House: Hemp legislation amended
Legislation to draw a legal line between cannabis and hemp has been passed by the House of Assembly.
The Misuse of Drugs (Hemp) Amendment Act 2019 amended the Misuse of Drugs Act 1972 to create a distinction between cannabis and hemp to allow for the importation, possession, supply and sale of hemp products.
The new law defined hemp as the cannabis sativa plant, or any part of it, with a tetrahydrocannabinol concentration of not more than 1 per cent.
Tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, is the psychoactive component of cannabis.
David Burt, the Premier, said at last Friday's sitting of the House that the legislation was to be introduced as part of wider legal changes designed to legalise medicinal cannabis which are expected to be tabled before Christmas.
But he added: “There are particular matters dealing with hemp and the importation of hemp products right now which need to be dealt with and addressed.”
Mr Burt said the legalisation would stop “unfair treatment” of business owners by police.
He added: “To the entrepreneurs who have been challenged with this I am sorry that it has taken this long, but we are going to make sure that we resolve this issue.
“We hope that this will bring clarity to Bermuda Police Service which is still seemingly doing their job enforcing the law as it currently stands.”
Patricia Gordon-Pamplin, the shadow health minister, thanked the Government for the legislation on behalf of the business community.
She said that the legal change made it clear which products could be sold in Bermuda.
Ms Gordon Pamplin added: “The importers will know what's appropriate and what's not and they will act accordingly.”
Cole Simons, the shadow eduction minster, questioned how the Government had decided on the 1 per cent THC content.
He highlighted that in Britain, the United States and Canada hemp products were defined as having THC content of not more than 0.3 per cent.
Craig Cannonier, the Opposition leader, also questioned the 1 per cent threshold.
He said: “Not all products that are imported will actually say the THC content.
“It will be interesting to hear from the minister how we are monitoring that.”
But Mr Cannonier added: “I am glad to see that this will open up entrepreneurial opportunities to Bermudians.”
Kim Wilson, the Minister of Health, said that the 1 per cent THC content threshold would give consumers a greater choice.
She said: “The majority of hemp products do contain a minimum of one per cent with respect to the THC level.