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PLP promises cannabis industry

The Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) in “Our Blueprint for Change” promises to develop a cannabis industry if elected to office on September 16.

The party said it would “develop a comprehensive regulatory framework for growing, harvesting, and exporting cannabis, so that the industry creates opportunities for many, not just a few”.

It commits to encouraging joint-ventures in the medicinal cannabis industry.

The party also said it would “ensure that ALL Bahamians are given full access to development, and have a fair opportunity to become owners in this new industry”.

Additionally, it said it would “develop robust regulations to strictly monitor and minimize the impact on our international reputation”.

Speaking in March, Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) Leader Philip Brave Davis said while a PLP government would create a regulatory framework for the growing and exporting of marijuana to the world market and also consider legalizing medical marijuana, the party had reservations about legalizing the drug for recreational use.

“The reservation is there is still a debate in the scientific community on its impact on young people and enforcing the youthful use versus adulthood use. It’s always troubling as it is with alcohol,” Davis said.

Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis has also expressed support for the legalization of medicinal cannabis. 

Minnis reported last October that his Economic Recovery Committee recommended the full legalization of marijuana for medicinal, religious and recreational purposes coupled with an appropriate regime that oversees production, sales and export.

“Our cannabis laws are outdated, and as our society is changing, they, too, will change,” Minnis said.

“A global legal cannabis market is already in the billions of dollars with significant projected growth in the years to come.”

Speaking in the House of Assembly on May 19, Minnis also said he expected to table a Marijuana Bill the following week or soon after. However, no such bill was ever introduced. 

He told reporters at the end of May that no bill had yet been finalized.

A draft of the Medicinal Cannabis Bill, 2021, obtained by The Nassau Guardian in May, would establish an authority to lay out the framework of a medical marijuana industry in The Bahamas that would enable the licensed cultivation, importation, exportation, processing, transportation and research of medical cannabis.

The government also drafted an amendment to the Dangerous Drugs Act, which would decriminalize possession of up to two ounces of marijuana.

Eyewitness News quoted Minnis earlier this month as saying, “You want the marijuana bill; you will be able to smoke in time.”

Asked if he hoped to have the bill tabled by year’s end, Minnis said, “I can’t say, but you will be the first to know.”

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Candia Dames

Candia Dames is the executive editor of The Nassau Guardian.

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