ATTORNEY General Ryan Pinder.
By LEANDRA ROLLE
Tribune Staff Reporter
ATTORNEY General Ryan Pinder said legislation for marijuana legalisation is nearly completed however, he was unable to provide a timeline as to when it will be presented to Parliament.
After assuming office, the Davis administration promised to present the marijuana legalisation to Parliament before the end of 2022, but that deadline was ultimately missed.
When asked for an update yesterday, Mr Pinder told reporters that draft laws to decriminalise marijuana were just about complete.
He said there were several matters with the proposed legislation that the government was addressing based on recommendations it received from health officials and other stakeholders.
“Well, the suite of legislation has been prepared. It’s been finalised,” Mr Pinder told reporters outside the Office of the Prime Minister. “It has been handed over to the Ministry of Health as the operative ministry since it is a medical cannabis regime. They have done their review of the legislation (and) come back with some technical questions which we are addressing.
“We have also had our external consultants review the full suite of legislation. They have likewise come back with some input and some questions and some recommendations that we are incorporating in the suite. So, we’re near complete.”
In June, Mr Pinder said that the government intended to advance comprehensive legislation to regulate a medical cannabis industry and a separate framework for industrial hemp.
Asked when the bill is expected to be presented in Parliament, Mr Pinder could not say.
“That is part of the Cabinet agenda and the Cabinet will decide that,” he replied when asked about the matter. “I am only one of 22.”
With respect to the country’s citizenship laws, Mr Pinder said the government is awaiting the Privy Council’s decision concerning a landmark Supreme Court ruling on the issue.
In 2021, the Court of Appeal affirmed a Supreme Court decision that Bahamian men can automatically pass citizenship to their children regardless of whether their child is born out of wedlock to non-Bahamian mothers.
The government later appealed the court’s decision to the Privy Council and the matter is still pending.
“As you know, there’s a Privy Council matter that was recently argued on this matter and it’s only appropriate that we allow the high court of the land to have their review as something as important to the national interest of citizenship before the government is in a position to advance the legislative regime,” the senator said.
“We thought that was the appropriate thing to do and so, we await the court decision,” he added.
Currently, children born outside of the country to a married Bahamian woman and a foreign man are not automatically granted Bahamian citizenship and thus must apply to receive it.
Bahamian men who have children with foreign women out of wedlock also cannot automatically pass on citizenship to their children.