By RASHAD ROLLE
Tribune Staff Reporter
DEMOCRATIC National Alliance (DNA) leader Christopher Mortimer said yesterday the country's leaders are not clear enough about their views on marijuana.
Debate on the issue was reignited this week after it was announced CARICOM was hosting a town hall tonight to learn how Bahamians feel about decriminalising the substance.
"The past 24 hours has seen social media explode with public opinion regarding the possible decriminalisation of marijuana in The Bahamas," Mr Mortimer said in a press statement.
"The chatter comes ahead of a planned CARICOM sponsored meeting designed to obtain information on the social, economic, health and legal issues related to marijuana use and gauge regional opinions on this global issue.
"While it should be noted that the Democratic National Alliance has been clear on its position, we remain concerned however, that the country's current leadership has not made its position clear - a reality which paves the way for the narrative on this issue to be written for us. Now is the time for this administration to clearly articulate a formal position and open the debate so that the Bahamian electorate may have its say on the way forward.
"Failure to do so, will see our collective voices drowned out of the discussion. This would be a travesty. Rather than allowing external forces to dictate the way forward on this matter, we have the opportunity now to set the tone on this issue and take the kind of action that is most beneficial for The Bahamas and its development. The DNA encourages the government not to take a backseat approach to this issue but rather to do the necessary legwork to ensure that the will of the people is done."
Ahead of the May 2017 general election, the DNA said it would reduce penalties for the possession of small quantities of marijuana if elected to office. The party also previously said it supported the decriminalisation of marijuana.
Health Minister Dr Duane Sands has said marijuana legalisation is not on the Minnis administration's agenda. He said the government does not intend for The Bahamas to lead the region on the issue.
Tonight's town hall is scheduled for 6pm at the Holy Trinity Activity Centre.