Bahama community demands representation in cannabis legislation

Local stakeholders demanding representation in the government’s move to regulate marijuana usage in the country are urging the government to amend its proposed legislation to be more inclusive. Last week, an early draft version of the government’s Medicinal Cannabis Bill, 2021, and the Dangerous Drugs (Amendment) Bill, 2021 was leaked to the media.

The prime minister has said the bill that was leaked is not the final version, signaling the bill has been revised to include dispensaries as one of the distribution sites for cannabis – a provision that would see greater Bahamian participation and ownership.

Priest Rithmond McKinney, head of the Ethiopia Africa Black International Congress Bahamas branch, said the government needs to amend several things in the legislation to make room for marijuana usage in religious sacraments. “We ain’t see nothing in it for us as the Rastafarian community. In general, it needs to be looked at differently and things need to be amended,” he said.

He pointed to the Bahamas National Commission on Marijuana’s recommendation to implement cannabis legalization for religious use, adding: “We wonder why the back-pedaling now”. McKinney said there’s simply nothing in the bill for Rastafarians. 

Legal battle
Local attorneys have also taken legal action to seek to get rights on behalf of their Rastafarian clients as it relates to marijuana usage. Noted attorney Wayne Munroe has begun an action in the Supreme Court seeking to have all criminal convictions related to Rastafarian possession, cultivation and supply of Indian Hemp since 1963 wiped out.

Read more at EyeWitness News.

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