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Sands: I don’t know who leaked marijuana report

Minister of Health Dr. Duane Sands said yesterday that he does not know who leaked the preliminary report of the Bahamas National Commission on Marijuana that has sparked public debate in recent weeks.

Earlier this week, it was revealed that the commission was transferred from the Ministry of Health to the Office of the Prime Minister.

Addressing that on Monday, Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis said he was “very disturbed” and “upset” when the report was leaked to The Nassau Guardian last month.

Sands said yesterday that he was also disappointed, and did not know who was responsible for the leak.

“I have said that already,” he said.

“I think I have gone on the record with the same sentiment. I’m sure that the back and forth makes for interesting press.

“A lot of these questions should be directed at The Guardian. They know who leaked the report. So, why not just ask them?”

The commission’s preliminary report 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.

In July 2018, the 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 commission, which was under the purview of the Ministry of Health, tasked with examining the issue of marijuana in The Bahamas in order to make recommendations to the government. Its recommendations are expected to be tabled and discussed in Parliament.

The Bahamas National Commission on Marijuana was initially given until April 2019 to submit its findings.

It has been granted several extensions.

Minnis said Cabinet was still waiting for the official report when the document was leaked in December.

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Rachel Knowles

Rachel joined The Nassau Guardian in January 2019. Rachel covers national issues. Education: University of Virginia in Charlottesville, BA in Foreign Affairs and Spanish

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