A refined draft bill to lay the legal groundwork for a regulated adult-use cannabis regime in Bermuda will soon be presented to the island’s legislature, Attorney-General Kathy Lynn Simmons said in a ministerial statement to the Senate.
That puts the British island territory among a small group of countries where the establishment of a regulated industry for recreational marijuana is under active consideration.
Bermuda recently concluded monthlong public consultations over the proposed law and policy document outlining how a regulated cannabis market would look on the island.
The proposal is a major pivot from the government’s previous plan to establish a medical industry. That plan was scrapped after it was concluded it “did not go far enough to meet public expectation,” the attorney-general said.
The public was asked to share views on the newest proposal between June and July.
“By-and-large, the contributions can generally be described as supporting the initiative,” Simmons said in the Senate late last month.
“There were less than a handful of persons wholly against a regulated Cannabis regime as proposed.”
Bermuda’s government already announced policy changes to the proposed law in response to “overwhelming” public demand.
Some of those changes would have implications for businesses, including:
- A provision allowing cannabis purchased at a licensed store to be consumed within that premises, or at the purchaser’s private residence.
- Approving a new category of license that allows personal cultivation.
- Removing restrictions banning licensed activities within a half-mile of a school or place of worship.
More feedback from the consultations is “being analyzed to assess if there are any emergent policy recommendations requiring Cabinet’s approval,” the attorney-general said.
The refined bill is going to be brought to the legislature “shortly,” she added.
Some of the topics being reviewed by the government include:
- Changes to the specifics of the newly proposed personal cultivation license, including a limit on the number of plants per household.
- Formalizing a program so some of the licenses will benefit disadvantaged groups.
- Expunging criminal records for cannabis possession convictions of less than 7 grams.
- Reexamining license fees for businesses, to “strike the right balance” and achieve participation for marginalized groups.
“Bermuda has certainly been abuzz with chatter about all things cannabis,” the attorney-general said in the statement.
Matt Lamers is Marijuana Business Daily’s international editor, based near Toronto. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.