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Marijuana ambitions damaged if too hasty

By YOURI KEMP

Tribune Business Reporter

ykemp@tribunemedia.net

A marijuana advocate is warning that ambitions to develop medical marijuana and industrial hemp industries could be endangered if “long overdue” legislation is not implemented effectively.

Terry Miller, chairman of the Bahamas Cannabis Research Institute (BACARI), told Tribune Business that industry stakeholders and the public need to provide feedback on the Bill after it is vetted by the Davis Cabinet but before it goes to Parliament.

“They have some people who don’t know anything about the marijuana industry. Well, some of them are still learning. But they should, if you want the best legislation, get a wide cross-section of your populace to give feedback,” Mr Miller said. “If they make a mistake, and they go ahead and do this legislation, and it’s not in the best interest of the Bahamian people, it’s going to come back to haunt them. It is also going to cost us three to five years to fix it.”

Senator Ryan Pinder, the attorney general, said draft legislation to regulate a legalised cannabis industry in The Bahamas is expected to go before Cabinet some time this month. He had originally promised by the end of March, but admitted delays in drafting the legislation.

“I hope the plan is the Cabinet can put out a White Paper for circulation and for us to talk about it,” Mr Miller said. “I like the idea of a hemp farm, and I like the idea of medicinal marijuana. I think anything with medicine is within the best interest of people’s health.

“I would really ask the Cabinet to consider presenting that legislation to the public before they take it to Parliament. There’s so many different examples of marijuana laws around the world, and also in the US. There is so much to learn from. We have about 30 different people in our group who have specialities, and some people in our group that specialise in industrial hemp that have done the training in manufacturing industrial hemp products.

“For the doctors that are interested in medical marijuana, we have people in our group who are masters who will look at the legislation as it relates to legalisation.

Mr Miller said he is gravely concerned about an expanding black market for marijuana if the Government decides to decriminalise small amounts of the drug without providing for licences for legal distributors. “You have to provide licences for marijuana sellers or else it would be useless, and the kids will just go to the black market for marijuana. We need to protect the kids on this,” he added.

“If you legalise medicinal marijuana, and you decriminalise personal use and say you can have an ounce now on your person, but you don’t legalize the sale of it, where do people get it from? They get it from the black market, that’s where.

“The black market is the biggest problem that I have. Because, in the black market, the children are not protected. They’re not protected now that it’s illegal. If we can eliminate the black market by paying those persons who are now in the black market and legalise them, just like we legalised gambling in this country, we would be able to deal with that.”

Comments

carltonr61 2 months, 4 weeks ago

Decriminalization of Marijuana does not mean advertising and advocating its use. It's use is already endemic but rightly legal structures need to be put in place to ban its use for those under 21 years of age as evidence prove challenges to the decision making Frontal Lobe of the brain. The organized defanging of gangs finances will reduce the numbers of young drug soldiers adding to our murder rate. But to capitalize on a market that is ready made to collect taxes that is now non existent is a good financial strategy. Yes gov cannot sledge hammer legalization as it did gambling without public health as a priority. The regulation of Marijuana csusing slight physical and mental harms to the fetus during pregnancy should be addressed. The Bahamas could never compete with Canada's Marijuana production in terms of packaging, certifying of purity standards, education and health filters through the PHA to ask questions and give advise. That will take years and training but it must begin sooner than later. High School education on Marijuana harms based on evidencial facts must also be carried out, as of now, students don't smoke. The USA though will legalize Marijuana to give its farmers a export market. Potency of Bahama Grown with Certifications for use is not financially feasible at this time. But one day the higher taxing of imported certified will give growers here a part of the medical market.

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