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Davis: Why Take So Long Over Marijuana Legislation?

PLP Leader Philip "Brave" Davis.

PLP Leader Philip "Brave" Davis.

By KHRISNA RUSSELL

Tribune Chief Reporter

krussell@tribunemedia.net

PROGRESSIVE Liberal Party Leader Philip Brave Davis said the Minnis administration should have already addressed the issue of legalising marijuana and expunging the records of people who were convicted for possessing small amounts.

He also said the marijuana industry could yield a significant contribution to the country’s gross domestic product, in turn delivering a boost to the economy.

However, he said the government will simply have to ensure the industry is properly regulated.

His comments came yesterday amid continued discussions in the nation over the need for other viable industries as tourism, the economic driver, has taken a blow due to COVID-19.

“We recognise that the marijuana industry could yield a significant contribution to our GDP and we will welcome that,” Mr Davis said in response to a question from The Tribune during a press conference at the party’s headquarters on Farrington Road.

“We just have to ensure that it’s properly regulated and legalisation of it in our administration would be properly regulated to ensure that there are no abuses or ill consequences with its implementation.”

Mr Davis said the matter should have already been addressed.

“The time has long passed for us to address this issue of legalisation of marijuana and expunging the record of persons who would have had a record for small amounts.

“That would be something that the Progressive Liberal Party embrace(s).

“That is something that we urge the government to do as quickly as possible that they ought to by now now lived up to their promise to that segment of our demographic who have been saddled with records for convictions for small amounts of marijuana that is inhibiting and prohibiting their ability to be full participants in our country, particularly in the workplace.”

The Bahamas Marijuana Commission said it was resuming its work in August with co-chair Quinn McCartney admitting it would be challenging to fully decriminalise the substance in two years even though “low-hanging fruits” like medical marijuana can be legalised in that time.

The commission held its first meeting since March almost two months ago.

“I didn’t think any of us anticipated the pandemic effects would’ve been so long-lasting,” Mr McCartney told The Tribune at the time.

“When the pandemic came, we thought it was prudent to pause to get over that first wave. We were sort of in abeyance waiting for the right opportunity to reconvene. We’ve done so now because of increased interest in our work and perhaps possible benefits of our recommendations.”

Before the COVID-19 crisis, Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis said he wanted to decriminalise medical and small amounts of recreational marijuana by the end of this term.

Asked about that timeline, Mr McCartney said: “We presented a report that can be implemented in phases and so I think there are some things that can be done. The medical marijuana, that’s a low hanging fruit that can certainly be dealt with. I think the biggest challenge will be putting in the regulatory framework and making sure agencies are in place to ensure things are done properly. People will have to be hired, some will have to be trained, an office will have to be located and then there’s the whole licensing process. These things will take time but certainly if the will is there, I think there is a sufficient template out there to guide us and certainly some of the more low-hanging fruits can be done. It can be done in phases but there might be too much to do at one time.”

Mr McCartney said at the top of the commission’s agenda is discussing how to get to the finish line and complete a promised survey on the attitudes of Bahamians toward marijuana.

Comments

DDK 1 week, 5 days ago

PLP will have a record turnout of voters come blue thumb day!! Hope the man remembers half the things he has said while in opposition when the government tag team takes over next go round😂😃😂

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Topdude 1 week, 5 days ago

This is bad news. The use of marijuana is dangerous and will destroy our youth who are the future of our nation. Do not decriminalize this gateway drug and contribute to our nation becoming a gateway country for drugs exportation. While it appears to be politically popular in some quarters the facts from the medical experts do not support the decriminalization of this dangerous drug. Look for an increase in diabetes and obesity if this drug becomes easily available.

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Newgate 1 week, 4 days ago

While i would never bother with the drug myself, i won't sit here and allow what you just said to go unchallenged. Assuming it's properly regulated there won't be a massive case of drug exportation. Your comment about looking for an increase in diabetes and obesity is also wrong. There have been several studies that show weed helps keep sugar levels in control. I know someone who got legally blind due to diabetes. His sugar was always up in the 300+ range because the idiot didn't want to take meds. He had no choice when his eyesight started to go but still the pills the doctors gave only had minimal effect and they were getting ready to put him on insulin. He held off on it and with one last hoorah, he started smoking weed. Guess what happened after a month? normal blood sugar levels. It's it's been normal ever since, with the doctors taking him off the pills he was on previously Also note that the guy has a killer sweet tooth and hasn't stopped he still shoves chocolates down his gullet and his blood sugar levels never go above 145 or so . you say Weed causes Obesity? the same guy i talked about previously was like 250 pounds, after a year of weed he was at 198. Not saying weed helps you lose weight (granted i've only seen VERY few people who use the drug being overweight) but it sure as hell doesn't increase it.

It's also an effective pain killer, for some pain killers don't work well but weed knocker the pain right out. There is a reason why all over the world the stigma of weed is dying down. People are realizing that it's not as bad as they thought. If you want to have it illegal, then it should be pushed to have alcohol and sugar illegal as well cos those kill and make people sick WAY more than weed.

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hrysippus 1 week, 5 days ago

use of marijuana has killed no one, ever. use of alcohol has killed untold multitudes and inflicted untold abuse on victims of abuse. refined sugar intake has caused untold misery to hundreds of thousands of diabetics and morbidly obese people. Let's get our priorities straight . Legalize marijuana and save lives. ignore the rants of the uninformed.

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DRIVER31 1 week, 4 days ago

I'm for it- and against it in a way....I can agree with the whole legalisation to help expunge the records of persons swept up haphazardly in the "justice system". There are so many cases where persons attain this stain on their record and lose their job, or lose out on opportunities of advancement of their personal or professional lives. TBH Alcohol is WORSE THAN MARIJUANA in the way that you could drink yourself to death in one night. However should a person be interested in trying Marijuana for the first time and decides to drive, this could have the same effect where they could cause a serious accident and may die or injure others on the road. However, in the same light there are laws in place that condemn operating a vehicle while intoxicated with a LEGAL ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGE. Your concern about the youth is unfounded because i knew children when i was a child that could, and did, drink 5 guinness in one sitting, that are quite successful now in life.

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bahamianson 1 week, 4 days ago

wow, still playing politics? The world is in chaos and mayhem , and you are talking about weed . This is not the time and place for this conversation. Very insensitive.

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Kalikgold 1 week, 4 days ago

I don't agree with much Brave says, but I emphatically support this. Brave for PM!

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joeblow 1 week, 4 days ago

The gullible love to be pandered to and will easily forfeit their vote, not understanding that their intelligence is being insulted. People will vote on that one issue alone and will wake up five years later wondering what happened to the treasury and why learning Mandarin is necessary!!

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