Mon | Aug 20, 2018

Bahamas mulls decriminalising marijuana

Published:Friday | January 12, 2018 | 11:54 AM

NASSAU,  Bahamas (CMC):
A movement is building in the Bahamas to decriminalise marijuana.

This follows a town-hall meeting held there by the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Regional Commission on Marijuana last week.

The initiative is one of several in  Caribbean countries, with some stakeholders eager to join other international communities and embrace the region’s marijuana culture.

The meeting is part of CARICOM’s mandate to ascertain public opinion in CARICOM member-countries on the issue.

The Commission was established by CARICOM leaders in 2014 with the objective being to conduct a rigorous enquiry into the social, economic, health and legal issues surrounding marijuana use in the Caribbean.

The Commission also seeks to determine whether there should be a change in the current drug classification of marijuana thereby making the drug more accessible for all types of usage and to recommend, if there is to be a reclassification, the legal and administrative conditions that shall apply to address the issues identified.

The Bahamas was the latest stop for the Commission with the most recent public consultations taking place in Guyana in November and Antigua and Barbuda last year.

The Bahamas meeting follows initiatives in Jamaica, St Kitts and Nevis and other Caribbean countries to explore marijuana decriminalisation.

Last year, the Jamaican government and tourism officials established the first official links to surging weed tourism, nearly two years after the country enacted legislation to ease penalties for possession of small amounts of marijuana.

“Cannabis-infused tourism has a place in Jamaica’s product mix, alongside all-inclusive resorts and mass tourism,” said Edmund Bartlett, Jamaica’s tourism minister.

In a  recent radio interview, the Prime Minister of St Kitts Nevis, Dr Timothy Harris, said his government was “ready for open dialogue with the relevant stakeholders on the issue of the decriminalisation of marijuana".