The government of the Bahamas has recently introduced a set of bills with the intention of legalizing marijuana for medical and religious purposes, as well as decriminalizing possession of small amounts. This move aligns with the actions taken by several other Caribbean nations in pursuing progressive cannabis policies.
If these bills are approved, individuals found in possession of less than one ounce of marijuana would be subject to a relatively minor $250 fine without it being recorded on their criminal record. However, it is important to note that recreational use of marijuana would still remain illegal.
In order to ensure that the benefits of this industry are primarily directed towards the Bahamian population, licenses for cultivation, retail, transport, and religious use would only be granted to companies that are fully Bahamian owned. Meanwhile, licenses for research, testing, and manufacturing would be awarded to companies that have at least a 30% Bahamian ownership.
Attorney General Ryan Pinder emphasized that marijuana for religious purposes would only be allowed to be consumed on the premises of licensed organizations, placing importance on responsible and regulated usage.
To effectively oversee and regulate the cannabis industry, the government plans to establish a Cannabis Authority, which would be responsible for monitoring and enforcing compliance within the sector.
Public hearings are scheduled for September to gather input and opinions from various stakeholders. With proper deliberation and public engagement, it is anticipated that the necessary legislation could be approved before the start of the next year.
The Bahamas is not the only Caribbean nation taking progressive steps towards marijuana reform. Antigua has recently decriminalized marijuana for public use, while Jamaica has decriminalized possession of small amounts. Additionally, the U.S. Virgin Islands has authorized both recreational and sacramental use of cannabis.
As the Bahamas acknowledges the potential benefits of marijuana for medical and religious purposes, it joins its Caribbean counterparts in recognizing the need for progressive cannabis policies. By creating a regulated framework for the industry, the Bahamas is paving the way for a responsible and inclusive cannabis market that can benefit its citizens and contribute to the nation’s overall growth and development.
[Original Article for Rewrite: “The government of the Bahamas has unveiled several bills aimed at legalizing marijuana for medical and religious purposes and decriminalizing possession of small amounts, joining other Caribbean nations that have taken similar steps.
If approved, those caught with less than one ounce of marijuana would pay a $250 fine and the incident would not appear on their criminal record. Buying marijuana for recreational purposes would remain illegal.
Officials said licenses for cultivation, retail, transport and religious use would only be granted to companies that are entirely Bahamian owned. Licenses for research, testing and manufacturing would be awarded to companies that are at least 30% Bahamian owned.
Attorney General Ryan Pinder told reporters Thursday that marijuana for religious purposes could only be smoked on the premises of a licensed organization.
The government envisions creating a Cannabis Authority to regulate the industry.
Public hearings on the issue are scheduled for September, and legislation could be approved before next year.
Other Caribbean nations have relaxed their marijuana laws. Antigua decriminalized marijuana use for the general public. Jamaica also decriminalized small amounts of marijuana, while the U.S. Virgin Islands recently authorized its recreational and sacramental use.”]