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Minnis: Make Up Your Own Minds On Marijuana Issue

Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis.

Photo: Terrel W. Carey/Tribune Staff

Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis. Photo: Terrel W. Carey/Tribune Staff

Reader poll

Do you think marijuana should be legalised for medicinal purposes?

  • Yes 90%
  • No 10%

679 total votes.

By AVA TURNQUEST

Tribune Chief Reporter

aturnquest@tribunemedia.net

PRIME Minister Dr Hubert Minnis has given tacit support for the medical and scientific use of marijuana, however he told the media his personal views will not supersede a widespread public education campaign.

Dr Minnis said the government will establish a committee to host town meetings and focus groups on the issue. He said once the public’s stance is gleaned, the matter will be brought to Parliament for debate and “the people” will make a determination on the way forward.

The nation’s leader addressed reporters at the Lynden Pindling International Airport on his return from the 39th meeting of CARICOM Heads of Government meeting, where a report calling for the end of prohibition of the plant was discussed.

He said he preferred the scientific name “cannabis” as the world was moving away from colloquial use of the term “marijuana”. Marijuana refers to the dried leaves, flowers, stems, and seeds from the Cannabis sativa or Cannabis indica plant.

“I am first and foremost a scientist,” Dr Minnis said on Saturday, “first and foremost a physician. We analyse things and there (is) information coming out that would suggest there are some scientific benefit.”

Asked for his personal view, Dr Minnis said: “I believe in research and if research shows that there are medical benefits, my job as a doctor is to try and improve and save lives. I am first and foremost a doctor, so my views are more medicinal, my views are more research, but the matter has to be discussed. So I’m not going to throw my views down anybody’s throat. I’m going to give them the facts, my colleagues will give them the facts, they will read the facts and they will make up their own mind.

“But I will not force my views on anybody,” he added.

Dr Minnis noted Bahamian Bishop Simeon Hall was part of the regional team that conducted an extensive study on the social, economic, health and legal issues surrounding marijuana use in the Caribbean, and also made a presentation at last week’s meeting. Bishop Hall was unavailable for comment up to press time.

According to Jamaican news agency The Gleaner, the Regional Marijuana Commission (RMC) report argues that a strictly regulated framework for marijuana, akin to that for alcohol and tobacco, should be introduced.

It said there was a unanimous view that the current classification for cannabis/marijuana as a dangerous drug with no value or narcotic should be changed to a classification of legal cannabis as a “controlled” substance.

Dr Minnis did not speak to any findings of the report at Saturday’s press briefing.

“However the Bahamas’ position is all of our Cabinet members will be well versed with the report,” he said, “and we would embark on an education process so that our people would understand what was the content of the report, after which we would establish a committee…they would then have the responsibility to do both town meetings, focal group meetings. They themselves would be well educated with the report and what is being said about cannabis today.”

Dr Minnis continued: “They would travel to the Family Islands seeking individual Bahamians’ opinion, focal groups seeking Bahamian’s opinions, UB and other advanced education institutions within our Bahamas. Once they have completed that they would be given a timeline as to the response and feeling of the Bahamian populace. Once that is complete that would be brought to Parliament for complete debate, therefore the people would make determination as to what is the advancement forward.”

Dr Minnis noted the University of the West Indies was once one of the leading institutions in cannabis research, namely its discovery of its benefits for treating glaucoma, but had “subsequently fallen off.”

The government’s committee will comprise of a wide-range of stakeholders, he said, including NGOs, members of the Christian council, University of the Bahamas, and Chamber of Commerce.

Dr Minnis said there will not be an opinion poll on this issue.

“The entire matter (will be) discussed at Cabinet level. We will come to a consensus determination as to who should be on such committee to ensure you have a broad base and the whole educational process, because whomever is on the committee they must also be quite versed with the report and understand it.”

Dr Minnis added: “One of the big mistakes we make, you send the wrong messenger to preach a message that the messenger don’t necessarily understand.”

Seventy-one percent of 998 residents surveyed in a recent Public Domain poll said they believed marijuana should be legalised for medicinal purposes, and all respondents ranked marijuana as the least harmful substance by comparison to tobacco, alcohol, and sugar, across the board.

Comments

Porcupine 4 months, 1 week ago

Dr. Minnis,

We appreciate that you value science. That, "first and foremost I am a scientist. First and foremost I am a doctor." For many years now, science has been clear on the deadly effects of poverty. Crystal clear. So why would you ignore all the science showing an increase in poverty associated with your increase in VAT? Would could be more clear, to a scientist? And yet, your administration, despite the science, chose the route of increasing poverty. Are truth and decency dead?

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joeblow 4 months, 1 week ago

"So I’m not going to throw my views down anybody’s throat. I’m going to give them the facts, my colleagues will give them the facts, they will read the facts and they will make up their own mind. “But I will not force my views on anybody,” he added.

He had no difficulty forcing his views on Oban and VAT down our throats though!

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DDK 4 months, 1 week ago

“They would travel to the Family Islands seeking individual Bahamians’ opinion" . Oh goodie! MORE TRAVEL!!!! Just do us all a favour Doc, PLEASE STOP WASTING THE PEOPLE'S MONEY AND GET WITH IT!I

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stislez 4 months, 1 week ago

Is bishop simeon hall an expert on cannabis? I don't think he is......just sayin.....

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Alex_Charles 4 months, 1 week ago

The good bishop should do us all a service and render onto Cesar on this one. In other words, shut the hell up and and allow us to end the prohibition and tax the hell out of the sale of Cannabis.

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OMG 4 months, 1 week ago

Is he a real Bishop or self appointed title. Just because he screeches his way through a Sunday sermon doesn't mean he know diddly squat about pot.

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ThisIsOurs 4 months, 1 week ago

Dr Hall is an expert on accepting pay to push any position

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TalRussell 4 months, 1 week ago

Questions Comrade PM. Have there been local companies formed that involve "elected or appointed" members of his government, or close family members pertaining to the production, marketing, funding or scientific study Cannabis? Which law firms act as their registered law offices?
Moving forward, will the PM assure the peoplepublic that if and when red shirts become involved Cannabis - they the peoplepublic will be so informed- that as PM - he will take closer closer look at all such incorporation's and make peoplepublic - all such findings?
The peoplepublic must feel that they can Trust their elected and politically appointed man's and woman's.

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Alex_Charles 4 months, 1 week ago

Legalize it and have a special program setup for Bahamians, and say this again, BAHAMIANS TO EXCLUSIVELY GROW THE PLANT IN THE BAHAMAS. We should push for cooperatives in this regards. In order to keep the process free of conglomeration, bar certain individuals and entities from entering the industry OR force them to put shares up for sale to the tune of 49% 51%. Not a sham like Ingraham did with the Port, and no BS like Christie and BTC's 2%.

This can be the first and only industry that's Bahamian owned and that ALL Bahamians benefit from (taxes and jobs).

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sheeprunner12 4 months, 1 week ago

What percentage of Bahamians have smoked weed during their lifetime???? ...... 60%, 70%, 80% ............. So, a poll of Bahamians about "legalizing" weed will be a no-brainer?????

This sounds like we are going down the road of the "gaming referendum" again ........ Most Bahamians play numbers, but they voted NO ....... Most Bahamians smoke weed, but they will also vote NO.

A word to the wise should be sufficient.

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ThisIsOurs 4 months, 1 week ago

That's funny, I recallFayne Thompson on a talk showing talking up and down about legalizing marijuana and the myths about it being harmful. The host posed a question, do you want your teenage son smoking marijuana? Without blinking he said "No". The intelligent proponents know this drug een for everybody.

My personal belief every plant was put here for a purpose, like most inventions, man has found all manner of ways to misuse it

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sheeprunner12 4 months, 1 week ago

How much does rum......... beer.......... tobacco ......... earn the Bahamian Treasury today????

I am sure that it is more the FIVE million dollars (each) ............ smh

And how much does each legal VICE cost this country in medical, social services and employment hours????????? ............ I am sure it is more than $15 million as well.

Is the legalization of another VICE the solution to the social disruptions already scientifically and legally documented by the BIG Three???

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TalRussell 4 months, 1 week ago

Ma Comrades, this Imperial red shirts cabinet have taken peoplepublic to the cleaners in every other decision they've made - so be watchful whom the reds makes so special that they are in line for getting all the Cannabis contracts, political appointments and cash flow perks..... in the meantime, order your poiliceman's to stop arresting people for simple possession Cannabis and stay all pending charges before the courts... It is sinful government go from prosecutor to selling and collecting taxes from Cannabis - while still locking their people up.

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sealice 4 months, 1 week ago

don't waste anymore time or money on this = Please Legalize da culta Mr. Minnis.....

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ThisIsOurs 4 months, 1 week ago

"Dr Minnis said the government will establish a committee to host town meetings and focus groups on the issue. He said once the public’s stance is gleaned, the matter will be brought to Parliament for debate and “the people” will make a determination on the way forward."

Translation the govt has already decided and they're going to waste a bunch of money flying around trying to convince people to come over to the dark side. I'm going to get that nobody on this "committe" is going to detail the pitfalls and the dark side to this industry, it will all be peaches and cream and loads of money for the "small man". Just like gaming and carnival. Once adopted the negatives will be brushed aside with "well it's already here"

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ThisIsOurs 4 months, 1 week ago

"first and foremost a scientist,” Dr Minnis said on Saturday, “first and foremost a physician. We analyse things and there (is) information coming out that would suggest there are some scientific benefit.”"

First of all, has anybody seen any evidence that DR Minnis applies a scientific method to anything? Remember "nobody gonna make me do what I don't want to do"? That's not scientific, that's bullheaded. Why should we believe he'll do it with this?

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Well_mudda_take_sic 4 months, 1 week ago

His Majesty King Sebas Bastian instructed the Dimwitted Doc to legalize it, so it will be legalized. It doesn't matter that the vast majority of voters are against legalization because they know that the number of automobile fatalities will soar as will also auto insurance premiums. The number of homicides will also skyrocket overnight. But the Dimwitted Doc must do as King Sebas instructs him to do. It's no different than Perry Christie had to do what King Sebas instructed him to do, resulting in the purported 'legalization' of the money laundering activities of the numbers bosses against the wishes of the Bahamian people as expressed in a duly held national referendum. Yep, little difference between Minnis and Christie, and we all know who's really calling the shots - none other than His Majesty King Sebas!

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TalRussell 4 months, 1 week ago

Ma 91,409 Comrades, first and foremost if you be one who on 10th May, 2017 trusted your vote with the 35 red shirts candidates and if does even bother writes down the stances the PM and his Imperial red shirts cabinet colleagues promises they will be taking - write their positions down on softer paper - so when you use useless paper later wipes your asses - it wont't feel likes sandpaper hurtin' ya rectums.

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Well_mudda_take_sic 4 months, 1 week ago

Unsurprisingly, we now even see the race card being played in an effort to legalize marijuana use. This is all about the Jamaican government and Jamaican people (i.e. CARICOM) sucking hoards of cash out of the Bahamas in exchange for an illegal crop that grows in abundance at very low cost in Jamaica. And we thought we had things tough with all of the cash being sucked out of the Bahamas by illegal Haitian and illegal Jamaican immigrants sending cash back to their family members in their home better. Our most stupid dimwitted PM is about to allow the Bahamas to be made a fool of by the Jamaican government and he doesn't have any idea whatsoever that he has become the laughing stock of the Caribbean region. What a joke!

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ThisIsOurs 4 months, 1 week ago

Totally agree, the only reason they're courting the Bahamas is they want to use our waters for their transport route

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SP 4 months, 1 week ago

So PM Minnis plans to allow 400,000 Bahamians decide the fate of marijuana use in the country over literally untold numbers and mountains of global "scientific" evidence?

Will PM Minnis use the same logic when it comes to the Bahamas Joining the WTO?

It seems being a politician is equivalent to being a two faceted, deceitful individual!

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TheMadHatter 4 months, 1 week ago

Minnis is exactly correct and on track. Also going about it smooth, slow, but sure-footed - just like he's handling the immigrant situation.

So far, so good.

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Well_mudda_take_sic 4 months, 1 week ago

PAID FOR for by the very few remaining supporters of the dimwitted Doc.

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TalRussell 4 months, 1 week ago

Ma Comrades, governments not in habit of funding the establishing a Cannabis committee, host town meetings and focus groups on any issues (test waters) campaigns - unless seeking support something something they're themselves "pushing"...... I read nowhere - once feelings PeoplePublic been gleamed empty thoughts and debated on floor House of Assembly - where Minnis promises any further PeoplePublic consultation (referendum}.... No mention, if the House Leader Renward will enforce all reds MP's to vote with government or be fired?

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John 4 months, 1 week ago

So is Minnis going to allow a grave yard to be built next to Kennedy Subdivision even after the plan was rejected by two previous governments? Hold on! Before you answer let’s check the name of the family who want to put the graveyard there (next to Super Wash on Soldier Road).

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