Sands: Report’s release undermines work of marijuana commission

Minister of Health Dr. Duane Sands said yesterday the release of a preliminary report from the Bahamas National Commission on Marijuana “undermines” the work of the commission.

“I think the question will be on the record…who leaked the report because we’re very concerned about that,” Sands told The Nassau Guardian.

“Unfortunately, it undermines the work of the commission just because, you know, the conversation now goes in a direction.

“You saw yesterday’s headline discussion in your paper. You know, I don’t have an issue with dialogue but dialogue based on a draft is kind of wasted dialogue.”

Sands’ comments came after The Nassau Guardian revealed that a preliminary report from the Bahamas National Commission on Marijuana proposes the expungement of all police records reflecting possessions of small amounts of cannabis.

The report 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, when asked for a comment on the report, Sands said, “I’m going to hold off on any comments until the process is done, ‘til it’s complete. And then, at whatever point we get a chance to have that discussion, so be it.”

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 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 to submit its findings.

However, it has been granted several extensions.

It is unclear when the document will be finalized.

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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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