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UK refuses to budge on rejection of cannabis Bill

Britain has said it is willing to discuss new proposals on cannabis legislation (File photograph)

Britain is sticking by its decision to recommend withholding assent to the Bermuda Cannabis Licensing Bill 2022.

David Rutley, parliamentary under-secretary at the Foreign Office, responded to a parliamentary question from Conservative MP Andrew Rosindell about whether Britain would consider reviewing the decision.

Mr Rutley said that the Bill was “inconsistent with international obligations held by the UK and Bermuda under United Nations conventions”.

He added: “The decision to reserve the Bermuda Cannabis Licensing Bill for the signification of Her Majesty was made by the Governor of Bermuda acting in accordance with her constitutional role, as it appeared to her to be inconsistent with the UK’s international obligations.

“The former foreign secretary then considered the Bill and concluded that, as drafted, it was inconsistent with international obligations held by the UK and Bermuda under UN conventions. On that basis, assent could not legitimately be given.

“The UK is deeply committed to working in partnership with Bermuda and remains available and willing to discuss new proposals on cannabis legislation, to find a way forward that works for Bermuda while also remaining within the scope of existing international obligations.”

Rena Lalgie, the Governor, said in September that she had been “instructed” by the Foreign Secretary not to give Royal Assent to the Government’s flagship Cannabis Licensing Act, which would have made possession and production of the drug legal.

The move meant the reform could not become law despite being approved by Bermuda’s House of Assembly.

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Published June 14, 2023 at 11:36 am (Updated June 14, 2023 at 12:30 pm)

UK refuses to budge on rejection of cannabis Bill

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