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Bahamas: Bishop Hanchell Denounces Marijuana Decriminalisation

BISHOP Walter Hanchell has denounced marijuana decriminalisation, saying it will cause moral destruction, a spike in criminal activity and greater social ills.

“The decriminalisation of marijuana and legalisation for medicinal use is all about the mighty dollar, money,” he said in a statement by Citizens for Justice Bahamas. It is not clear how many people are a part of the group. “Marijuana is a mind-altering drug and not food or a product to be sold in our stores. Proponents for the legalisation of recreational marijuana have been sharing their version while advocates wait in the wings to invest in their pot shops. The government is looking at income that may be derived from taxes on this drug.”

Bishop Hanchell wants a national education programme on marijuana “before the findings for the Bahamas National Commission on Marijuana’s Report is debated in Parliament”.

The BNCM recommends decriminalisation of up to one ounce of marijuana, according to its draft preliminary report leaked to the media.

As part of its work, the BNCM surveyed Bahamians’ views through several town-hall meetings. Nonetheless, Bishop Hanchell said: “We will not allow the government to ram this down our throats as was done by the former PLP administration after losing the gambling referendum. It is our request that the government of the Bahamas conduct widespread public consultation and nationally broadcasted town meetings in each constituency. Speakers will debate the pros and cons of marijuana use. The views of the people should be heard before parliamentarians begin debate in the House of Assembly.

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