Legislation passed in the House of Assembly yesterday will make it legal to grow and sell cannabis, if the bill gets the approval from the Governor.
However, according to H.E. Governor Rena Lalgie, the UK does not allow recreational cannabis use under its international obligations. If approved, however, a series of licenses would be made available through a licensing authority, allowing for people to grow, harvest, sell and even export the drug.
In the House yesterday, Deputy Premier and Minister of Home Affairs the Honorable Walter Roban, JP, MP, said that the illegality of cannabis was a symbol of an “unjust colonial society” and showed how black people are still being criminalized by a white oligarchy.
This is not the first time the bill was passed in the House of Assembly; it was passed in the House last year but was rejected 6-5 in the Senate. Because senators can only veto a bill once, it will be passed in the Upper House next week.
“ [This bill] has the potential to create employment, it has potential to create an industry that is currently illegal and underground and it has the ability to improve what we currently have in Bermuda,” Minister of Education the Honorable Diallo Rabain, JP, MP, said in the house.
However, all six OBA MPs voted against the Bill, with Opposition Leader Cole Simons, JP, MP, saying it was irresponsible to pass economic empowerment legislation when it could lead to an increase in road accidents and lower academic achievement.
Scott Pearman, JP, MP, said that, due to the way the bill is constructed, a black market for cannabis would thrive on the island.
Yesterday’s bill was passed by 18 votes to six.
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