Bahamas panel recommends marijuana and hemp legalization

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A Bahamas committee charged with laying out an economic recovery plan recommended the country legalize marijuana for recreational, medical and religious use.

The Economic Recovery Committee (ERC) called for the establishment of a regulatory body to oversee the authorization and enforcement for businesses engaged in the production, wholesale and retail of a potential cannabis industry.

The recommendations were part of a broader report presented to Prime Minister Hubert Minnis and his Cabinet for review.

Addressing the House of Assembly, Minnis called the country’s cannabis laws “outdated” and said they need to be changed.

Minnis said the government will not accept all the committee’s recommendations, but the prime minister did not specify which would not be considered.

He said the Bahamas government will start by expunging records of those convicted for the possession of “small amounts” of marijuana in 2021.

The prime minister also promised his government will review the possible legalization of a hemp industry.

Few details were disclosed, but Minnis said businesses would have to be Bahamian-owned or majority-Bahamian owned.

He said the next step is more consultation.

“There are potentially many opportunities for creative Bahamian businesspeople to get involved in this new industry,” he told the House of Assembly.

The ERC report went much further.

The report recommended the Bahamas:

  • Make government-owned land available for the cultivation of cannabis, with provisions for small-scale farmers and the Rastafarian community.
  • Allow for the possession of adult-use marijuana up to 2 ounces. Unsanctioned possession exceeding that limit should be punishable with a fine.
  • Provide for the licensure of cannabis cafes, resorts and guesthouses for on-premises consumption.
  • Exempt hemp and derivative products with minimal or no THC from regulatory limits.

The Economic Recovery Committee report is available here.

The Bahamas National Commission on Marijuana submitted its final report earlier this year.