The Struggle for Cannabis Legalization in Bermuda

The Struggle for Cannabis Legalization in Bermuda
High Times

An interesting legal fight has now broken out in Bermuda as the island grapples with finding the best way forward on cannabis reform.  As of last week, legislation intended to create the first guidelines for the local industry—the Cannabis Licensing Act, allowing both recreational use and creating a regulated framework for at least the import of cannabis—was reintroduced in the House of Assembly. It passed on Monday, March 28 with a vote of 18-6. Now it goes on to the House of Lords where it will probably be passed next week, because Senators can only veto legislation once. For a second attempt through Parliament, the bill is not without its controversies, particularly it is under heat for being a “bad bill.” Indeed, the main criticism of the legislation is that not only is it exactly the same as the bill that tanked last year. Beyond that, an advocacy organization, the One Bermuda Alliance claimed the only people it benefits are those who control the importation of cannabis.  Beyond this the usual criticisms are being levied at the initiative by those who want to kibosh cannabis reform. In addition, there is another intransigent legal problem. Namely, the passage of any bill legalizing the recreational use of the drug will set up a constitutional clash with the UK. Bermuda is still a British colony and therefore subject to British laws. The only way to avoid this legal problem is for Bermuda to remove cannabis from the list of controlled substances. This has been in force on the island since the early 1970s. Cannabis Reform in Bermuda The Supreme Court of Bermuda ruled in favor of medical cannabis reform in November 2016. Cannabis was decriminalized in December 2017. That said, the practical implications—namely, that patients could only import one gram a year—predictably created…

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