ATTORNEY General Ryan Pinder. (File photo)
By LYNAIRE MUNNINGS
DESPITE promises from the Davis administration to present the marijuana legalisation to Parliament before the end of the year, Attorney General Ryan Pinder said yesterday that this is “not likely”.
Mr Pinder said the government is still working on the proposed legislation, however, he was unable to give a definite timeline.
“It is coming along well. Just some technical aspects we have to work through,” he told The Tribune yesterday.
In July, Prime Minister Philip “Brave” Davis said by the end of the year Bahamians will know the direction his administration intends to take when it comes to cannabis legalisation.
“The issue of marijuana and the legalisation of marijuana, what aspect of it is going to be legalised, is under active consideration by my administration,” Mr Davis said.
“One would have noted in our Blueprint for Change that we did acknowledge that medicinal use of marijuana is acceptable to us. It’s a question of whether we’re going to move as far as recreational marijuana, but we’re in the process and you would’ve heard the Attorney General indicate that he will be coming to Cabinet very shortly with legislation for Cabinet to have a view on where we go from there.
“But by the end of this year you’ll know exactly where we’re heading and so far as investors are concerned that’s our mantra of the Progressive Liberal Party is Bahamians first and I expect Bahamians to be involved in that business,” Mr Davis said at the time.
In June, Mr Pinder said the Davis administration intended to advance comprehensive legislation to regulate a medical cannabis industry and a separate framework for industrial hemp. At the time, he said this would be done in the first six months of the fiscal year, meaning by the end of 2022.
Rastafarian priest Rithmond McKinney told this newspaper yesterday that he was still awaiting word from the government on the issue, however he was optimistic that the legislation will be presented this month.
He said he will “humbly” wait to see what transpires in the weeks to come.
“I hope they (the government) do it before the year ends, as this is the last month in the year and they did say before the year out,” he said yesterday. “I did hear that this month they (the government) will make sure do it, so I’m just waiting to hear from them. I hope they do.”
Mr McKinney, of the local Rastafarian Bobo Shanti tribe, had previously told this newspaper that despite the pace of the process, he is thankful that things are moving in the right direction regarding marijuana reform.
“It’s a positive step in the right direction concerning marijuana. But (at) the same time they can’t forget about fundamental constitutional rights as Rastafarians,” he had said.