The Government will review the possible legalization of a hemp industry that would include variations of cannabis low in THC, Prime Minister the Most Hon. Dr. Hubert Minnis announced today in the House of Assembly.
The Prime Minister was speaking as he tabled the Executive Summary Report submitted by the Economic Recovery Committee (ERC).
The Committee has proposed a broad range of reforms and recommendations intended to seed new industries and economic opportunities to expand existing ones; make The Bahamas more attractive for domestic and international investment; and to make certain bureaucratic systems more efficient and less burdensome for citizens and businesses.
“Our cannabis laws are outdated and must change,” Prime Minister Minnis said. “The global legal cannabis market is already in the billions of dollars with significant projected growth in the years to come.”
The Prime Minister said Bahamian-owned or majority Bahamian-owned companies must and will lead any new hemp industry in The Bahamas.
Hemp is used in multiple products, from clothing to building materials and even in tea bags, such as Lipton’s tea bags, Prime Minister Minnis noted.
“There are potentially many opportunities for creative Bahamian businesspeople to get involved in this new industry,” said the Prime Minister.
The Government will report back to the nation following greater public consultation, he said.
Earlier this year, the Bahamas National Commission on Marijuana recommended the decriminalization of possession of small amounts of marijuana, and allowing medicinal marijuana use.
Starting in 2021, the Government will begin the expunging of records of those convicted for the possession of small amounts of marijuana, said the Prime Minister.
As part of the Government’s strategy to continue to create economic opportunities for Bahamian entrepreneurs, there will be a significant increase in funding to the Small Business Development Centre, said the Prime Minister.
Two-hundred and fifty million dollars will be provided to Bahamian businesses over 5 years, said Prime Minister Minnis.
Farmers and fishermen will receive direct financial support through the Ministry of Agriculture and Marine Resources, said the Prime Minister.
“A broad, sustained recovery requires Bahamian businesspeople to have the funding required to create jobs,” he said. “We need our Bahamian entrepreneurs to have money to create new businesses, or to expand existing ones.”
The Prime Minister noted that the Government is pursuing a number of policy directions based on recommendations from the ERC but will not accept all of the Committee’s recommendations.
The ERC represents a cross-section of the public and private sectors and is co-chaired by Acting Financial Secretary, Mr. Marlon Johnson, and Mr. Kenneth Kerr, the CEO of Providence Advisors.
To view the ERC’s Summary Report, visit www.opm.gov.bs.