Turnquest says he supports Bahamian-owned marijuana industry

Minister of Finance Peter Turnquest said yesterday that as a “private citizen”, he supports the recommendation that Bahamians should own the majority of any future industry.

“As a private citizen, I support the proposition that the industry ought to be predominantly owned by Bahamians,” he said on the sidelines of the Boxing Day Junkanoo Parade.

“I think that there’s no point in getting into the business if it’s going to be a foreign-led industry and the profits are being exported.

“So, again, Peter Turnquest as a private citizen certainly supports the majority ownership of the industry to be Bahamian.”

Turnquest made the comments in response to a specific recommendation made in a recently leaked report from the Bahamas National Commission on Marijuana.

The draft report, which was obtained by The Nassau Guardian, recommended the legalization of medicinal marijuana and the decriminalization of the possession of up to one ounce of the substance.

Individuals over 21 should be allowed to use marijuana for recreational purposes, according to the report, which also recommended that anyone over 18 be allowed to use the substance for medicinal purposes.

The document proposed that Bahamians have “ownership” of the cannabis industry, noting that foreigners should only be allowed to hold up to 49 percent equity in any company involved in the industry in The Bahamas.

However, when asked about the potential economic impact of the legalization of marijuana, Turnquest refused to comment.

“I haven’t seen the report myself, so I don’t know what their recommendations are,” he said.

“I’m sure in due course it will be presented to the Cabinet and a presentation will be made to the public as to what the report is about and what the government’s position or feelings may be.

“But a lot of analysis will need to go behind the details in that report from the government’s perspective to determine the benefits and the liabilities that might be attached to this industry.”

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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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