By AVA TURNQUEST
Tribune Chief Reporter
FORMER Cabinet minister Brent Symonette has ruled out the possibility of a business venture in cannabis for him or his children if the government moves to end prohibition.
Mr Symonette told The Tribune he supported the track to cannabis reform outlined by CARICOM after watching his father’s slow and painful death from cancer.
“Absolutely not,” he said when asked whether he would consider getting into the industry.
“I’m not against other people using it for medical or whatever reasons.
“No plans, nor my children, not the lottery, not the gaming,” he also said, shooting down speculation he would join the domestic gaming sector.
CARICOM’s Regional Marijuana Commission (RMC) report, released last year, calls for a strictly regulated framework for marijuana, akin to that for alcohol and tobacco - bringing an end to the prohibition of marijuana for the entire region.
The Bahamas National Commission on Marijuana—tasked with codifying Bahamian views on the matter—was recently granted a three-month extension to complete its work after missing its April deadline.
Mr Symonette said he did not think the commission was moving too slow on the matter.
“When government becomes assertive you say they’re ramming it down your throat,” he said, during a recent interview.
“I personally think (legalisation is the way to go) within certain constraints. But one of the things my wife and I have talked a lot about is - with alcohol if you’re driving impaired it’s a very easy test. How do you deal with that question of impairment when driving? There’s those issues but my father died of cancer and I watched a slow death, and to keep people out of pain, why not?
“I believe in assisted suicide too for those reasons,” Mr Symonette continued.
“When I was in the Attorney General’s Office, I would always push for… you get a guy caught with one joint on a cruise ship, why do you take him off a cruise ship and put him in our jails? Why do we get the fella who’s smoking a joint or whatever—now 100 pounds (should be treated differently) - and why should those people (with minor possession) have a record? So I think we should do a lot in that area.”