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Campaign group asks for changes to new cannabis legislation

Room for change: A cannabis plant (File photograph)

A range of changes to legislation designed to create a cannabis industry was yesterday put forward by social justice campaigners.

Social Justice Bermuda wrote to senators as they prepared to debate the Cannabis Licensing Act today.

The group said it had worked to educate the public about the potential impact of the Act and asked for views on how it could be improved.

SJB added it had made a string of proposals, including the addition of a “co-operative cultivation licensing tier” to allow public, non-profit cultivation

The letter said: “This move would limit the discriminatory impact on renters and those whose current living situation excludes them from application for personal cultivation licences.”

It added that members of the public should be allowed to apply for personal cultivation licences and that commercial cultivation and retail licences should be available to permanent residency certificate holders.

The group said the creation of a lower class of retail licence – that would not require the holder to have a physical shop – would help encourage people in the illegal market to move into the regulated sphere.

SJB added that a retroactive licence for tourists caught with personal use cannabis would help reduce “the destructive practice of prosecuting visitors to the island” and encourage them to buy from island suppliers.

The group also proposed a threshold for the amount of cannabis that required a transport licence, increased limits for foodstuffs that contained the drug and a higher threshold for “personal use”.

The SJB letter said: “Persons who grow their own cannabis may have up to a pound of cannabis from a few plants.

“The statutory amount for intent to supply should be clarified for different products – 56 grams for flower, 10 grams for extract, not applicable for edible supply by weight, but equivalent percentage of THC.”

The group added there should be no threat of imprisonment for cannabis use – only drug treatment court, revocation of licences, community service orders and fines.

SJB also proposed that the “minister responsible” under the legislation should be the Minister of Health rather than the Minister of Legal Affairs.

The letter said: “At the very least, this would result in a symbolic declaration that controlled substance abuse is a public health issue.”

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Published March 02, 2021 at 5:33 pm (Updated March 02, 2021 at 5:33 pm)

Campaign group asks for changes to new cannabis legislation

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