Draft legislation on medical cannabis industry to be released for consultation

ATTORNEY General Ryan Pinder. Photo: Eric Rose/BIS

ATTORNEY General Ryan Pinder. Photo: Eric Rose/BIS

By LEANDRA ROLLE

Tribune Staff Reporter

lrolle@tribunemedia.net

ATTORNEY General Ryan Pinder said draft legislation to establish a medical cannabis industry in the country should be released for consultation in about a month’s time.

But before then, he said his office within the next two weeks intends to make a presentation to Cabinet that will explain the legal framework for cannabis regulation.

Mr Pinder made the comments when asked for an update on marijuana legislation during the weekly press briefing at the Office of the Prime Minister Thursday.

“I can let you know that all of the pieces of legislation have been drafted along with the regulations and the respective orders,” he said, “and the legislation encompasses a number of amendments in a number of areas such as the Pharmacy Act has to be amended because you deal with dispensary items and all of that, so we made all of those amendments in draft form.”

“We’ve prepared a presentation now that will go to Cabinet within the next two to three weeks I’d say that will explain the framework of what we’re looking to do with respect to the regulation of medicinal cannabis and then seek Cabinet’s approval to go to public consultation which will naturally be rather extensive on such an important piece of legislative framework and that consultation will happen and will launch probably in a month or a month and a half.”

Cannabis legislation has been on the table for years without success, despite several neighbouring countries already having passed such laws.

In June, Mr Pinder said the Davis administration intended to advance comprehensive legislation to regulate a medical cannabis industry and a separate framework for industrial hemp.

At the time, he said this would be done in the first six months of the fiscal year, meaning by the end of 2022.

However, that did not happen, and it is still not clear when marijuana legislation will be tabled in Parliament.

Meanwhile, as it relates to the Gender Violence Bill, Mr Pinder said it remains under review.

“This week, I was able to review a near final version of it. I provided my comments to it and submitted those comments on review of that piece of legislation which will go back to the Ministry of Social Services and the respective NGO groups,” he added.

“We have been consulting with the respective gender NGO groups all through this process and they have been giving their input and so hopefully, that bill will be in near final form in a matter of weeks.”

This comes after former Attorney General Allyson Maynard-Gibson earlier this month urged the government to pass the bill, which she said was first drafted ten years ago.

However, Social Services Minister Obie Wilchcombe recently told The Tribune the government would not rush the bill to Parliament.

He suggested that consultation with the Church is needed before the bill can be tabled in the House of Assembly.

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