The hypocrisy of Britain: do as I say, not as I do
Britain is being extremely unfair in its treatment of the southern territories with regards to medical/recreational cannabis. The British Virgin Islands passed a medical cannabis law, which seemed to comply with the INCB Convention on Psychotropic Drugs 1971, but is still waiting for assent after two years.
Britain, after whom our laws are modelled, issued a licence to GW Pharmaceuticals to grow cannabis in Kent and has been exporting Sativex worldwide. Jersey has a medical cannabis industry (https://medicann.co.uk/). You can obtain medical cannabis in Britain but the cannabis is usually shipped from the Netherlands. (https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/medical-cannabis/)
I sued the Bermuda Government in 2013 and won the case that the ministry did not need to change any law in order to issue a licence to operate a cannabis dispensary or allow any other activity previously thought impossible to allow. (https://www.royalgazette.com/other/news/article/20161125/people-can-apply-for-medical-cannabis/).
Britain never passed any other law other than its Misuse of Drugs Act and Regulations. It has already been proved years ago that all the Bermuda Government needs to do is copy and paste the regulations into the Misuse of Drugs Regulations 1973 and post an official gazette. It’s that easy. No need to go through Britain or even Parliament.
If Kathy Lynn Simmons, the Minister of Legal Affairs and Constitutional Reform, wants to placate Britain, a precondition of the new regimen could be that individuals are required to track their side-effects and personal reasons why they chose cannabis. The list of ailments that cannabis helps is very long and already includes insomnia, anxiety, depression, epilepsy, fibromyalgia, appetite stimulation during chemotherapy, glaucoma and many others.
Even if we said that dispensaries could issue only for medical patients, all you would have to do is make the criteria so broad to include all the anecdotal ailments that people already take cannabis for. That way, we comply with the INCB and don’t have to waste time waiting for an indecisive, hypocritical Britain to make up its mind. You can cover the medical or research criteria using those small tweaks. You can also argue that prohibition is unconstitutional on the grounds of freedom of religion and the right to life. There are so many ways to crack this nut but the waiting game the UK is putting us through is unacceptable.
Below are some extracts from the Convention on Psychotropic Drugs:
Per the Preamble: “"Recognising that the use of psychotropic substances for medical and scientific purposes is indispensable and that their availability for such purposes should not be unduly restricted.”
Article 2: 7 a) A party having given such notice with respect to a previously uncontrolled substance added to Schedule I shall take into account, as far as possible, the special control measures enumerated in Article 7 and, with respect to that substance, shall: i) Require licences for manufacture, trade and distribution as provided in Article 8 for substances in Schedule II; ii) Require medical prescriptions for supply or dispensing as provided in Article 9 for substances in Schedule II.
Article 5: Limitation of use to medical and scientific purposes. 1, Each party shall limit the use of substances in Schedule I as provided in Article 7. 2, Each party shall, except as provided in Article 4, limit by such measures as it considers appropriate the manufacture, export, import, distribution and stocks of, trade in, and use and possession of, substances in Schedules II, III and IV to medical and scientific purposes. 3, It is desirable that the parties do not permit the possession of substances in Schedules II, III and IV except under legal authority.
MICHAEL N. BRANGMAN