it should be treated similarly to tobacco and alcohol.

One month later, Cabinet approved the makeup of a committee that will examine the issue of marijuana in The Bahamas and make recommendations to the government.

Its recommendations will then be tabled and discussed in Parliament.

Twenty-five individuals were appointed to the commission late last year.

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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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