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Potty – Going To Jail Over A Joint

State Minister for Legal Affairs Elsworth Johnson and Foreign Affairs Minister Darren Henfield.

State Minister for Legal Affairs Elsworth Johnson and Foreign Affairs Minister Darren Henfield.

By RASHAD ROLLE

Tribune Staff Reporter

rrolle@tribunemedia.net

NO reasonable person can deny the Bahamas must scrutinise laws that criminalise people possessing small amounts of marijuana, Foreign Affairs Minister Darren Henfield said Friday.

Amid criticism of the government’s approach to the issue, he and State Minister for Legal Affairs Elsworth Johnson emphasised on the sidelines of a closely watched marijuana town hall that to ensure the conversation about legalising or decriminalising marijuana persists, proponents of change must organise themselves to make the government pay attention.

Friday’s town hall was organised by CARICOM’s Regional Commission on Marijuana.

Like those before it, the Minnis administration has a conservative stance on marijuana and Mr Henfield’s suggestion he supports some form of decriminalisation is a rare example of a sitting minister going on record with such a view.

“No one can argue against the position that to place a criminal record on a young Bahamian male in the prime of his life for having a joint is something that has to be examined, has to be looked at; no one in their right or reasonable mind would accept that without consideration,” Mr Henfield told reporters.

“This country has a large population of young people. Sometimes young people get into things and do stuff that they regret later on. I know as young person I have. I have three sons. It’s important for us to look at these things with deep consideration.”

More than 200 people, mostly men, attended the town hall at the Holy Trinity Activity Centre; thousands more watched via online streams.

Attendees were greatly in favour of marijuana decriminalisation and legalisation, with only few of more than 30 speakers favouring the status quo. How representative the audience was of Bahamians’ views at large was a question that lingered after the event. CARICOM, according to marijuana commission chair Dr Rose Marie Belle-Antoine, submitted a marijuana questionnaire for the government to publicly distribute to compile data regarding Bahamians’ attitudes toward the substance, but it’s unclear whether the government will conduct a survey to better ascertain public opinion.

Nevertheless, Dr Belle-Antoine said every country the commission has visited thus far has displayed overwhelming support for decriminalising marijuana in town hall events.

“My distinct impression is this is an important issue for the Bahamas, not just for the young people but from very many walks of life,” she said. “How widespread it is difficult to say but I would say that if people who were really vehemently opposed were indeed that way they would come out and say so and they haven’t, so I think that tells you there is a softening of attitudes in relation to marijuana.”

Among the most significant concerns residents expressed was the country may be missing an opportunity to capitalise on an economic stimulus; that Bahamians are not allowed to benefit from cutting edge medicinal marijuana treatments; and that marijuana laws are enforced unequally, with poorer, black Bahamians likelier to be criminalised than wealthier Bahamians who go free even if caught with the drug.

McKenzie Van Hagen attracted applause when he took the mic and touched on such themes. “Coming from a white man’s mouth,” he said, “I’m curious how black and brown Bahamians especially feel that in Portugal, Amsterdam and Canada there are people who are going to be making millions and millions of dollars and if we stay in the past there is going to continue to be black and brown Bahamians locked up and having their lives ruined while white people are getting rich.”

Some residents aimed their frustration at politicians, mocking the Free National Movement’s (FNM) “it’s the people’s time” slogan as they accused the administration of preferring to ignore the issue.

“The PLP disappointed our young men; the FNM disappointed our young men and Chris Mortimer you better not try disappoint our young men,” said Fayne Thompson, a lawyer and member of Citizens Against Prohibition – a Bahamas marijuana advocacy group.

“It’s the political class who has to take the next step,” Mr Thompson said. “Stop looking for Uncle Sam to say no.”

To those who expressed concern that the marijuana debate will end now that the contingent of CARICOM representatives has left the country, Mr Johnson said: “It’s for the persons here to get together as a group, to lobby government, to lobby other NGOs in the community and to carry the discussions on. There’s freedom of expression. One thing my government and my prime minister is insisting on is that civil society becomes extremely active. That’s how democracies survive, how they grow and evolve.”

Mr Henfield expressed a similar view.

“I wonder if Bahamians want a government that dictates to them or one that is responsive,” he said. “When you ask some of the leading members of society what their views are inevitably you hear we have not yet formed a view, we are waiting on the government to say something. I believe that laws should inform the needs of the society, should be responsive to the needs of the society. When Bahamians come together with any one cause, governments are forced to listen or they lose power. If this movement is as I see here tonight with very strong support government will be forced to listen so we look to what’s going to happen in the future.”

Mr Henfield could not say how likely the government is to adopt the recommendations of the commission’s report, whatever they are.

Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis has not yet given his opinion on marijuana.

“When my prime minister is ready, I’m quite certain, wise man that he is, he will address it,” Mr Johnson said as he pushed back against criticism that the government would prefer that the matter ends as a public debate.

“We’ve facilitated this meeting,” he said. “There is work being put into this. At the end of the day the government may decide or it may not but that’s not a question for me to answer.”

Comments

proudloudandfnm 3 months, 2 weeks ago

It is time. Marijuana does not enebriate and it is not a gatewat drug. Alcohol does enebriate and does kill. If liquor is legal then there is no logical reason not to legalize marijuana.

And Tribune please don't come back with that story about your employee who was obviously doing crack... thanks...

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ThisIsOurs 3 months, 2 weeks ago

We're chemically composed. The truth is unless you do studies on an individual you will never know if they are or aren't susceptible to the negative side effects of any drug. There's clear evidence that marijuana affects some young people negatively just walk down to sandiands.

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John 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Decriminalizing yes...legalizing ..marijuana should not be rushed into.. . . ."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."

Upvote0

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joeblow 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Would our country really be better off if more people smoked marijuana?

Fixing our broken social structure is far more important. We need to raise a generation of people who grow up in stable homes with solid moral guidance and critical thinking skills. Many of these arguments would evaporate as people would make choices not driven by personal 'feelings' but by what is best for society as a whole.

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athlete12 3 months, 2 weeks ago

You assume that decriminalizing would cause more people to smoke? I don't believe that would be the case.

Decriminalizing would help our social structure because we would stop locking up our youth "for a joint" or a plant. So there is a combination of social restructuring and personal feelings attached to this issue. One shouldn't feel at threat of being locked up for smoking marijuana, the same way one shouldn't feel afraid to have a glass of wine.

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joeblow 3 months, 2 weeks ago

The overall point I was making above is that when people are whole, as a general rule they desire drugs and alcohol far less. Our society produces too many broken self centered people who need to medicate their pain. There is a better way.

Secondly, your argument conflates several issues. Alcohol and marijuana are not the same, chemically, physiologically or historically and their effects are not the same in each person. No one uses alcohol once and ends up at Sandilands. Additionally, access usually increases willingness to experiment! Gambling proves this point.

People generally advocate for what they personally want, without regard for the broader social implications. I don't believe in large scale social experimentation unless it is clear that society will benefit morally first! Economic prosperity without a strong moral base always results in oppression and exploitation!!

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athlete12 3 months, 2 weeks ago

I agree we do live in substance dependent society. I think most of the western world does. Also I did not say alcohol and marijuana are the same. My point was one shouldn't fear being jailed for it.

How many people in Sandilands has smoked unlaced marijuana once and gone crazy?

People have used alcohol and become alcoholics, drive drunk, commit crimes, rape, etc.

I agree with you about increasing willingness and gambling. So what do you believe will be the social implications of more people smoking marijuana? Does keeping it illegally/criminalized benefit us morally or economically?

Yes our social structure is needs great improvement but I don't see how decriminalizing marijuana would hinder that. Canada and Australia are about to move to full legalization let's see if there society collapses.

The answer I believe is simple is that you educate people. I never had or don't recall at least being educated about cigarettes or alcohol, marijuana, opiods in primary or high school. Give people the information that way they can choose for themselves.

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ThisIsOurs 3 months, 2 weeks ago

I believe it will cause more people to smoke. There will be people who "try" because it's no longer taboo. That's natural

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JackArawak 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Joeblow, Youth consumption has gone down in Colorado in the last 4 years that it has been legal there. Meanwhile, several hundred million dollars have been pumped into the government coffers and a slew of jobs have been created. Adults who smoke will smoke, legal or not and some people who would smoke for medicinal purposes but don't because morally they will not allow themselves to break law, they would benefit. I'm not saying it's all good and none bad, but overall the states that have legalized have been just fine, there is no chaos. And now Canada, a country that many respect, the whole nation is going legal on July 1st 2018.

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joeblow 3 months, 2 weeks ago

There are different stories coming out of Colorado for those interested in reading https://www1.cbn.com/cbnnews/us/2017/november/stoned-colorados-five-years-of-legal-commercial-pot

Marijuana is not as safe as people want us to believe! https://www.cdc.gov/marijuana/health-effects.htm

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JackArawak 3 months, 2 weeks ago

of course you can find articles, written in a negative light, by those who oppose the "evil weed". The governor and other high ranking Colorado politicians are still onboard; and I would have to imagine they are pretty well informed and they are the ones there, up close and personal; you and I aren't. The governor was originally opposed to it, but after seeing it in practice, admitted he was wrong and changed his stance.

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joeblow 3 months, 1 week ago

The positive economic growth will encourage suppression of certain facts, not unlike the suppression of the negative effects of gambling here or the adverse effects of social media. Marijuana is good for business but not society as a whole!

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athlete12 3 months, 2 weeks ago

lol your sources come from a conservative christian news website and US government who has patents on cannabis based products.

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joeblow 3 months, 1 week ago

So that automatically make them suspect or untrue?

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happyfly 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Australia is aiming for global domination in a growing industry: medicinal marijuana.

The country’s government said Thursday that it was legalizing overseas exports of cannabis products for medical uses.

“We’d like to be potentially the world’s number one supplier,” Health Minister Greg Hunt said on local radio.

Some experts predict the government move could lead to a boom in the industry for Australia.

It “opens the floodgates for further overseas investment into Australia,” said Niv Dagan, a director at investment firm Peak Asset Management.

He forecasts that the market for Australian medicinal cannabis products will quadruple to $1 billion by 2020.

The news gave a massive lift to the share prices of Australian companies that grow cannabis for medical purposes.

The stock of one cultivation firm, Cann Group, surged 35% in Sydney on Thursday.

Peter Crock, the company’s CEO, told CNNMoney that he saw big opportunities in markets like Canada and Germany, where there could be shortfalls in local production.

A report last year by Grand View Research, a U.S.-based market research and consulting firm, forecast that the global market for medicinal cannabis would hit more than $55 billion by 2025.

Today, the major producers of medicinal cannabis for export include Canada and the Netherlands, while import markets include Germany and Croatia.

International trade in legal marijuana is still tightly controlled.

Sales are limited to medicinal use. Exporting and importing nations need to report all trades with the United Nations’ International Narcotics Control Board, according to cannabis information website Leafly.

The Australian Health Ministry said it hoped the decision to legalize exports would strengthen the market for local producers and ensure a more stable supply for Australian patients.

“Our goal is to ensure that Australian producers have every opportunity to be the number one producers of the highest-grade medicinal cannabis in the world,” Hunt said. The changes are set to take effect next month.

Australia legalized patient access to medicinal cannabis at the federal level in 2016, but rules differ at the state level. Recreational use is still forbidden nationwide

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TalRussell 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Comrades, what is the difference of the Colonial quick to be busing our own kinds to up to Fox Hill Prison which runs much broader than going to Jail over a Joint and a couple Brownies baked for ones own Medical or Recreational purposes, we have jailed thousands of our Poor and Near Poor who have never been found guilty of no crimes - jailed for years all because their lacks financial resources of raising Colonial ways bail monies. Colonial CARICOM can't help us to stop jailing we own's when they is still as Colonial backwards as what we need get needs get away from.
Minnis and KP are hell on allowing Colonial CARICOM to guide the kinds decisions we as a people are more than ready and qualified arrive at on we own Ways and Terms.
Amen!.

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John 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Marijuana on young women is not cool. The first two patrons in an establishment this morning were females. And besides smelling rank of weed and having dark lips and fingernails, these women definitely under the influence decided to verbally attack the attendants at the establishment. None of the four letter words we know were off limits for them. Then they walked out to a car and after a minute of getting in, you would have swore the inside of the car was on fire. but yet they have young children.

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athlete12 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Sound just like bad people and bad parents. Not every weed smoker behaves this way. Sound like you ran into some ratchetness is all lol.

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JackArawak 3 months, 2 weeks ago

John, Marijuana "mellows you out" these young ladies were obviously upset for another reason. Alcohol will sometimes cause you to get violent or rude (where you otherwise wouldn't be) not weed.

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joeblow 3 months, 1 week ago

One of the potential consequences of marijuana use is schizophrenia! I know more that a few people this has happened to. Would not want my child to be a "mellow" schizophrenic!

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TheMadHatter 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Tal it is rare that you and i agree, but today is one such day. I applaud those working to decriminalize this for their efforts to save our taxpayer dollars spent on ambulance fuel. It is a long drive from PMH to Fox Hill and back and i would be too afraid to venture a guess at our annual costs for this. No wonder we can only afford to give some students tablets, but not all.

The other side of this is money making by lawyers which needs no explanation. Isn't it curious how the population at Fox Hill seems to always stay between certain minimums and maximums. Never a case where some have to actually sleep in tents due to lack of room and never an empty cell either. Probably just coincidence though :-)

As you see here also there were very few women in attendance. Bahamian mothers know their place under Shariah Law. They ensure their families give 10% to the pastors dem to preach to everyone how they should be more perfect like them and like God. Besides, you never see a pastor's child going to prison - so they must be Godly :-)

So keep paying your tithes and your VAT and try make friends with doctors and nurses in the hospital and invite them to dinner sometimes so they be extra friendly if your son (a potential sinner) should end up there.

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Well_mudda_take_sic 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Most of us Bahamians know by now that whenever the race card is played to advocate for something, the thing being advocated for is usually a bad thing that ends up biting us right in the arse. We have enough crazy drivers on our roads as it is and I just can't begin to wrap my head around how much more deadlier our roads would become with hundreds of "high" potheads zipping around without care, regard or even notice of our most basic traffic laws. Frightening indeed. The "high" jitney drivers would certainly lend new meaning to hell on our roads! The auto insurers of course are drooling at the thought that many pothead drivers would surely justify much "higher" auto insurance rates (pun fully intended). Our brain dead politicians would legalize prostitution if they thought it would put a dollar in the public treasury for them to squander or in the pockets of their select few privileged cronies. Johnson and Henfield are the modern day equivalents of Mutt and Jeff or, better still, Dumb and Dumber when it comes to their sensibilities on the subject of legalized pot smoking of any kind.

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athlete12 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Our roads are dangerous because traffic laws aren't enforced, poor lighting, drunk driving, people driving without licences. If we just started there I think we'd have much safer roads.

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TalRussell 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Comrades, even before Minnis's Cataract surgery he was done suffering from vision opacification resulting in a kinds of blurred vision of wanting invite in Colonial CARICOM, who is out to make the Bahamaland a participating partner towards a 'unregulated' Caribbean..... no work permits required from atop Hawkins Hill - you just show up and report to work. Conveniently for the Imperial 'red shorts' cabinet - Haitian nationals will not be work permit free to roam the Caribbean going from job to job. its all in their Colonial CARICOM master design.

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realitycheck242 3 months, 2 weeks ago

"McKenzie Van Hagen attracted applause when he took the mic and touched on such themes. “Coming from a white man’s mouth,” he said, “I’m curious how black and brown Bahamians especially feel that in Portugal, Amsterdam and Canada there are people who are going to be making millions and millions of dollars and if we stay in the past there is going to continue to be black and brown Bahamians locked up and having their lives ruined while white people are getting rich.” Mr McKenzie Van Hagen is right. being a white Bahamian, he can easliy go into the Banks and get a loan to fund his Ganja business if it is legalized while we blacks would not be able to get a loan to fund a marjuana store.. Mordern day Plantation economics. . He sees big time opportunity here. Many more white citizens would get surly rich.

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ThisIsOurs 3 months, 2 weeks ago

100% sense. The industry will have such strict regulations, high taxes and performance bonds in place, that only the very rich or well capitalized will be able to participate. And that's really the way it should be regulation wise. You can't just plant some bush, buy some baggies and believe you're selling responsibly to the public. I don't know who these politicians are speaking so loosely on the topic. They need to do some research on the cost of getting into this business, from what I see professional growers use LOTS of artificial lighting to increase their produce and remain competitive. That means high cost. They also have to do ALOT of monitoring of crop, more costs. They have military style security to protect their operations, more cost.

Do not let these wanna be leaders use you to elevate themselves with some pseudo-populist theme.

Black and brown Bahamians will be forced underground if they want to participate, and the wealthy will use the strong arm of the law to wipe them out. Farms will be targeted by the same lazy fast money young men we've done nothing to elevate with treatment programs and education. Murders and robberies of these businessmen will start to rise as turf wars break out.

Any questions, Check the gaming industry.

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DEDDIE 3 months, 2 weeks ago

It was insane to outlaw a plant to begin with. Imagine banning apples because the sugar content is too high.

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joeblow 3 months, 2 weeks ago

What a specious argument! Imagine banning opium, coca and hashish. Must be a diabolical plot to trample on our rights!

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BahamasForBahamians 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Cocoa itself is not banned and is not considered a drug.

In fact it is used daily in ordinary lives. Coca-cola soda, Cocoa butter cream/lotion products. These plants are multipurpose organisms.

As Deddie said, banning a plant that naturally grows is insane.

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joeblow 3 months, 2 weeks ago

That suggests you do not know the difference between the COCA plant (from which cocaine is derived) and COCOA (a tree) from which we get chocolate and cocoa butter!

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sheeprunner12 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Marijuana is a deadly psychotropic drug (like legal alcohol) that can do a lot of harm to the body's mental, digestive, sexual and emotional state ...... Let us not kid ourselves that the 2018 form of herb is definitely not that of 1970 ........ And look what it did to Bob Marley and the US hippies generation.

This 2018 weed is 1000X stronger than the old weed of our grandparents' generation.

This is not something to take lightly ......... 2018 Marijuana is deadly if not handled with care.

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JackArawak 3 months, 2 weeks ago

It's disheartening that someone could be so close minded and misinformed in this day and age. There has never been a death by marijuana overdose. It's stronger than 1970, but not by 1000X. Marijuana is not for everyone but the evidence is overwhelming that it has significant medicinal uses. I can attest to this from personal use for depression and especially insomnia. Alcohol isn't for everyone either but it's legal and who among us is forced to drink it? If you don't like weed, don't smoke it. But there are a lot of good reasons to decriminalize and or legalize, not the least of which is tourism and the jobs and tax dollars it will create. If The Bahamas waits for all 50 states and Jamaica to legalize, we will have missed our opportunity.

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John 3 months, 2 weeks ago

"

And look what it did to Bob Marley and the US hippies generation."

Bob Marley was executed by the CIA because of the influence he had on black people and others. . . "A 79-year-old retired officer of the CIA, Bill Oxley, has made a series of stunning confessions since he was admitted to the Mercy Hospital in Maine on Monday (early December) and told he has weeks to live. He claims he committed 17 assassinations for the American government between 1974 and 1985, including the music icon Bob Marley."

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realitycheck242 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Whats the source for this info ....many men are delusional and suffer from dementia, alzheimer's,and parkinson, desease and speak all manner of foolishness on their death bed's especially while under the influence of numerous medications for a host of ailments.

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John 3 months, 2 weeks ago

The black community always knew Bob Marley, Martin Luther King and other prominent leaders were killed or 'hushed' by various arms of the US government .Not unlike how drugs, gangs, gang violence and black on black crime is being assisted by the CIA. A few minutes of research will reveal who is really involved in drugs and gun running..high, prominent figures in high places..Bob Marley called them 'crazy baldheads."

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TalRussell 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Comrades, I wouldn't be surprised if some involved with CARICOM traveling circus are some not some people who once lobbied for the successful banning of Comrade Bob Marley's songs from being played on the radio airwaves in their respective Caribbean Homelands, all because they opposed Comrade Marley's love for he choice herb plant.
From the PM, KP, the attorney general and minister security along with all members Imperial 'red shorts' cabinet, should be made declare if they currently use Pot or have previously so used as not to be in conflict with the rules of cabinet...including any and all direct/indirect/family involvement in lobbying for legalization Pot.
Has any member red government had Possession Pot charges against them - even if later dismissed by the crown?
Amen!

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John 3 months, 2 weeks ago

The problem is when big businesses commercialize it and market it many will feel like they 'gats ta have it" just like Hennessy...it is actively being promoted by rappers in all their videos and all the rap songs. And many young people go out to experience Hennessy and they have one of the nastiest drunks and worse experiences in their lives. Some get sick and have to be in bed for days. Then they go out and try it again because Hennessy suppose to be the sh!t" And so they must be the oddball it they can't do Hessessy>

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TalRussell 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Comrades, has wonder why with a growing population Bahamalander Rastafarians are never much, if at all, in the news committing crimes? I say if this be the truth - lets work at sprungin up more Rastafarians. Amen!

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sheeprunner12 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Rastafari or Natty Dread?????? ......... How do you distinguish?????

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ThisIsOurs 3 months, 2 weeks ago

"#“My distinct impression is this is an important issue for the Bahamas, not just for the young people but from very many walks of life,” she said. “How widespread it is difficult to say but I would say that if people who were really vehemently opposed were indeed that way they would come out and say so and they haven’t, so I think that tells you there is a softening of attitudes in relation to marijuana."

What a dumb statement to make based on maybe a hundred mostly men out of 350,000 population of mostly women. Secondly she clearly doesn't know Bahamian voting patterns.

Who are these people who's voices we are hanging on to??? Ellsworth Johnson says , ~"its good to see that democracy is still alive", does anybody remember the last time a politician spoke about a "wonderful display of democracy"? Do you remember the promises before and what actually materialized? Who benefitted and who proclaims that they believed themselves a cabinet minister already? Who got the lucrative govt contracts and started aggressive land grabbing?

My belief is that caricom's only interest in showing up here is in ensuring that their US mainland transshipment point will not interfere with "their" industry.

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hrysippus 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Drinking rum can sure delight us, . ..... ..... Drink too much, you get hepatitis, ......... .......... ... And if you keep on drinking still, .......... ........ . That hepatitis's gonna kill. . ........... ....... But I can walk down the road, not far, ...... .. .. And stop in at my neighbourhood bar, ... ........... ... Buy a fifth of rum or a pint of gin, .. .............. ..... ...... A dollar cup of ice to put it in, .. ............ ............ Drink it down and go back for more, .. .. ......... Keep drinking 'til my head get sore, ............. ......... ......... And all this quite within the law,.. . ......... . ........... No one ever ask you what it for,? . .......... ....... But if police they catch you with a joint. ,, ... .... ,...... That weed is harmless is beside the point,, .... ............ ... You're going up before the court, ................. ............. ... Where the magistrate, without much thought, ... .......... ............ Can have you confined within a cell, ............ ......... .... In that prison that we call Fox Hell. ................. ................ ... And even after you have served your time, ................... ... ... America will know of your crime, ............. ........ . No visa you'll get, no visit you'll make, .................. .... All due to that little potty mistake.

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TalRussell 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Comrades, if the new government still is unprepared to account where a Billion dollars in VAT went under the PLP, nor the 1/2 Billion Dollars they've collect in VAT since May 10,2017- why in hell would you trust them collect Billions more from legalized Pot sales?
Here's the way it will work, just as the PLP handpicked who would get the Numbers Sellers licenses and the preferred tax conditions, so it will be under the Imperial 'red shorts' cabinet's legalizing Pot.
Make Pot, It's the Poor and Near Poor People's time to profit business. The rich goin continue buying they designer drugs from their criminal sources. The rich don't buy da numbers.

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realitycheck242 3 months, 2 weeks ago

The web shop boys and folks who control the wholesale and retail sector would get all of the liscense from the legalization of Pot. The industry requires such strict regulations, high taxes and performance bonds in place, Only the very rich or well capitalized will be able to participate in operating and owining ganja shops. That eliminates the average small man.who cant even get a loan from a bank these days.. You can't just plant some bush, buy some baggies and believe you're selling responsibly to the public.Research on the cost of getting into this business has to be completed with a business plan.Professional growers use lots of artificial lighting to increase their produce and remain competitive. That means high cost, high light bills. High monitoring bills, high security bills so the gov will give the liscences to the whites who are in business or the web shop boys.who gat capitol. The drug boys will have new competition with unknown results because some of them aint civilized.

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TalRussell 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Comrade RealtyCheck242, the unkept shrubbery gown by some we ladies more than comprises da bush needed growing marijuana plants from seed. true some will require some fine before planting trimming. That would makes some good Pot.

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ThisIsOurs 3 months, 2 weeks ago

What you know about unkept shrubbery lol lol lol you been taking polls eh lol

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TalRussell 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Comrade ThisIsOurs, we're talkin no bypassing good set well-sharpened sturdy trimming shears to prune down that kinds wild bush growth. Stories abound of newborns been known hide from baby doctors behind that hedge. I knows ya there, somewhere, comes out.

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ThisIsOurs 3 months, 2 weeks ago

ROTFL not the doctor can't find the baby

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John 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Many have this strange idea that the legalization of marijuana will bring billions and billions in new revenue to countries like the Bahamas. First, unlike Colombia, Jamaica and Mexico, the Bahamas has little or no experience in the cultivation, marketing (well distribution yes) of marijuana. Not to forget there are cartels in Mexico and other places, and big businesses that will compete they get a share of the dope pie. And since recreational marijuana will be competing with cigarettes and alcohol, these businesses will also make moves to protect their markets. Imagine if 1/3 of persons who drink and smoke cigarettes decide to smoke weed if it is legalized. Will the tobacco and liquor companies stand around and allow their market to get taken. So there will definitely be a price war. $8.00 cigarettes and $3.50 beers will be no more. The price of marijuana will also come down, especially if the market is flooded. Then, like the oil industry, there will be strict regulation so countries, like the Bahamas, may not even be allowed to enter the international market. And marijuana, like tobacco has a limited shelf life.

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TalRussell 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Comrade John, did fall asleep during the 'price war' between the exclusive club Numbers Sellers? Have never heard liquor or cigarette 'price war' between booze and smokes sellers, have you? Conservative estimates have it that successive governments have collect Billions and Billions in various taxes booze and smokes over many year, yet the public remains clueless as to the total Billions Dollars collected and where and whom got's it?
Good God man, you're steering down history where our first Premier was a 'reformed Bootlegge' and his Billion dollars is still influencing local politics.

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OldFort2012 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Yea, it's much better to criminalize it and have young people unemployed rather than get them to grow it commercially and sell it to the millions of tourists coming off the cruise ships and get wealthy.

Because none of them would like to buy a few Rum Cakes laced with marijuana.

We have a captive market that would swallow as much as we can produce and we do...nothing.

Our collective enterprise spirit is sub zero.

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ThisIsOurs 3 months, 2 weeks ago

I don't think the young people you think it will help will stick around. The guys who are in the industry speak about long hard days of work and we haven't encouraged that commitment. There's a big capital investment and they don't have it. At most they will be glorified farm labourers. Nothing wrong with honest work but the vision of becoming wealthy for these men is unrealistic, if it were they'd be wealthy from the illegal trade, they aren't, they're small time resellers. Only a few driven individuals rise to be king pin.

There won't be jobs for everybody, competition ent allow it. I suspect most of them will start small little private plots to sell within the neighbourhood then be hounded down by the wealthy growers with the cooperation of the strong arm of the law.

Also I understand that process of extracting thc is extremely dangerous and strict attention has to be placed on the quantities used in baked goods or people could get extremely sick.vdo they young men have the discipline and attention to detail for that....dunno.. Think they just want the cash

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OldFort2012 3 months, 2 weeks ago

If you organize things like a third world country, you are right.

If you use your head, you do this: government guarantees price (which has to be good) and buys up all production. It gives up front grants to farmers and is paid back with final product. Then it processes it in a joint venture with the private sector into the various end products (food, medical, etc...) and resells it in licenced shops. Employs hundred of Bahamians, fills up its coffers, gives shares to all. Everyone wins. But you are right. Odds of our government being able to do something even this simple are smaller than a cold day in hell.

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sheeprunner12 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Minnis Cabinet needs to come clean .......... and declare who among them has smoked weed before.

Then they can be free to engage a Bahamian society (where 75% has smoked weed before).

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John 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee is among the highest quality in the world and the least bitter. Yet Jamaica accounts for less than 1% of coffee production in the world. The conditions that contributed to the quality of the Blue Mountain Coffee are the high mountainous atmosphere, totally unpolluted, the rich, fertile volcanic soil, and a constant cloud cover that creates a warm, indirect sunlight and a misty night atmosphere that makes perfect for growing Blue Mountain Coffee And Weed! The two states in the US that have environment close to Jamaica mountains are Kentucky (blue grass and West Virginia). The main difference is the crops will have shortened growing Times because of the cold fa and winters. Can the Bahamas compete?

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OldFort2012 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Cannabis is a weed. It will grow anywhere. They grow it even in Russia.

Compete with whom??

There is no international market in weed. It is illegal.

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Seaman 3 months, 2 weeks ago

I don't know about all you good people dem...... But I smoked tons of it in my younger days ...I'm not crazy ..... Maybe I am...I voted FNM. But God made it....and he looked at all he made and said it is good....moderation in all things Mr Tal......

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ThisIsOurs 3 months, 2 weeks ago

That's the thing, because you're ok, doesn't mean your son will be. All of us heard the stories in the 80's of the "one" in the group who tripped out

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John 3 months, 2 weeks ago

And many people do not know that Haiti also produces Coffee. And the conditions in Haiti are similar to Jamaica and because of the higher altitudes may even be better. But when the French brought a world wide embargo against Haiti, the first, free BLACK country in the world, from 400 years of slavery. A country that had one of the most robust economies in the world and a country that tried to free other countries like The Bahamas and Trinidad and Jamaica... now we are taught to hate Haitian dem.

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John 3 months, 2 weeks ago

This marijuana talks is so dope.. let’s sit on the potty and smoke...

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John 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Let’s continue to peel back the onion skin of history while trying to move forward and see who’s time it is to cry now. For the Bible says ‘ even the trees (marijuana,cotton and coffee ). Knew your sorrow, they saw your tears and they heard your weeping!

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John 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Isiah 55:12 says you will live in peace and joy. The mountains and hills will burst out in songs and the trees will clap their hands with joy.

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Seaman 3 months, 2 weeks ago

John......you are a pastor now hey....where in the good book this can be found.?

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Seaman 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Bishop John .... That is the calling to all to come to salvation .......but you can smoke a little weed and still have salvation ....true?

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John 3 months, 2 weeks ago

First of all I am not a bishop so I don't accept that responsibility, but that doesn't preclude my calling those who have ears to salvation. Second, smoking weed is not one of my vices (not to say it is a vice ore even a vice to everyone that smokes it)...but in the end times we will be judged by our faith and it will be tested.

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John 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Look at the post above yours I gave scripture and verse

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John 3 months, 2 weeks ago

TAL RUSSEL "

Comrades, has wonder why with a growing population Bahamalander Rastafarians are never much, if at all, in the news committing crimes? I say if this be the truth - lets work at sprungin up more Rastafarians. Amen! Upvote0 .*TAL..strange that you would draw the Rastas into this discussion about marijuana and then to include crime. Do you know that the Bahamian Rastafarians were the ones most persecuted in this country for the use of marijuana, growing dredlocks and crime?*

After Bob Marley (YES, The same Bob Marley who the CIA killed by injecting him with a virus in a vial hidden in a pair of converse tennis they gave him as a gift), visited the Bahamas in the late 1970's many young men were drawn to the Rastafarian tradition of smoking marijuana and growing dreadlocks. And as they joined 'the camp', they were given a bicycle and a bag of peanuts or box of fruits to sell on the streets of Nassau. They were known for wearing their green Dee Cee pants (with the seams sewn in. But the police did not take a liking to these young men. They would pull up on them, snatch them of their bicycles and throw them in the back or the police car. Sometimes they were lucky to have their fruits or peanuts join them on the trip to the police station, where they were searched and abused, physically by the police. Some were kept overnight and some were released a few hours later. Some had their dreadlocks cut off without even being charged with a crime and when they returned, more often than not, their bicycle was gone, disappeared into the community, stripped, maybe or painted and disguised that way. The police rationale for targeting and harassing the Rastas were that the Rastas recruit young men, then send them out to commit crimes. The police also claim that the Rastas harbored and hid known criminals known criminals in their camp. Many times after a crime was committed the victim would be called to the station to identify a suspect, only to find it was a Rasta who looked nothing like what they described to the police. So to make a long story short The Rastafarians had to withdraw their people from the world. They had to be separate and apart. A people set aside. The ones you see on the street now are the survivors of generations of persecution by the police and even rejection by society. And for the most part THEY ARE NOT INVOLVED IN CRIME! And, like the sun, most disappear at sunset, and that is for their own safety. They consider marijuana to be sacred plant and use it in their worship ceremony. Most likely the Rastas will not agree with the way marijuana is abused today by the general population, especially when it is consumed with alcohol.

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John 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Any many Rastafarians will not smoke what is being sold on the streets of The Bahamas for marijuana. It has been tampered with, molested and enhanced for its hallucinating effects. Its more like substituting communion wine in the church with henessy or gin.

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ThisIsOurs 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Marijuana proponents are a strange group. I recall about a year ago(?) Fayne Thompson the loudest voice was asked directly if he would want his son smoking marijuana and he said "NO". And I understand his response, because the truth is, nobody really knows what effect it will have on another person, unless you do medical studies. This rosy, "look at all the money we'll make" picture people are putting forward is extremely irresponsible. There's a dangerous dark side to this industry, those growers report that they're constantly fearful of being robbed and having product and equipment raided by organized gangs. Pretty it up all you want drugs, sex trade and gambling are vices that are always accompanied by seediness.

pasting out the Aug-2017 cbn.com news story referenced by @Joeblow.:

"This week marks the fifth anniversary of Colorado's legalization of the commercial marijuana trade, and the reviews aren't good. An editorial in the Colorado Springs Gazette reports, "Five years of retail pot coincide with five years of a homelessness growth rate that ranks among the highest rates in the country. Directors of homeless shelters, and people who live on the streets, tell us homeless substance abusers migrate here for easy access to pot". The paper says, "Five years of Big Marijuana ushered in a doubling in the number of drivers involved in fatal crashes who tested positive for marijuana, based on research by the pro-legalization Denver Post. Five years of commercial pot have been five years of more marijuana in schools than teachers and administrators ever feared."

"Family: Marijuana Edibles Caused Son's Death Rocky Mountain PBS reports that an investigation in 2016 showed that "drug violations reported by Colorado's K-12 schools have increased 45 percent in the past four years, even as the combined number of all other violations has fallen." The investigation found that drug violations by high school aged students had increased by 71 percent since legalization. Colorado ranks first in the country for marijuana use among teens, according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health. The head of Colorado's Marijuana Accountability Coalition said, "It's one thing to decriminalize marijuana, it's an entirely different thing to legalize an industry that has commercialized a drug that is devastating our kids and devastating whole communities."

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sheeprunner12 3 months, 2 weeks ago

How many of the sitting Bahamian MPs and Senators and senior pastors will allow their children and grandchildren to smoke weed ....... say at the age of 14????? ........ That is the usual entry age for most smokers.

When I hear their answer on this question ......... then the national conversation can begin.

Until then ........ Let us adopt Lanisha Rolle's mantra ........ It is a private issue (smoke weed at home).

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joeblow 3 months, 1 week ago

People with habits they enjoy will always rationalize. It doesn't matter if its marijuana, gambling, getting drunk at home, pornography or overeating. People will do what THEY want to do because they like the feeling. The effects on themselves or society is seldom under consideration. Many of these posts makes that abundantly clear!

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