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Rasta priest: Decriminalize up to two ounces of marijuana

Priest Raymond Prince, a Rastafarian elder at the Ethiopia Africa Black International Congress (EABIC) Bahamas branch compound on Fire Trail Road, yesterday suggested that possession of marijuana be decriminalized up to two ounces instead of one.

The 98-page draft report from the Bahamas National Commission on Marijuana was leaked last week to The Nassau Guardian, and it proposed the legalization of medicinal marijuana and the decriminalization of the possession of up to one ounce.

It is also still under review by the commission at this time.

Prince took his weekly religious practices into consideration.

“Right now, it could’ve been two, two ounces because [there are] times when [men] in the congregation would be using [a] chalice,” Prince said.

“A chalice [requires] more than a spliff. A chalice can take about five of six spliffs to [share] around because it’s our sacrament.”

Last week, local pastor Cedric Moss blasted the draft report, charging that if the commission’s recommendations are accepted by the government, it will create a “society of stoned young people and people who are not thinking clearly, and many who have had their cognitive abilities impaired”.

Responding to this, Prince suggested that education of the substance should start from the home.

“That [should’ve been] done [by] parents from long time because regardless of what happens, parents use cigarettes and rum, but they don’t give it to their children,” he said.

“It can [be] used in different forms, and when you use it, you won’t feel drunk… It’s good for medical purposes.

“So, what ever we do, we have to do it with good understanding.”

The report also suggested that medicinal marijuana be permitted for adults over 18 years of age, and Prince said that this was a reasonable suggestion.

“There’s a lot of things where if you’re not a certain age, it is illegal,” he said.

“I wouldn’t like to see the youth on the street or anywhere with [a] spliff in their mouth because they have not reached to that age as yet.

“So, I would agree with 18 and over.”

In August 2018, Cabinet approved the makeup of a commission that was tasked with examining the issue of marijuana in The Bahamas in order to make recommendations to the government, following the CARICOM Regional Commission on Marijuana recommending the declassification of marijuana as a dangerous drug in all legislation and the reclassification of the drug as a controlled substance.

Its recommendations are expected to be tabled and discussed in Parliament.

The Bahamas National Commission on Marijuana was initially given until April to submit its findings.

However, it has been granted several extensions.

The commission’s draft report also recommends the use of marijuana as a sacrament for Rastafarians.

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