Bermuda, legalization refused?
They could have become the first adult-use cannabis market in the Caribbean. Yet the proposed law was rejected, but to what extent?
The Senate decided, the plan to legalize cannabis in Bermuda proposed since June 2020 was rejected with 6 votes against and 5 votes for.
The implementation of this law would have allowed Bermuda to position itself as the first adult-use cannabis market in the Caribbean. The leaders of 19 countries had said they wanted to "review the current status of cannabis with a view to reclassification, emphasizing the human and religious rights issues arising from criminalization and the economic benefits to be derived.
David Burt, Premier and leader of the Progressive Labour Party, said that "if Her Majesty's representative in Bermuda does not give his assent to something that has been passed legally and under this local government, it will destroy our relationship with the United Kingdom," as Bermuda is part of the Commonwealth.
The legalization of medical cannabis had already taken place in 2016, but did not ensure patients easy access to these treatments in the face of administrative procedures far too complicated.
However, according to the Senators, the proposed project did not really address relevant issues and lacked strength: "Let's be clear, the One Bermuda Alliance (OBA) is not opposed to the use of cannabis. Today, the Bermuda Senate rejected the PLP's cannabis licensing bill because the bill itself did not address important community concerns," said Senators Robin Tucker, Marcus Jones and Ben Smith. Also, "It was positive that OBA Senators and independent Senators came together to vote against this deeply flawed bill. Cannabis is a complex issue that requires thoughtful solutions, which the bill sorely lacked."
The Territory's Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs is strongly opposed to the bill. In a statement, she said, "It is unfortunate that in the 21st century, jobs and opportunities, and the will of so many Bermudians, can be blocked by politically disenfranchised opposition and independent senators appointed by an unelected and unaccountable governor. The cannabis reform they opposed would have further reduced the criminalization of Bermudians and created jobs and opportunities for Bermudians."
Divided parties, denied legislation, the prospects for savings are slipping away for Bermuda, which is not about to concretely expand into the cannabis world.