COMMISSIONER of Police Paul Rolle.
By Earyel Bowleg
Tribune Staff Reporter
COMMISSIONER of Police Paul Rolle made it clear on Friday those found with “dope” will get locked up until the law changes as possession of the substance is still illegal today.
His warning came after Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis announced on Wednesday that the government will next year begin expunging records of those convicted for the possession of small amounts of marijuana.
While at Englerston Park, Mr Rolle emphasised the commissioner of police is answerable to the law and once the law is changed then one wouldn’t be criminal anymore.
“I believe that possession of marijuana, next year it’s still going to be illegal,'' the commissioner told reporters. “You have to look at what the recommendation says. It’s only specifics that will be exempted. It’s not that everybody will be able to go out and puff a joint - that will still be illegal.
“Once it reaches that point, parliament will of course have to pass legislation to amend the Dangerous Drug Act or create a new expungement act. Right now, we have the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act. So I don’t know which course they are going to take but whatever I’m answerable to it.”
Earlier this year, the Bahamas National Commission on Marijuana recommended that possession of up to one ounce of the substance be decriminalised for people over 21. Recently, the Economic Recovery Committee (ERC) recommended that up to two ounces of marijuana be made legal for personal use in The Bahamas.
Yet, it has not been revealed by the current administration how much of a “small amount” possession of marijuana is constituted.
However, Dr Minnis revealed the government is also reviewing the possible legalisation of the hemp industry and will update the public following “greater public consultation”.
Apart from this, the prime minister also previously announced the government's intention to extend the country’s state of emergency until November 30.
Mr Rolle maintained the police are prepared to carry out whatever the mandate is.