Cannabis In Bermuda: When will weed be legal?

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Posted on March 9th, 2022 to Legal News

Is weed legal in Bermuda?

As it currently stands in 2022, cannabis in Bermuda is authorized for medical purposes, and it has been decriminalized for recreational purposes, but it is not legal for recreational use. There is legislation being proposed and local government is taking feedback from the public on how to proceed. There is anticipation that the medical marijuana market may expand and the creation of a legal, adult-use market may be in the foreseeable future.

Update on Bermuda Cannabis Legislation as of May, 2022

We’ve got a few updates to share in the world of legal cannabis in Bermuda:

On March 30th, 2022, Bernews, Bermuda’s #1 source for 24/7 breaking news, published an update to their article about Bermuda’s cannabis licensing bill – stating that it has not only passed the house, but has now moved on to be presented to the Governor for assent. Here’s what one government spokesperson had to say regarding the updates:

“The Governor is aware that the [first] reading of the Cannabis Licensing Bill 2022 is due in the Senate [today]. When the Bill is presented to the Governor for assent, the Governor will act in accordance with the Constitution. Her Excellency shall reserve assent if she considers the Bill to be inconsistent with the UK’s international obligations, in this instance the United Nations Conventions on drugs.

The people of Bermuda gave this Government a strong mandate to deliver on those Platform promises and it is vital to our democracy that we honour that mandate. The history of our relationship with the UK Government is one where the UK recognizes and respects the results of elections and the responsibility of elected representatives to deliver on Election promises.

The Government expects that this Bill will be treated in keeping with that well established constitutional path and looks forward to the Bill becoming law.” – Government House spokesperson

The recent history of cannabis in Bermuda

Up until 2016, cannabis in Bermuda was completely illegal. It wasn’t until November of 2016 when the Supreme Court of Bermuda voted in favor of cannabis use for medical purposes. Even still, there were only a very limited amount of licenses available, and as of 2018 – only 2 doctors on the island had been granted licenses to legally prescribe cannabis.

In recent updates, there is legislation being drafted to expand the medical cannabis market and potentially create a legal recreational, adult-use cannabis market in Bermuda with the goal of creating more opportunities for local business and entrepreneurship. At this time, the Bermudan government is looking for feedback from the public about the currently proposed legislation.

How to get in touch

If you’re a local resident of Bermuda and you’d like to weigh in on the cannabis conversation, we recommend submitting an inquiry on the Government of Bermuda’s website.

How to apply for a medical card in Bermuda

In order to legally purchase cannabis in Bermuda, you need a medical card. To get one, patients first submit an application. To start this process, we recommend you first consult with your doctor who should be able to lead you in the right direction from there.

What are the most recent updates about cannabis in Bermuda?

The most recent update received by the public from the Bermudan government comes in the form of this video from the Attorney General published back on June 3rd, 2020.

Regulated Cannabis Scheme Announcement – June 03 2020

In the video, Bermuda’s Attorney-General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Sen. the Hon. Kathy Simmons, JP, discussed the government’s progress towards reforming Bermuda’s cannabis laws. Sen. She went on to discuss the proposed legislative scheme that she brought to the Senate in December 2019 to introduce medicinal cannabis in Bermuda.

“After concluding public consultation on that bill in January 2020, the government listened to the public sentiment on what was proposed. Generally the medicinal cannabis proposal was viewed as not going far enough to liberate cannabis laws and it was too complicated to be effective. Government has decided to pivot the scope of the cannabis policy to meet public expectation that government’s efforts could be better utilized by further decriminalization of cannabis to the greatest extent possible via a regulated framework.”

“Surprisingly for some, public attitudes have evolved a pace with global legislative reforms and in recognition that opening our pathways for new economic opportunities and activity is needed. We plan to move ahead with a more simplified regulated cannabis scheme which builds on the strengths of the original medicinal cannabis policy, and which embraces the public feedback.

The revised proposal will provide for a regulated cannabis program which has been hybridized to meet Bermuda’s requirements, whilst modeling the best available legal provisions in Canada, both provincial and federal, and to a lesser degree – examples from the Caribbean. The policy intends that the different classes of licensed activities which will be available are:

  • Cultivation by commercial growers
  • Cannabis retail shops
  • Manufacture
  • Research
  • Transport
  • Import
  • Export

The regulatory requirements for each category of license are provided within the legislation, including specific regulations applicable to cannabis retail shops.

As we continue our pledge to encourage citizens to actively participate in our democracy and in the interests of openness and transparency, the government wishes to give the public every opportunity to give feedback and offer comments on this revised policy. To this end, I’m announcing that we are taking it back to the people by starting another public consultation exercise. Members of the public and interested parties will be able to comment on the policy document and an illustrative draft bill, which outlines the details of the proposed regulated cannabis scheme.

The consultation package will be available on the government web portal. The consultation period will run from the 3rd of June until the 3rd of July 2020. It is not often that the government places an illustrative draft of a proposed bill out for public scrutiny as part of a consultation exercise. However, as was done with the medicinal cannabis scheme, I thought it important that the granular details of the proposed law be accessible for public consumption. The tactical details in the illustrative draft bill should allow persons an opportunity to see exactly how they will be affected by the law and how they might be able to participate in the economic opportunities expected to emerge from the legislation.

As I close, I strongly encourage the Bermuda public at large to review what is being proposed, and take this opportunity to have their voices heard. We are especially interested to welcome ideas from our youth, who have used social media and other platforms to call for greater liberalization of the cannabis plan. There will be additional opportunities for direct engagement with interest groups and other public outreach during the consultation period. Again, anyone interested in the proposed cannabis reforms should go to the government portal where you will find the consultation documents and instructions on how to send in your views. Thank you.” – Bermuda’s Attorney-General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Sen. the Hon. Kathy Simmons, JP

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