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Legal cannabis law tabled in House of Assembly

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Cannabis plant
Long overdue: Kathy Lynn Simmons, the Attorney-General and Minister of Legal Affairs (Photograph supplied)

Legislation to lay the framework for legal cannabis in Bermuda was yesterday tabled in the House of Assembly

Kathy Lynn Simmons, the Attorney-General and the Minister of Legal Affairs said the Cannabis Licensing Act 2020 would open the door for the legal use of cannabis in Bermuda by those over the age of 21.

The long debated law also details for the framework for commercial cannabis production and sales including licences for importation, exportation and transport.

Ms Simmons said: “Provisions in the bill will permit lawful activities relating to the cannabis plant, medicinal cannabis, cannabis products and cannabis-infused food products.

“It also grants monitoring, inspection and enforcement powers to the regulator, the Cannabis Licensing Authority.”

She described the legislation as an “agile regulatory framework” that can develop and grow as needed and adapt as other models are introduced internationally.

Licensing categories include a two-tier cultivation licence system – one for personal use and one for commercial purposes – and a similar two-tier manufacturing licence for the creation of cannabis infused products.

Licences will also be developed to allow the importation and exportation of cannabis to countries where the drug is lawful, a transport licence to move the drug in Bermuda, a research licence and an event licence to allow for sale of cannabis at authorised public events.

Ms Simmons said the Bill would also allow the minister to exclude powerful strains of cannabis from the regime and make it an offence to sell or supply cannabis to anyone under the age of 21.

Licence holders will also not be allowed to employ those under the age of 21 or allow them to enter any cannabis shops.

Ms Simmons said: “The presented Bill is the culmination of a comprehensive social justice reform project to liberalise our cannabis laws in line with global contemporary thought, scientific evidence and overwhelming public support.”

She added: “The Government is aware that this Bill placed before the House proposes to permit lawful uses of cannabis for personal adult-use, and by doing so it prescribes uses beyond ’medical and scientific use’ as sanctioned by the United Nations oversight bodies.

“However, the Government is pursuing all diplomatic and legal options to deliver on its promise to our people.

“We can be assured that the Bermuda Government is following in the wake of Canada and other jurisdictions who, by enacting domestic laws permitting personal adult-use of cannabis, are in ’respectful non-compliance’ with the international narcotics conventions without sanction.”

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Published December 12, 2020 at 8:35 am (Updated December 12, 2020 at 8:34 am)

Legal cannabis law tabled in House of Assembly

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