The Bahamas is also aiming to decriminalize possession of cannabis and allow its medical use.
The Bahamian government has introduced several bills to legalize marijuana for religious and medical purposes and to decriminalize possession of small amounts of the drug. Lawmakers hope these measures will increase tax revenue for the islands.
If the bills are approved, the government will issue licenses for the cultivation, transport and sale of marijuana for religious or medical purposes to Bahamian-owned businesses, while licenses for research, testing and manufacturing of Cannabis will be issued to businesses that are at least 30% Bahamian-owned, The Associated Press reported Friday.
Selling marijuana for recreational purposes would still be illegal, but those with less than 30 grams would pay a $250 fine and have no criminal record. Currently, possession can be punished with a fine of up to $500,000 or up to 30 years in prison.
Those who use cannabis for spiritual purposes will only be allowed to do so on the premises of an approved religious organization, Attorney General Ryan Pinder told reporters at a press conference Thursday.
While more than 90% of Bahamians are Christians, the islands are home to small communities of Rastafarians, whose main religious sacrament is smoking cannabis.
In 2018, leaders from 19 Caribbean countries, including the Bahamas, Barbados, Haiti, Jamaica and others, agreed to “review the current status of marijuana with a view to reclassification. » Antigua and Jamaica have since decriminalized personal use of the drug, while the US Virgin Islands allowed recreational and religious use earlier this year.
Pinder told reporters that public hearings on the bills would take place in September and the legislation could be approved before next year.
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