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Cannabis decriminalisation backed in Senate

Cannabis decriminalised. (File photograph)

Legislation to decriminalise small quantities of cannabis tonight won universal support from senators.

The Misuse of Drugs (Decriminalisation of Cannabis) Amendment Act will decriminalise possession of less than 7 grammes of cannabis - but police will still be able to seize any amount of cannabis.

The Act was endorsed by Government and Opposition senators, as well as independent senators, as it was debated this evening.

Progressive Labour Party MP Jason Hayward said: “What we are doing is not promoting drug use and we are not encouraging young persons to use cannabis.

“We want to further the education regarding drug abuse in our society to protect our young persons. We plan to take a full review of drug policies in Bermuda through a Green Paper.”

Opposition Senate Leader Nandi Outerbridge said that the new Bill would be supported by the One Bermuda Alliance and confirmed that it did not make it legal to smoke cannabis.

Independent senators Michelle Simmons and James Jardine both spoken in support of the Bill.

Ms Simmons said it was “long overdue”.

The minister will also draw up regulations for substance abuse education or treatment for those caught with the drug under the new legislation.

A similar Bill was debated and approved by the House of Assembly in May, but the legislation never reached the Senate because of the General Election.

Both Bills aimed to decriminalise possession of less than 7 grammes.