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Cannabis Products Are ‘Still Illegal’

HEALTH Minister Dr Duane Sands.

HEALTH Minister Dr Duane Sands.

By AVA TURNQUEST

Tribune Chief Reporter

aturnquest@tribunemedia.net

HEALTH Minister Dr Duane Sands yesterday suggested there will be an official crackdown on the sale and use of CBD as he sent a strong warning to businesses and consumers that cannabis-derived products are still illegal.

Dr Sands pointed to an uptick in advertisements for products containing cannabidiol or CBD, and said his ministry has met with both the Customs Department and the Royal Bahamas Police Force to bring them up to speed concerning enforcement.

He said: “Notwithstanding the fact that everybody is excited about the fact we’re discussing changes in our approach and that they may have changed the laws in Canada and parts of the US — the Dangerous Drugs Act remains in force.”

“The act recognises CBD and hemp as illegal so whether you think it should be illegal or don’t think it should be illegal, right now it’s illegal. We have not changed any laws.”

His comments indicate a shift in tone from earlier this year, when he was asked by The Tibune about the boom in CBD products hitting shelves locally.

In March, Dr Sands confirmed there were no licences issued by the Ministry of Health, as required by the Dangerous Drugs Act, to import cannabis-derived products, but stressed it was not his ministry’s job to enforce or intercept goods.

Customs Controller Dr Geannine Moss also confirmed recently there were no restrictions on the import of products containing cannabis compound CBD.

At the time, Dr Sands said the uptick in local advertisements for topical products containing cannabidiol or CBD represented an inevitable trickle down of global trends. He suggested topical products were not a major cause for concern as more companies chased the newest natural health fad.

Yesterday, Dr Sands said: “What’s happening is people are bringing in all manner of things. So we’ve met formally with police and [Department of] Customs. No hemp, no CBD, no THC, no marijuana, no cannabis. No one is going to be using unless they already have a license to import. Those creams, lotions, ointments, salves that you see anywhere, if they have been imported without a license then they are illegal.”

“We’re simply reminding people what the law on the books of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas says,” Dr Sands continued, “the problem is that if you don’t remind people of the law, some people will take advantage of this scenario and they will claim that it is ambiguous. 

“It’s not ambiguous, we have paneled a marijuana commission. They’re not done with their work. It would be absurd of me to have a panel who is working, and then to issue a series of licenses ostensibly around them with no regard to their deliberation. It means that I would have presupposed the outcome.”

The Bahamas National Commission on Marijuana (BNCM) was expected to submit its first draft on Bahamian attitudes on the controversial plant— the first step in a larger debate on the prohibition of medical and recreational use, this month.

However, the commission has been granted a three-month extension, Dr Sands confirmed.

Medical marijuana can be prescribed as the whole, unprocessed marijuana plant or its basic extracts, and the major active compounds in those extracts, are the cannabinoids CBD, THC, and cannabinol or CBN - which is mildly psychoactive with powerful sedative properties.

Popular uses of CBD - which is not psychoactive - include relief from chronic, muscle pain, convulsions, and inflammation; and the use of CBD oil has become immensely popular.

The Dangerous Drug Act restricts “every compound, manufacture, salt derivative, mixture or preparation of such plant or resin” unless given a special permit for medical or scientific purpose.

Comments

joeblow 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Why warn them? If its illegal it is a police matter-- the products should be confiscated and the perpetrators arrested. Simple. This is nothing but Sands getting his weekly dose of airtime!

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proudloudandfnm 3 months, 2 weeks ago

So stop pissing about and legalize it. You're late already, get on it!

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Sickened 3 months, 2 weeks ago

There are plenty of laws and rules on our books that are ignored by all, including MP's. Why are you focusing so much on this?

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TheMadHatter 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Dear businesses and consumers, please be reminded that we still live in the stone age (and are proud of it). Get yourself a good dinosaur club and a Fred Flintstone outfit, and enjoy your day. Progress? Don't make me laugh. Not in this God-forsaken country. We backward, and only wish we could be even more backward. Young black men in cages? I guess that gets some people excited, makes their day (or night).

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TalRussell 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Yes, yes, at what point does cannabis policing become more pressing priority than cold-blooded murder, yes, no ... if it be that the comrade minister health Duane, has the spare time stick he nose into enforcement the Dangerous Drugs Act to import cannabis-derived products, maybe he be better off loan his time to the Commish Policeman's new task - why murder under he and his Imperial red shirts cabinet colleagues - has now climbed atop Mount Fitzwillam, yes, no,,,,, or help Commish in his unsuccessful search for the "missing" for one whole year now, OBAN documents, yes,no?

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hrysippus 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Why would the honourable Minister feel that he has to make this pronouncement? As well as being a professional politician he is also a qualified medical doctor. Thousands of people are dying from opioid overdoses every year. In many, if not most cases, these deadly pharmaceuticals were initially proscribed by a medical doctor. Now how many people died last year from CNB products? That is correct, absolutely none. Are the medical profession feeling threatened by a product which just may effectively replace the need for so manty doctor prescribed drugs?

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DWW 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Meanwhile more young bahamian men are put in jail for a plant. meanwhile in Jamaica, Canada, Colorado, Massachusetts, California, Malta, Portugal, Holland, Switzerland, etc. etc. but i digress. It is illegal. Well change the bloody law, that is what you do. Dese MP's don't give a rats ass what is illegal or not - HOW MANY DIDN'T DISCLOSE THEIR FINANCES? GTFO OF PARLIAMENT AND STOP MAKING PUBLIC STATEMENTS IF YOU HAVEN'T PAID THE PIPER. Has Mr. Sands made his public disclosure of personal finances this year?

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DWW 3 months, 2 weeks ago

The sip sip is that a select few are already working on getting themselves one of 2 or 3 licenses which will be granted soon. I wonder who will get it??? Is Mr. Sands going to be one of the lucky few?

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bogart 3 months, 2 weeks ago

IF DA GOVT CUSTOMS.......BIN LETTING THESE PRODICTS THROUGH......AN PAYING CUSTOMS DUTIES.......THE MERCHANTS....NEEDS TO GETS BACK DERE CUSTOMS DUTIES WID INTEREST........AN GETS COMPENSATION FOR ....DR. SANDS ..........NEEDIN TO REFUND ALL DERE GOODS MONEY..............but allowed to go through Customs.....

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The_Oracle 3 months, 2 weeks ago

The Minister (Dr.) is probably upset as CBD over the counter will reduce his commission on prescription drugs from Phizer/Merck/Roche/Novartis etc. As always, behind the ball by months if not years.

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Chucky 3 months, 2 weeks ago

It’s like saying our ways are outdated and our laws antiquated but they’re still our laws.

They may change the law. So it’s still illegal until the law changes.

Once the law changes it’s ok.

So it seems the moral compass swings not based on what is right, but based on what a few legislators think and do.

Seems they think they are god!

Too arrogant , they deserve to be put in their place, they are our servants, not our keepers. It is the populous that should be addressed as “honourable” not these pompous leaders.

Tail wagging the dog.

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TalRussell 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Yes, yes fair say even comrade Englishman's the Duke, formerly King Edward VIII of England, who served as Governor of the Colony of Out Islands from 1940 to 1945 colonial regime wasn't near as cruel from atop Mount Fitzwilliam towards the population, as the oppressive heavy-handed rule, tax and arrest Imperial red shirts forces, yes no?

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Bonefishpete 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Tal you romanticizing about the old days?

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Bonefishpete 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Arguing with a foreigner saying CBD without THC is legal in the Bahamas. She don't know about Fox Hill.

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