Campbell applauds draft cannabis bill, says input from farmers necessary


Tribune Staff Reporter

AGRICULTURE and Marine Resources Minister Jomo Campbell applauded the Davis administration’s push toward legislation amending the cannabis regime in the country.

“These sort of minor infractions that go hand-in-hand with simple possession of dangerous drugs, sometimes they scar an individual for life,” he said.

“You have teenagers who make sometimes boyish, childish mistakes. They have records attached to them that they can never get over, that prohibits them from travelling, prohibits them from seeing the world, and that really tends to shrink the mindset of certain persons. So to see this opening up, it really affects the country on many different levels and will definitely go to impact relieving some of the backlog in the courts as well.”

Mr Campbell said consultation sessions with various stakeholders are expected to continue up to the opening of Parliament on October 4. He said thus far, sessions have been held with the Rastafarian community, the church and small farmers, among others.

Mr Campbell also said that input from farmers on the cannabis regime is necessary.

“In order to make sure when we present or we table a bill that it is a collection of ideas from everyone — because we don’t ever want to put out as if we know it all, what may work in Andros may not work in Abaco — we need the input from the local farmers from each island to give us the direction that their island should go in,” he said.

“Anything new in The Bahamas you know we like, and this industry is going to create a new window of opportunity and growth. We always want to keep something growing in The Bahamas legally. It’s definitely creating a buzz, but we want to get it right.

“In the midst of excitement, we can sometimes let our passion and emotion run away from us, and the legal personality in me always tends to lean toward the side of getting it right before we implement it, rather than having to fix and fix and fix after it.”

Mr Campbell’s remarks came during a press conference where the Bahamas Agricultural and Industrial Corporation (BAIC) officially relaunched Eleuthera’s agro-industrial festival. The event will be hosted from November 17 to 18 at the Bay Front Park in Governor’s Harbour.

The free event is designed to showcase small and medium businesses, vendors, suppliers, wholesalers and distributors in the agriculture and industrial sectors and provide networking opportunities.

“This festival provides a unique opportunity for farmers to promote high-quality crops, livestock, industrial and technology equipment, support small and medium businesses and provide exposure for creative entrepreneurs within the orange economy,” Mr Campbell said.

“It is our hope that attendees of this event gain valuable insights into the latest advancements and use what is learnt to foster growth in the agricultural and creative sectors.”

The festival will include 49 vendors representing 13 Eleuthera settlements.

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