The Bahamas has introduced a package of legislation to decriminalize cannabis for medical, research and religious purposes and establish a legal medical marijuana industry.
The legislation, totaling 11 bills, would establish a framework for local cannabis production to meet demand and foster economic opportunities, the Office of the Prime Minister said in the announcement.
The move comes almost three years after the country’s Economic Recovery Committee called for the establishment of a regulatory body to oversee businesses engaged in the production, wholesale and retail of a potential cannabis industry.
The Bahamas government said the “central component” of the 11 proposed measures is Cannabis Bill 2023, which would establish a legal framework for local marijuana cultivation to address medical demand and create economic opportunities for the country.
The draft legislation’s primary goals are to decriminalize cannabis for medical and therapeutic use and to “bring relief to Bahamian patients facing various chronic and painful diseases and conditions,” according to the announcement.
Cannabis Bill 2023 would also have economic benefits.
It would establish a licensing system for:
- Retail distribution.
- Analytical testing.
The proposed laws would mean most of the local businesses would remain Bahamian-owned.
Foreign investors would be eligible to own up to 70% in a business related to analytical testing, manufacturing and research.
However, all other licenses, including cultivation and retail, would be reserved for 100% Bahamian-owned businesses.
The government plans to create a Cannabis Authority to oversee the regulation of the marijuana industry.