Bermuda has no plans to legalize marijuana now

By Caribbean Medical News Staff

New Premier of Bermuda, Premier Michael Dunkley says that they will continue to support the Director of Public Prosecutions and the police and they will not be legalizing the use of marijuana in the British dependency wholesale but examining reform as the way forward.

However, spot cautions will be given to those with small amounts for personal use under new reforms for marijuana use. Cautions can only be approved by the DPP and Dunkley said that the Cannabis Reform Committee independently looks at the consequences of marijuana use from a social, economic and health perspective and is an ongoing exercise.

“It is wrong to yield to a more permissive attitude socially without due regard to the social, economic and health consequences”, said the Premier.

Reports in the press suggested that the Premier had submitted a 137-page report to the House of Assembly where among other findings; recommendations were made to allow cannabis usage for those who require the small amounts for medicinal use. The report also called for the decriminalization of the drug for personal use and the eventual legalization of marijuana.

Dunkley outlined government’s position during a debate in the House of Assembly on Friday on the findings of the Cannabis Reform Collaborative, an independent advisory group that spent months reviewing the island’s cannabis laws. However, the Premier was still quick to add that the Country and policy makers need to be circumspect on how far any reforms should go in this regard.

Stating that there were “other thorny issues involved”, the Premier said, “I think it is important to reiterate that the government’s public undertaking has related to decriminalisation and any potential wider use of cannabis. Let me indicate early in this debate that at this time, the government is not prepared to consider personal cultivation, licences for commercial cultivation and sale or blanket legalisation of cannabis. In so far as this report recommends those things, they do not represent this government’s current intentions.”

Dunkley indicated that while he could sympathize with Bermudians caught with “small amounts”, the Government still had to examine the issues of unregulated cannabis use in their own community and those around the world. Dunkley also noted that the relationship between Bermuda and the US as it relates to cannabis also needed to be examined in various contexts.

“It is wrong to yield to a more permissive attitude socially without due regard to the social, economic and health consequences that hold equal weight in those studies conducted,” he said.

“The decriminalisation of possession of small amounts of cannabis is one means that has been suggested to deal with this issue,” he said.

Dunkley said police had previously had the authority to issue cautions, but this was revoked in 2012 with cautions now requiring prior DPP approval.

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