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Committee To Be Set Up In Weeks On Cannabis Issue

By RASHAD ROLLE

Tribune Staff Reporter

rrolle@tribunemedia.net

WITHIN the next “week or two,” representatives of a cannabis committee that Cabinet has established will receive their terms of references and begin exploring public opinion on the issue, Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis said Saturday.

The committee flows from widespread consideration of the impact criminalising the drug has had on Caribbean communities. A key CARICOM report released last month called for the end of prohibition against the plant. The commission found that an early 20th century move to designate the drug as dangerous and without value took place absent of scientific or medical data and has since been proven to be inaccurate.

“The analysis of the comprehensive information gathered indicates that the current legal regime for cannabis/marijuana, characterised as it is by prohibition and draconian criminal penalties, is ineffective, incongruous, obsolete and deeply unjust,” the commission reported.

Asked about the matter on Saturday following his tour of schools in New Providence, Dr Minnis said: “The approval of a marijuana committee has been approved by Cabinet. The make-up of the committee was approved. We now have to write the various different entities, the Chamber of Commerce, the University of the Bahamas, COBUS, business leagues, various entities, so they can send their representative, inclusive of the Christian Council.

“I can say that (religious leader) Simeon Hall who has been on the CARICOM marijuana committee will be on such a committee – they should be receiving their letters within the next week or two after which they will be given their terms of references and provided with the CARICOM report and we will hope they will be able to complete their work in three to four months as we have said.”

The committee will host town-hall meetings around the country.

Other marijuana related activities are slated for this year.

Dr Lynwood Brown and Dr Marcus Cooper have been given approval from the Ministry of Health to host two medical marijuana conferences.

Dr Brown has told The Tribune he plans to bring experts and industry stakeholders to the Bahamas to educate people on medicinal cannabis products, treatments and modes of delivery. Though hardly accessed, legal pathways already exist for medicinal uses of cannabis in the Bahamas.

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