By NATARIO MCKENZIE
Tribune Business Reporter
A group advocating for the development of a marijuana industry in The Bahamas is calling on the government to develop a "regulatory pathway" to a clearly defined approach to its development.
According to Terry Miller, chairman of the non-profit Bahamas Cannabis Research Institute (BACARI) due to rapid developments in the industry - which he said has substantial growth potential - BACARI is suggesting to the government "there needs to be a regulatory pathway to a clearly defined Bahamian cannabis approach".
"One of our primary objectives is to mount a Cannabis Awareness Campaign that will reach out to a large cross-section of constituents including the Bahamas Christian Council, the umbrella unions, doctor associations, the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and their members, the judiciary, police, various government departments, and a cross section of civil society, to open dialogue and garner support for deregulation of cannabis for various purposes," said Miller in a letter to Deputy Prime Minister K Peter Turnquest.
"Recent reports of your government's plan to create a Task Force to discuss possible legislation on medical marijuana spiked our interest, as the purpose for the committee is similar to what we at BACARI have been planning for the past several months. Our scope however goes beyond medical marijuana, to developing a multi-faceted CDB/CDN and Hemp Industry and to deregulation for adult use including use for religious purposes."
The group is looking to sit with government to discuss its plans and share its expertise with the Task Force.
"When we consider the recent CARICOM Report that suggested that marijuana be treated the same as alcohol and tobacco, and when we consider the fact that more than three out of four respondents in a recent local survey felt that marijuana is less harmful than alcohol, tobacco, and sugar, and when we consider all of the products that has been and can be developed from marijuana/cannabis/hemp, BACARI is in full agreement with the principles of the CARICOM Report," said Miller.
He added BACARI's goal is to become a leader in scientific research of not only cannabis but an array of Bahamian cultural bush medicines and other natural plant remedies, by establishing 'one of the best research facilities' in the western hemisphere.
Miller has previously told Tribune Business the economic economic benefit of a Bahamian marijuana industry is potentially in the tens of millions of dollars.