'Marijuana Will Boost Economy': Commission Report Says Drug Has Huge Business Potential


Tribune Staff Reporter


THE Bahamas National Commission on Marijuana has endorsed the economic potential of a cannabis industry in The Bahamas as robust. 

The commission’s report notes that wages in the sector are among the highest in the world, with starting wages for workers being $15 an hour and “a master grower’s” salary starting from around $100,000 annually.

“Whilst many Bahamians will need to be adequately trained to be growers, this profession is very doable and practical livelihood for many,” the draft preliminary report, which was leaked to the media, says.

“The equity component proposed will ensure the country sees the full benefit of this economic possibility. Globally there has been a complete lockout of people of colour and lower socio-economic status. Interestingly, the population that is locked out is also the population that took the blunt of the blow on the war on drugs.”

The report says licensing fees, real estate, employment, an equity programme and taxation are areas that would produce direct economic effects from legalisation and creation of a cannabis industry for medicinal and/or recreational use. It is recommended that the Bahamas have ownership of the industry, with 51 percent ownership by Bahamians in private companies and no more than 49 percent ownership staged from foreign companies. The commission recommends that a cannabis tax not exceed ten percent, arguing that over-taxation would foster a black market.

The commission has recommended that recreational cannabis be permitted for adults over 21 years and medicinal cannabis for adults over 18. It recommends that a committee of people with knowledge of medicine determine who can cultivate cannabis for medicinal use. Those permitted would be allowed to cultivate up to five mature plants. 

The report also notes that more than 1,000 people discharged from the Sandilands Rehabilitation Centre from 2014 to 2018 had a primary diagnosis of marijuana use.

During that period the numbers gradually increased, from 139 in 2014; 167 in 2015; 204 in 2016; 240 in 2017 and 278 in 2018.

The 278 people primarily diagnosed with marijuana use in 2018 represented 26.2 percent of all discharged patients from the centre.

The statistics also show 465 people, or 43.8 percent of all patients discharged from the centre during that period, had at least a secondary diagnosis of marijuana usage.

On the other hand, the number of discharged inpatients with either a primary or secondary diagnosis of marijuana usage declined from 143 in 2014 to 91 in 2018.

According to the report, 6,809 people were arrested for possession of cannabis/marijuana products from 2014 to 2018.

This includes 4,280 people for possession, 2,452 for possession with intent to supply, 57 for cultivation, two for having marijuana capsules, 11 for having baked goods, five for importation and two for conspiracy to import.

Quinn McCartney, BNCM co-chairman, said yesterday the commission has not finalised its preliminary report. When contacted, Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis also stressed that the draft report was not final and had not yet been presented to Parliament. He told this newspaper that the final report would be tabled in Parliament, adding his administration was investigating to see who leaked the document prematurely. 

Last month, Dr Minnis said he favours decriminalising possession of small amounts of marijuana and making the substance legal for medicinal and/or scientific purposes. Becoming the first sitting prime minister to publicly support some form of marijuana decriminalisation, he said he hopes the decriminalisation process will happen before the end of this term.


Walla 1 year, 5 months ago

Now we talking, make money and lower cost. Use a plant to bring in prosperity.


joeblow 1 year, 5 months ago

I was talking to a young man about money matters several days ago. During our discussion I found out that he smoked on average about $10 worth of marijuana daily. I explained that equated to a little over $3000 per year. He had been smoking for about 10 years so I asked if he had $30,000 in the bank to which he naturally answered no. Naturally , he had never given these things much thought. He seemed to be enlightened when I further explained that if he only saved his 'grass' money over the next 10 years he could have $30,000 saved. This goes for all other vices as well.

The only thing these vices do is transfer wealth from the poor to further consolidate wealth in the hands of a few. The ignorant get high and low paying jobs, the wealthy get their money! After all the ones with these habits are usually the ones who can least afford them!


Sickened 1 year, 5 months ago

Thank god for the ignorant for without them money wouldn't circulate as quickly as it does. Just like man needs to eat, business needs people who spend all of their money instead of saving it.


ThisIsOurs 1 year, 5 months ago

Amen. I'm always amazed that people are so excited about these things that are potentially destructive.. alcohol will be available for sale on Sunday's!!! yay!!!...gambling...drugs...yay!!!.I'm also positive prostitution is next. And I wouldn't put it past some enterprising baron to be sitting down plotting the easiest way to get money out of the people in the inner city.


DWW 1 year, 5 months ago

making it illegal does absolutely nothing to prevent it. get off your high horse man. History Does Not Lie go read a book.


geostorm 1 year, 5 months ago

Wow, so sad! Many of our young lack vision. Many are just existing.


DWW 1 year, 5 months ago

vice knows no gender, class or race dont convolute the issue. the only truth in your statement is that the less money you have the less you can afford a vise. But to say that making something legal or illegal will change people is naive and silly at best. for the past 60 years marajuana has been illegal and the only thing it has acheived is putting young men with little means behind bars, while the wealthier who get caught can avoid the jail time. it is a gross inequality that you sir are happy to perpetuate.


Godson 1 year, 5 months ago

This proposition to legalize marijuana is STUPID and represent a shortcut and cop out rather than address the greater problem. It is action born out of ignorance. It should not be entertained. This is what you get when persons are in positions of power and are cowardice and driven by greed. They are lazy and refuse to thoroughly research the matter, confront and address the root cause for the discomfort in our Country.


buddah17 1 year, 5 months ago

And where are the research results that support this theory...?


DWW 1 year, 5 months ago

if your are so enlightened, please share the Root cause. I'm sitting here waiting. Perhaps we need more for profit churches and more pastors to leach the cash?


SP 1 year, 5 months ago

DUH!....These clowns took MONTHS to conclude what most of the world concluded AND implemented years ago?

They need to stop the brainstorming charade and get on with it already.

Legalize the dam stuff, clear people's police records caught with personnel use amounts, make room in Fox Hill for serious offenders, free those in prison for stupid small amounts and join the U.S. Jamaica, Canada and everywhere else in producing pot as a cash crop.

What the hell are they pondering?


TheMadHatter 1 year, 5 months ago

One of the silliest articles this year. What do they mean they "endorse" the economic potential. The economic potential is already proven. That's like saying they "endorse" the money making potential of a whorehouse. We know it makes money, the question is whether or not we should legalize it.

Then you have the section on Sandilands diagnosing people with "marijuana use"? What the heck is that????? So I looked it up ...

"Cannabis abuse is a term describing the continued use of cannabis despite impairment in psychological, physical, or social functioning. It is an OUTDATED medical definition formerly used in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV-TR) which divided substance use from substance dependence."

I had no idea that Sandilands was being used as a pawn in this silly game.

Then you have the part where they suggest medical marijuana only be approved for people over 18 years. So children with cerebral palsy and other nervous disorders that cause seizures will just have to crawl on the floor and foam at the mouth. Too bad for them. They are only Bahamians, let them suffer. That seems to be the general rule in this country. If something will benefit a Bahamian (even a sick child) then they must put a stop to it.


The National Center for Biotechnology Information

Why are we getting new generators for BPL? We should outlaw all electricity and vehicles and computers in this country. They are benefiting Bahamians. Outlaw them right away.


TalRussell 1 year, 5 months ago

Yeah, no. Each and all advocating that only the legalization of medical marijuana become the law of the colony needs be shouted out by name. You Comrade Zacchaeus's, need be called out individually to climb down from whatever sycamore tree you've been climbing up to indulge whatever kinds Unidentified High Stimulate (UHS) you've been sniffing. You just can't make up, you just, can't that even the Queen's opposition leader is unsure why he sees need be speaking out for a no minimum age restriction medical marijuana?


ThisIsOurs 1 year, 5 months ago

If you check back you will see that this was never about "medical" marijuana. Medical marijuana was just a marketing tool, they pulled it out the hat after they got push back on legalization. Exactly like the gaming people talked about all the taxes they would pay, people they would employ, anti addiction programs they would have....it's all marketing


truetruebahamian 1 year, 5 months ago

I don't smoke this crap, never did, never will, but if it the plant can be used for USEFUL commercial benefit then I am for its weakened strain of crazy ass smoking but creative medicine, rope making which is biodegradeable and dump the nylon,ropes, fishing nets the shopping bags, and so much more.


Chucky 1 year, 5 months ago

“Marijuana Will Boost Economy': Commission Report Says Drug Has Huge Business Potential”

The title says it all. The economy they speak of, as always is the money passing through the elite guys hands.

Studies in every country with legal pot show no increase in usage once legalized.

So since we know people buy and smoke it now, how is it that the economy grows when legalized.

What they mean is they can put sales in a rich guys store, and put the small time street sales guy out of business.

The only major change noted with legalization is price increase and quality decrease.

I don’t use the stuff, but I fail to see why we need to change anything beyond legalization, let’s let the small man continue to sell instead of like the Canadian model where all production and sales are turned over to the corporate sector.


DWW 1 year, 5 months ago

So how much did this commission of inquiry cost the tax payers? just to say what is essentially commonsense? I'm still waiting for my invitation to be on the gov't payroll to spout commonsense.


Topdude 1 year, 5 months ago

This is a mistake. It will lead to the destruction of our Bahamaland. Stop this nonsense before it is too late.


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