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Bermuda gov’t plans to legalise medical marijuana

The Bermuda Government has unveiled plans to legalise marijuana for medical use, while also giving police more discretion to caution first-time offenders who might otherwise be charged with marijuana possession. Photo: Jamaica Observer
JAMAICA OBSERVER

HAMILTON, Bermuda, (CMC) — The Bermuda Government has unveiled plans to legalise marijuana for medical use, while also giving police more discretion to caution first-time offenders who might otherwise be charged with marijuana possession.

The exact cannabis-containing products that will be permitted under amendments to the Pharmacy and Poison Act 1979 were not elaborated on during Friday's Throne Speech at the re-opening of Parliament.

“The Government has led the debate on the issues surrounding cannabis use in this community,” Governor George Fergusson said.

“Significant public engagement, augmented by scientific research and a full consideration of the criminal justice implications, has helped to shape the government’s position on these matters.

“Therefore ... the legislature will be invited to approve amendments to the Pharmacy and Poisons Act 1979 and the Misuse of Drugs Act 1972 to permit the use of specific forms of cannabinoid drugs or cannabis-containing products for medical purposes.”

A major report into reform of Bermuda’s laws on cannabis was handed over to Government earlier this year.

The Cannabis Reform Collaborative (CRC) group produced the report by canvassing views through seven focus groups and targeting different age groups.

CRC member, Stratton Hatfield, later told reporters “I applaud the government for producing legislation on medical cannabis. But, I am disappointed how vague it is. I think that Bermuda is missing an opportunity to be a leader in this debate.”

During the reading of the Throne Speech the Governor revealed that government also plans to amend the caution policy regarding marijuana possession.

“Additionally, in consultation with the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, the Bermuda Police Service and the Ministry of Legal Affairs, the caution policy will be amended to permit greater discretion on the part of police officers when dealing with first-time offenders who might otherwise have been charged with simple possession of cannabis,” the Governor said.

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