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Davis Declares: Make Weed Legal – And Plp Leader Wants Criminal Records Erased

Opposition Leader Philip ‘Brave’ Davis’ in the House of Assembly.

Photo: Shawn Hanna/Tribune Staff

Opposition Leader Philip ‘Brave’ Davis’ in the House of Assembly. Photo: Shawn Hanna/Tribune Staff

By MORGAN ADDERLEY

Tribune Staff Reporter

madderley@tribunemedia.net

OPPOSITION leader Philip Davis has confirmed his support for the decriminalisation of recreational marijuana as well as the immediate expunction of the records of those who have been convicted of possessing small amounts of the drug.

In an interview with The Tribune yesterday, the Progressive Liberal Party leader noted the protocols of decriminalisation have to be “worked out,” adding there should be laws in place to regulate marijuana use just as there is legislation regarding the use of alcohol.

Mr Davis’ comments came a week after PLP deputy leader Chester Cooper delivered a passionate speech in the House of Assembly where he expressed his own support of decriminalising small amounts of recreational marijuana and also called on the government to expunge the records of people convicted of possession of small amounts of the drug.

When asked if he agrees there should be a move to decriminalise recreational use of marijuana, Mr Davis said: “Yes. Once we understand all of the social implications and impact… And I think there are other things and protocols that go along with decriminalisation, which ought to be worked out and sorted [so] it doesn’t have any adverse effects on people, on society, et cetera.

“As you recall, I called for decriminalisation for medicinal use some time ago,” Mr Davis continued, adding he thinks recreational decriminalisation “should be phased in”.

“And of course, the saddling of our young people with criminal records has really proved a social challenge for our country, in that you have a huge group of young persons who cannot get into the mainstream [economy] of our society because of having been convicted of these small amounts of marijuana and usually in the context of their recreational use of it.”

When asked if their records should be expunged, Mr Davis answered in the affirmative.

He added the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act currently provides for expunction “after a period of time.” However Mr Davis said after decriminalisation comes about, he supports expunction with “no waiting period”.

“Yes,” he replied. “Yes…and/or, in fact the law permits expunction under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act but it’s after a period of time. I think the call is, once you move to decriminalise, at the same time we should move to expunction as opposed to what I call the ‘waiting period’, that’s provided for in the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act.

“That’s a period I think of six or seven years…the number isn’t in my head right now. But it’s a period of time after conviction that one’s record is expunged. But that period of time, I think what he’s saying is once decriminalisation comes along, there should be no waiting period, they should be expunged at the same time. “

Mr Davis added he supports this position.

When asked if he is calling for the complete decriminalisation of recreational marijuana or just small quantities, the PLP leader replied: “Those protocols have to be worked out. I mean like you say, small quantities versus on the whole, I mean what do you mean by whole?

“I think once I speak to, you speak to the decriminalisation of marijuana, that’s the whole,” he continued. “Now the difference is if you’re talking about persons who are going to continually flout the law — because even in decriminalisation of marijuana, there will be laws in place to regulate its use, just as we have laws that regulate the use of alcohol.”

Last July, Mr Davis issued a statement saying his party sympathises with those who have been affected by the country’s anti-drug laws. He also said the PLP is proposing the appointment of a review panel to make recommendations on the issue.

Last July a CARICOM committee released a report calling for the end of marijuana prohibition in the region.

Also last year, Public Domain released a poll which said 71 per cent of 998 Bahamian residents surveyed 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.

The Bahamas National Commission on Marijuana (BNCM) was also formed to “codify” Bahamians’ view on “all things related to marijuana” and make recommendations to the government on all positions concerning the drug.

The group has yet to report on its findings.

Comments

joeblow 1 year, 3 months ago

The dumbing down of this nation continues to yield outstandingly positive results so far, why not speed things along right?

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Well_mudda_take_sic 1 year, 3 months ago

Yesterday Davis was taking issue with our court system's derisory maximum fine of $10,000 for those found to be guilty in causing the death of another in a road traffic incident (accident). Now he wants to put clouded pot heads on our already perilous roads to drive along side those who drive while in a drunken stupor. This scoundrel Davis just wants to capitalize on the close connections he has developed over the years with king pins in the marijuana smuggling cartels throughout the Caribbean. Davis is as despicable as they come, bar none!

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proudloudandfnm 1 year, 3 months ago

Damn. I might have to vote PLP next election.....

LEGALIZE IT AND STOP WASTING TIME....

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Sickened 1 year, 3 months ago

This is the only sensible thing that has ever come out of this fool's pie hole.

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geostorm 1 year, 3 months ago

Seriously, legalize it for recreational use to have more empty heads walking around! If you think we have a problem with our young men now, watch and see what happens when you legalize marijuana. Marijuana impairs judgement and many of these young people lack judgement without it's use so imagine with it's use!

I do agree, however, that if we are using it for medicinal purposes, under the supervision of a licensed medical professional, then we can legalize it.

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Well_mudda_take_sic 1 year, 3 months ago

It is now well known, in fact proven within the medical research community, that heavy pot smoking is a common triggering mechanism for many permanent psychosis disorders including schizophrenia. Only a dumb ass would be a heavy pot smoker today, especially given the bio-engineering now being done to increase potency to harmful levels. If you need it for medical reasons, take it in prescribed liquid form. Buying and smoking it from any 'ole supplier is a rolling of the dice that could prove to be permanently damaging to one's brain. And heaven knows, we have enough zombies as it is walking around in our society.

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proudloudandfnm 1 year, 2 months ago

There would be a seriously minimal increase in usage if its legalized. Everybody smokes already... Lol...

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Dawes 1 year, 3 months ago

Hurry up and legalise it. Whilst i don't smoke it, i know plenty that do and the idea that these young kids can have their life destroyed by being thrown in jail for a little spliff (which most did at a young age), is stupid (of course only those from poor areas will be put in jail, if you rich you will get off).

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ThisIsOurs 1 year, 3 months ago

It's very odd to me that the initiatives guaranteed to numb our brains to oblivion are the ones being pushed forward by govt and that's "govt" in general. Carnival, strip joints, gambling and marijuana. Perfect straregy for a dependent society. And we go down the road whining happy to be lobotomized

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