Last year, Bermudan lawmakers released a draft bill aimed at creating a legal cannabis program and asked the public to offer pertinent feedback. The draft legislation was met with criticism from the public as people felt it imposed excessive regulations, and they argued that the territory should legalize marijuana altogether for adult use. On Wednesday, the government of Bermuda released a draft bill to establish a legal marijuana market, and it is again seeking feedback from the public.
Under the proposed bill, adults 21 and older would be able to possess and purchase up to seven grams of marijuana from licensed retailers. The bill would require the creation of a Cannabis Advisory Authority, and it would be responsible for issuing licenses and regulating the market. Cultivation, retail, research, import, export, transportation, and manufacturing licenses will be up for grabs, and individuals with prior marijuana convictions will not be denied access.
According to a summary of the bill, fees for the licenses would be designed to help stimulate the industry while making them affordable enough for ‘under-served and marginalized communities.’ People with prior convictions for possessing seven grams or less of marijuana would also be eligible for expungement of their criminal records.
“Surprising for some, public attitudes have evolved apace with global legislative reforms, and in recognition that opening up pathways for new economic opportunities and activity is needed,” said Attorney General Kathy Simmons in a video on the proposal. The government is requesting public input on the proposed legislation up until July 3. A prompt on its website asks individuals seven specific questions that the government needs feedback on, including licensing requirements and penalties.
“The government has made a commitment to progressively liberalize cannabis laws in Bermuda and to create economic opportunities for citizens wishing to participate in a regulated cannabis scheme,” states the website. “The Government again wishes to ‘take it to the people’ by commencing a one-month public consultation exercise on the proposed scheme.”
In her video, Attorney General Simmons said that the government plans to move ahead with a more simplified, regulated, cannabis scheme, which builds on the strength of the original medical cannabis policy and which embraces the public feedback. “The revised proposal will provide for a regulated cannabis program which has been hybridized to meet Bermuda’s requirements while modeling the best available legal provisions in Canada, both Provincial and federal and to a lesser degree, examples from the Caribbean.”
One would be forgiven for imagining that industry players like The Supreme Cannabis Company Inc. (TSX: FIRE) (OTCQX: SPRWF) long for the day when the U.S. federal government conducts a similar consultative exercise geared at legalizing marijuana federally.
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