Legislation to legalize cannabis for medical and religious purposes and decriminalize the possession of small amounts of cannabis have been unveiled in The Bahamas, the Jamaica Gleaner reports. Under the law, individuals caught with less than an ounce of cannabis not used for religious or medical purposes would be subject to a $250 fine but would not be criminally charged.
Under the proposal, licenses for cultivation, retail, transport, and religious use would only be awarded to companies that are entirely Bahamian-owned, while licenses for research, testing, and manufacturing would be granted to companies that are at least 30% Bahamian-owned. The government would also create an agency to regulate the industry.
Attorney General Ryan Pinder has previously indicated that cannabis used for religious purposes could only be smoked on the premises of a licensed organization, the report says.
Other Caribbean nations have taken steps to reforms their cannabis policies. In 2018, Antigua and Barbuda legalized cannabis for medical use and in June granted Rastafari authorization to grow and consume cannabis, as their faith considers the plant sacred. Jamaica has also decriminalized possession of small amounts of cannabis.
The U.S. Virgin Islands in January legalized cannabis for adult use.
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