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PM gets marijuana commission’s preliminary report

The Bahamas National Commission on Marijuana yesterday submitted its preliminary marijuana report to Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis.

“The long-anticipated preliminary report is ready and we’re here this morning to present it,” Quinn McCartney, co-chair of the commission, told reporters at a ceremony at the Office of the Prime Minister.

He added, “I also want to thank the Bahamian public who engaged with us along the way… And certainly, we want to thank those who came out to the town hall meetings on the various islands and here on New Providence, and those who willingly participated and talked to us as we did our walkabouts in several communities.”

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.

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 recommends 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.

Yesterday, Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis said it was regrettable that “an incomplete version of this report was leaked”.

“We now have the full report,” Minnis said.

He added, “Indeed, the commission’s official findings will be made public and the report will be discussed in the public domain. We welcome the input of Bahamians as we make these long-needed changes to our marijuana laws.”

He said his government intends to “make changes guided by this document and the views of Bahamians”.

Bishop Simeon Hall, co-chair of the commission, described the commission’s work as “a small step for the Minnis government but a giant step toward us moving to face this social problem of drugs in our country”.

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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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