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A Comic's View: Connect The Dots On Marijuana Legislation

By INIGO 'NAUGHTY' ZENICAZELAYA

PRIME Minister Minnis seems to be in the zone these days, in regards to legalising and decriminalising marijuana, both medicinally and recreationally here in the Bahamas.

So much so, it often makes me wonder,

Is ‘Doc’ really ‘down’ with the legalisation and decriminalisation of marijuana for the reasons he’s openly stated, far and wide through out the length and breadth of The Bahamas.

It seemed to be this past November, when PM Minnis offered these comments on the legalisation and decriminalisation: “Our laws regarding the possession of small amounts of marijuana have unfortunately led to the arrest, prosecution, conviction and punishment of many Bahamians.

“Some of these people have been burdened with criminal records, making travel and finding work more difficult. Reforming our marijuana laws and changing how we treat people with small possession convictions is a matter of social justice.”

Or does it have to do with his most recent comments regarding re-election, made at a rally last night held on the grounds of the Edmund Moxey Youth and Community Centre.

Elected representatives from the Bain and Grants Town, Mount Moriah, Fort Charlotte and St Barnabas constituencies spoke and attendees were entertained by Junkanoo groups.

Here’s what “Doc” had to say at the rally: “Tonight we start the launch of our victory train. We start here in our central zone and we will continue to our destiny. Government House will be the final spot in 2022. But as we move through the community we will be taking on more passengers.”

Connect the dots, people, persons who benefit from the legalisation and decriminalisation, especially those freed from incarceration along with their records being expunged are highly more likely to vote for their ‘deliverer’ (PM Minnis) than anybody else, despite their criticism of the Minnis administration.

Definitely something to ponder, Bahamas!

Anyhow, if Dr Minnis’ statements are genuine, I can’t believe I’m going to pen this next part, but nonetheless, here I go.

“Doc” may want to keep a keen eye on West Virginia. (Alleged generations of inbreeding and all).

Nonetheless, West Virginia, is doing a remarkable job in regards to the legalisation and decriminalisation of marijuana.

Their model offers several components that could be beneficial in our quest for the legalisation and decriminalisation of marijuana in The Bahamas.

West Virginia could be the latest state to relax its marijuana laws. Democratic lawmakers there are sending signals that they are ready.

One such legislator, state delegate Sammi Brown, said that she intends to re-introduce a version of a bill she offered up in last year’s session that aims to “normalize” cannabis.

“What if we had something that put a big green light out there, no pun intended, that said come on home, and this might be it,” Brown said, on WOWK.

According to the station, the new bill “will focus on criminal justice reforms and de-stigmatizing cannabis by expunging certain possession charges and work towards non-criminal adult use,” with Brown’s ultimate hope of luring people to West Virginia.

Brown’s Bill the “Normalisation of Cannabis Act,” would have, among other things, allowed adults aged 21 and older to “use, grow, possess, transport, and give away cannabis and homemade cannabis products,” so long as it was strictly for personal use.

It is unclear whether Brown’s new legislation will retain all of the same provisions as last year’s proposal.

What is clear is that the forthcoming bill will face opposition in West Virginia’s legislature, where both chambers are controlled by Republicans.

GOP delegate Tom Fast told WOWK that “to just simply say something is no longer going to be illegal I think is very imprudent, if we were going to take that route, why wouldn’t we just decriminalise heroin and any other drug”.

West Virginia legalised medical cannabis in 2017, though the law’s rollout was beset by a number of regulatory delays.

States throughout the country have turned toward decriminalisation and outright legalisation of marijuana.

This year, a number of states — from South Dakota to New York, will consider whether to become the latest to legalise recreational pot use.

In West Virginia, some Democrats like Brown are amenable to moving in that direction, as well.

Democrat Tim Miley, the minority leader in West Virginia’s House of Delegates, said this week that he has called on state Commerce Secretary Ed Gaunch, a Republican, to study the potential economic impact of legal weed.

“We don’t know so why wouldn’t we want to know that number and that data to drive our decision-making,” Miley Metro news a local news organisation in West Virginia. “Number 2, clearly, other states are getting on board with that.”

Eleven states, most recently Illinois, have lifted the prohibition on recreational pot use—a dramatic shift that began in 2012, when voters in Colorado and Washington approved legalisation proposals at the ballot box.

Numerous other island nations in our hemisphere, have already legalised or are in the process of legalising and decriminalising marijuana.

Not to mention Eleven states, most recently Illinois, have lifted the prohibition on recreational marijuana use—a dramatic shift that began in 2012, when voters in Colorado and Washington approved legalisation proposals at the ballot box.

Until next week, stay awake!

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