The Bahamas National Commission of Marijuana is asking the public their views on the issue of marijuana. Co-chair Bishop Simeon Hall stated that the committee is expected to release a survey soon to gauge public opinion on the matter. “Bahamians from all over The Bahamas will be able to make an input.”
The survey, which will be made available on a dedicated website, will be launched sometime this week. In addition to the digital survey, the committee will hold town meetings in the coming weeks in Exuma, Eleuthera, Grand Bahamas, and New Providence.
Hall added this issue, “calls for national consultation. This calls for national dialogue and that is what many of the Caribbean countries have done.”
The Marijuana Commission, comprised of 24 members, is examining how The Bahamas should address the issue of marijuana and will make recommendations to the government. They are looking at the social, economic, health, and legal issues surrounding marijuana in the region.
The Regional Commission on Marijuana, established by CARICOM, presented a report to them expressing views that in a regulated framework marijuana should be treated the same as tobacco and alcohol. The issue of whether or not marijuana should be decriminalized has been on CARICOM’s agenda.
The Marijuana Commission is comprised of six subcommittees tasked at looking at the various aspects of the substances potential use. This includes medicinal, ceremonial, recreational, commercial, and industrial.
After gathering opinions from the public survey and holding meetings, the Commission expects to have a preliminary draft done by April. It’s unknown when their final position will be made known to the public.
The issue of marijuana has been a hot topic around the globe for the past few years. In the United States, over 33 states have legalized medical cannabis, with many others decriminalizing it. Some states have even fully legalized recreational use. Canada recently legalized the substance in July 2018.
In the Caribbean, only a few nationals have moved to decriminalize and legalize marijuana so far. Jamaica, historically associated with the drug, has decriminalized recreational use and legalized medicinal marijuana. Only Belize and Antigua and Barbuda have decriminalized the substance.
If The Bahamas does legalize marijuana, they stand to make a decent amount of money. According to a regional commission report, if marijuana were legalized the Bahamas could see around $5 million from its sale. That number could be far greater if medicinal marijuana were regulated and sold as well.
Residents of the Bahamas should take this opportunity to make their views known. The survey should go live any day now. It’s unknown how long it will take before an official report will be released, but preliminary sentiments about marijuana should be known next month.