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Nation's Leaders 'Not Clear' On Marijuana Decriminalisation

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Christopher Mortimer

By RASHAD ROLLE

Tribune Staff Reporter

rrolle@tribunemedia.net

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.

Comments

John 2 years, 8 months ago

And so TRUMP did an about face on his campaign promise to leave legal marijuana up to the states. He now wants the federal government to enforce laws that make marijuana use illegal anywhere in the USA .

"By KATY STEINMETZ January 4, 2018 Dispensary owners and cannabis growers may suddenly be sleeping more restlessly.

Though setting up a pot shop has always been an uncertain business, memos issued by the Department of Justice under President Obama gave people in the industry some assurance that if they were abiding by state laws, they were at small risk of federal prosecution. But on Thursday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinded those memos, allowing federal prosecutors to enforce federal marijuana laws more aggressively and sending ripples of unease throughout the burgeoning industry.

A lot of folks in the business and broader society didn’t realize how tenuous the Obama Administration’s safe space was,” says the California Growers Association’s Hezekiah Allen, who represents hundreds of cannabis farmers in a state where recreational pot went on sale for the first time just four days ago. As more states have legalized marijuana and more people have publicly set up marijuana businesses, Allen says, “there is much more exposure to risk than there ever has been.” . . Most likely Trump is again hitting out at Barak Obama's successes and is pandering to his rich buddies in the liquor and tobacco industries.

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John 2 years, 8 months ago

And despite several political leaders goosing the government to do so The Bahamas does not need to be on any first flight to any where to legalize marijuana and definitely not look it immediately as s commercial opportunity. In fact the country must first concern itself with problems the legalization of marijuana can bring. Firstly there can be a severe food shortage and/or inflation of food prices as farmers abandon traditional crops for the more lucrative marijuana. Consider growing animal fodder at a few hundred, maybe a thousand dollars a ton as opposed to weed at several million dollars. The same will be true for ethanol and plant based renewable fuels. Secondly the full legalization of marijuana in the USA and Canada can create more drug trafficking problems for the Bahamas. The way the laws are being drafted, marijuana can only be cultivated , sold and consumed in the states in which licensees have permits to grow or sell. So in essence you cannot fly to California, buy a tone of weed then fly back to your home state to smoke it. Likewise these legal states cannot (at least not yet) import drugs from the Bahamas or from Mexico or even from another state. Even some counties within a state have not legalized weed and don’t want it and are crying out to the US Federal government to assist in policing. So the marijuana in Mexico and Colombia and Jamaica will try find ways to get their products to market. Then even when marijuana becomes legal there will have to be a clear definition of what is marijuana and what is legal. There are hundreds of variants of cannabis, and hybrids, and some many multiple times more potent than the original. Also what additive will be legal. Some marijuana is laced with cocaine or other substances to make it more potent and more addictive and drug dealers even apply embalming fluid to dried up or ‘dead’ weed to make it sellable. And, of course, marijuana as a gateway drug leading to The consumption of stronger and more dangerous drugs.

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Porcupine 2 years, 8 months ago

Your post is full of smoke. Research has not found marijuana as a gateway drug. We don't grow enough food for there to be an impact. Maybe if more people got out in the field, they would grow more food, among other thing like marijuana. As usual, we are behind the times in our laws, our thinking, our research. Your arguments are from 30 years ago and were also pushed by the DEA. Great work on staying current.

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athlete12 2 years, 8 months ago

Totally agree. We important almost 90% of our food so there would be no impact. It may even have the reverse affect and put some farmers to work. Second. Full legalization would put Cartels out of the marijuana business because the value would drop. If anything there would be an uptick of opiods. What is marijuana? what is legal? Dude, What is alcohol and what type of alcohol is legal? Alcohol can be laced just like anything that can be consumed. Alcohol has different variants and hybrids. As yourself this? If it was fully legal would you need a drug dealer? Wouldn't you just go to the dispensary OR grow your own? Because we must remember it is a plant.

This guy hasn't read an article on marijuana since the 80s.

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ashley14 2 years, 8 months ago

I don't think marijuana should be legal, but to put some in jail for a small amount is a waste of tax payer dollars. Someone that likes smoking pot, just like a casual drinker isn't a criminal. When I say a casual drinker I don't mean every day or a six pack. Life is stressful we adults deserve to chill every now and then. Everything in moderation. The problem lies in that so many people have addictive personalities and don't know their limits. The difference between casual drinking and alcoholics can be a fine line that so many can't control. I'm sure marijuana use is the same. Some can handle it and some can't, their still not criminals. It does destroy families and lives in many. That's why I don't believe it should be legal. I don't believe it's any worse than alcohol.

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John 2 years, 8 months ago

@ Porcupine: Marijuana has proven to be a gateway drug:

. "Marijuana Has Proven to Be a Gateway Drug Robert L. DuPont Robert L. DuPont is the president of the Institute for Behavior and Health and the first director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

UPDATED APRIL 26, 2016, 3:22 AM

It should come as no surprise that the vast majority of heroin users have used marijuana (and many other drugs) not only long before they used heroin but while they are using heroin. Like nearly all people with substance abuse problems, most heroin users initiated their drug use early in their teens, usually beginning with alcohol and marijuana. There is ample evidence that early initiation of drug use primes the brain for enhanced later responses to other drugs. These facts underscore the need for effective prevention to reduce adolescent use of alcohol, tobacco and marijuana in order to turn back the heroin and opioid epidemic and to reduce burdens addiction in this country.

Establishing it as a third legal drug, along with tobacco and alcohol, will increase drug abuse, including the expanding opioid epidemic. Marijuana use is positively correlated with alcohol use and cigarette use, as well as illegal drugs like cocaine and methamphetamine. This does not mean that everyone who uses marijuana will transition to using heroin or other drugs, but it does mean that people who use marijuana also consume more, not less, legal and illegal drugs than do people who do not use marijuana.

People who are addicted to marijuana are three times more likely to be addicted to heroin.

The legalization of marijuana increases availability of the drug and acceptability of its use. This is bad for public health and safety not only because marijuana use increases the risk of heroin use." . . 2. No We do not grow enough food (maybe) for there to be an impact. If you read the post properly and keep everything in its context then you can see the article was not talking about Bahamian farmers. specifically. We do not grow much crops, but the people we import most of our food from does. And if their farmers chose to grow weed instead of food, the impact will be worldwide. Then you must also think of other countries like Brazil, Argentina and even Austrailia.. if they switch even portions of their farms to marijuana cultivation...imagine a world with a lot of weed to smoke . . 3. Since there were no ethanol or renewable fuels in commercial quantaties 30 years ago so your comment about the post not being current is moot or even ignorant. unintelligent even.

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PastorTroy 2 years, 8 months ago

The vast majority of drug addicts have consumed SUGAR, ALCOHOL, FAST FOOD or our new type of cancer-causing 'sugar' High Fructose Corn Syrup, (when you go to the food store read the labels, it'll shock you!), but let's go by what 'they' tell us, sugar or HFC cannot be addictive and it definitely does not cause cancer GOOGLE IT!, ABSOLUTELY NOT! why? well... because 'they' say so. But smoking that tweed?? Hmmm*case closed!

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athlete12 2 years, 8 months ago

You can be addicted to marijuana, heroin, shopping, playing numbers,sodas,candy, fried foods, alcohol, exercising,sex,etc. Does exercising once a day make you a addict? Or having 1 cigarette or 1 glass of wine? People can become addicted to anything so throw that argument out the window. When a person becomes addicted to anything it usually stems from deeper social issues that have nothing to do with substance itself.

About farming. Really? All farmer would just switch to selling marijuana?Again if marijuana was fully legal it would devalue so it would not be as lucrative as it seems for farmers to switch.

Colorado where it is legal has not seen these epidemics that worry you? They've actually seen a decrease in overdoses and crime.

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John 2 years, 8 months ago

AND A QUOTE FROM THE NEW YORK TIMES: . . "A better drug policy is one that actively discourages marijuana use as well as other recreational drug use, especially for youth. The aggressive commercialization of marijuana that is now rampant and still growing is particularly damaging to the public health because it markets marijuana and an array of increasingly potent products in ever more attractive ways that encourage marijuana use and frequent high-dose THC use. We are at a crossroads. Legalizing marijuana will have lasting negative effects on future generations. The currently legal drugs, alcohol and tobacco, are two of the leading causes of preventable illness and death in the country. Establishing marijuana as a third legal drug will increase the national drug abuse problem, including expanding the opioid epidemic."

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PastorTroy 2 years, 8 months ago

I was thinking the same thing about fast food!

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sheeprunner12 2 years, 8 months ago

Did Prohibition work?????? ........ and that was a 13 years experiment ....... But the world didnot learn from that stupid lesson way back in 1920 ........ Now 80 years after marijuana criminalization by the World, it remains a stupid law ........ The UN can rethink these stupid rules and change them today ......... It makes you wonder WHO benefits from these stupid laws.

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joeblow 2 years, 8 months ago

There are obvious differences between alcohol and marijuana, the most obvious is that alcohol levels in a type of beverage is standardized. In other words all Coors light beers will have the same alcohol content in each can. This is not true with marijuana as growers consistently strive to increase the THC levels with various techniques. That means a person can have a different effects based on who the farmer is. Secondly, based on the above a person can anticipate their response to an alcoholic beverage but they cant with marijuana.
Laws are needed to protect some people from themselves. Not everyone has the capacity to be responsible. Just look around!

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sheeprunner12 2 years, 8 months ago

Agreed ........ Rum is distilled ....... marijuana is a natural herb ...... Man is sinful, devious and greedy.

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PastorTroy 2 years, 8 months ago

One word MOONSHINE. (2) Alcohol is a man-made poison and has been killing HUMANS, sorry that's another story, ...has been legal and regulated for decades, Cannabis? Not so. Have you tasted the cookies in Colorado? They're pretty much the same THC levels, SECOND WORD. LEGAL.

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ashley14 2 years, 8 months ago

A lot of good points have been made. Legalizing marijuana will give people a more relaxed attitude about using it. Which will add to dependency problems, broken families and even early death. Pastor Troy is right about sugar and fast food. The Bible says treat your body as a temple. That's not just getting high. I do worry in this generation that so many of them grew up with absentee families, that they are not going to have the skills to raise their own families.

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sheeprunner12 2 years, 8 months ago

Yep ......... For the past 50 years Man has been searching for an alternative reality through pain meds, dope, same-sex, cyberspace etc ...... But God is REAL.

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licks2 2 years, 8 months ago

HEHEHEHEHEHEHEHEHEHEHEHE. . .so the Bahamas is also full of self-serving pundits who are willing to impose their personal views. . .most of which don't even sound logical and reasoned. . .on everybody! Is this the progressive nation for the 21st moving on to the 23rd century? Syllogistic reasoning only proves one thing for the most part. . .each person starts with a "pet" position and attempt to inductively reasoned for a ;logical position! That's why in technical writing we use the term "he posits". . .it indicates a priori (pre-conclusion) reasoning profile that only tends to result in a circular or stochastic ranting and not a free flow in information for logical concluding!

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TheMadHatter 2 years, 8 months ago

John....when you see things like you quoted:

"Robert L. DuPont is the president of the Institute for Behavior and Health and the first director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse."

Remember that so many of these "Institutes" are just made up of one guy, his girlfriend, and their maid who just got out of rehab. There is nothing to them. They have no staff, no name, no budget, just a name and a website. They sound good though online.

It is truly unbelievable that in 2018 anybody would still support the current prohibition on marijuana. I dont smoke - but see nothing wrong with others doing so.

Remember there is a BIG difference between legalization and to decriminalize.

For example:

Alcohol is legal.
Can you buy it in a food store? No. Can your 10 year old nephew buy it in a liquor store? No.

Advertising your business is legal. Can your attorney put an ad in this newspaper about the services his Firm offers or which areas of law they specialize in? No. It is illegal to advertise attorney services in the Bahamas. It is also illegal for an attorney to take your lawsuit case and agree for you to pay him from your "assured" payment ordered by the Court - even if he agrees beforehand that you would owe him nothing if he loses your case.

So, you see, there are all sorts of subtle things in criminal law. The law is not just a bunch of breaker switches that are either ON or OFF. 100% or 0%.

So decriminalizing marijuana can be setup with a host of caveats - such as you cannot just lounge around in Rawson Square smoking ya spliff.

The best thing would be to say, if you are in the privacy of your home or car or on a scantly populated beach or otherwise simply not just overtly displaying yourself smoking marijuana then the police will not bother you. No stop and frisk. No home searches or car searches turning up a few ounces and then the person's life is ruined.

But so many take pleasure in ruining other people's lives - especially people who "don't count" like hood people. Nobody cares about them, i guess. They are poor and black - so people say let them rot in jail.

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