For the second time in two years, the Bermuda House of Assembly passed adult-use cannabis legislation, the Caribbean National Weekly (CNW) reports. The proposal, which passed in 2021 but was tabled by the Senate, would legalize the production and sale of cannabis in British territory.
Named the Cannabis Licensing Act of 2022, the legislation was introduced by Home Affairs Minister Walter Roban who said cannabis prohibition stands as “an unjust colonial legacy” and evidence of “systemic, racialized disparities,” the report says.
“We need radical new thinking – increasingly legalization is not that radical at all,” Roban said, suggesting the changes were “long overdue” and that polls in Bermuda show an “an overwhelming appetite for changes in our cannabis laws.”
Gov. Rena Lalgie has said that adult-use cannabis legalization in Bermuda falls outside Britain’s international agreements. However, Premier David Burt pushed back, saying if Britain does not accept the changes, it could “destroy” the relationship between Britain and the island territory.
Roban admitted the proposal could cause friction but said “that is the type of trouble this [Progressive Labour Party] government is not afraid of.”
“The totality of the proposed legislation provides for better effective regulatory control to displace the illicit market and full economic access at a time when families are suffering and looking for new economic opportunities,” he said.
Shadow Legal Affairs Minister Scott Pearman appears skeptical, however, asking why the government had not made changes to last year’s shelved bill. He says the government is “not listening” and the bill is “ultimately about money” and “corporate cannabis” that will put cannabis on the Caribbean island in the hands of a few.
The bill passed the House 18-6 and now heads to the Senate, where it cannot be tabled for a second time, CNW notes.
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