The Bahamas Explores Marijuana Decriminalization

A movement is building in the Bahamas to decriminalize marijuana. This was highlighted in the town hall meeting for the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Regional Commission on Marijuana in Nassau last week.

The Bahamas is one of several in Caribbean countries with some stakeholders eager to join other international communities and embrace the region’s marijuana culture.

CARICOM’s mandate is to ascertain public opinion in CARICOM member countries on the issue, said officials. As one of the Caribbean’s leading governmental organizations, CARICOM’s move to host a forum on the issue. This indicates the importance of the growing marijuana industry. It will be a potential revenue producer for the tourism-reliant region.

“In the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), the debate has intensified in the past approximately four years. Resulting in its placement on the agenda of the highest decision-making forum, the Conference of Heads of Government,” said CARICOM officials in a statement.

Meeting in the Bahamas

While the meeting was held in Nassau, the gathering was not intended as “a national debate” but a “regional assessment,” said Reuben Rahming, the Bahamas ambassador to CARICOM, in a local press report. “It does not reflect the government’s position pro or con on the matter.”

Meeting attendees emphasized potential decriminalization benefits, as “the majority of people who spoke were in support of the legalization or decriminalization of marijuana in The Bahamas,” according to a Caribbean News Now article.

How it benefits the government and people

The Bahamas meets with CARICOM
Head of the Commission ( 4th from R) Rosemarie Belle-Antoine, members of the Commission w St. Vincent P.M. Hon. Ralph Gonsalves (5th from R) and CARICOM Secretariat Assistant Secretary-General for Human and Social Development, Dr. Douglas Slater (extreme L). via CARICOM

One speaker pointed out the benefits of marijuana activity in other countries. It is a reason for visitors and a potential financial windfall for governments.

The Bahamas meeting follows initiatives in Jamaica, St. Kitts and other Caribbean countries to explore marijuana decriminalization. Last year, the Jamaican government and tourism officials established the first official links to surging weed tourism. Nearly two years after the country enacted legislation to ease penalties for possession of small amounts of marijuana.

“Cannabis-infused tourism has a place in Jamaica’s product mix, alongside all-inclusive resorts and mass tourism,” said Edmund Bartlett, Jamaica’s tourism minister.

In a radio interview earlier this year, Dr. Timothy Harris, St Kitts and Nevis’ prime minister said his government was “ready for open dialogue with the relevant stakeholders on the issue of the decriminalization of marijuana.”