High Priest Rithmond McKinney.
By LYNAIRE MUNNINGS
HIGH priest Rithmond McKinney said the Davis administration has not consulted with his community regarding their sacramental rights as officials move to finalise legislation that will regulate medical cannabis and industrial hemp industries.
In the Senate on Wednesday, Attorney General Ryan Pinder said the Davis administration intended to advance comprehensive legislation to regulate a medical cannabis industry and a separate framework for industrial hemp.
“We will advance a comprehensive suite of legislation on the regulation of cannabis, creating a new agribusiness industry in The Bahamas,” Mr Pinder said yesterday. “This legislation is internationally benchmarked against the countries around the world that are in this industry.
In response, high priest McKinney, of the local Rastafarian Bobo Shanti Tribe, said while this was a step in the right direction, the community remained hopeful that the government would come to the table to discuss the matter.
“Well we didn’t hear anything about our sacramental rights and I didn’t hear nothing concerning the rasta man and the rasta man Constitutional rights towards their sacrament,” he told The Tribune in an interview yesterday.
He also hopes the Davis administration will uphold recommendations made by the previous administration’s Bahamas National Commission on Marijuana.
“Well I hope that this administration has something to talk to us about, concerning how best they could work it out concerning our sacrament,” he said.
“So, we still are hoping to hear from them and see how best something can work out for the Rastafarian community. We were hoping to hear something concerning our sacramental rights and how they would go forward with implementing in our community, but, so far we still have hopes that something can be worked out.”
When asked by The Tribune, whether he was satisfied with the pace of the process, he said he is thankful that things are moving in the right direction, adding that it was something that could be used by all people.
“It’s a positive step in the right direction concerning marijuana. But the same time they can’t forget about fundamental constitutional rights as Rastafarians,” he said.
While there is no definite timeline for the proposed legislation, the attorney general has previously marked the end of summer as the timeframe for conclusion of the legislation.