Officials in Bermuda want to legalize adult-use and medical marijuana. The idea of Bermuda legal marijuana is great news from the 64,000 island residents and the more than 650,000 people who visit there every year.
However, there’s a problem with the plan. The United Kingdom, which still has final say on what happens on the island, may not allow Bermuda legal marijuana to happen.
While it has an established system of self-government, Bermuda remains a British Overseas Territory. The governor, who has the final say on law changes in Bermuda, is a civil servant appointed by the Queen.
It seems like something out of the 18th century, not the 21st century. But the arrangement already has had an impact in the British Virgin Islands, where officials are still trying to legalize medical marijuana with a plan that is being held up by British officials.
What Bermuda Wants To Do
The new law in Bermuda creates cannabis cultivation licenses for both personal use and commercial sales. It also sets up rules for cannabis retail stores on the island, including on-site sales and consumption.
Bermuda officials also want to create licenses for cannabis import, export, research, and special events. Additionally, Bermuda would create two manufacturing licenses for processing cannabis edibles and another for adult-use or medical marijuana products.
Kathy Lynn Simmons, the Attorney-General and the Minister of Legal Affairs, said the new law provides an “agile regulatory framework” that can change and grow as needed, according to Bermuda’s Royal Gazette.
But the question remains: Will the British government allow legal marijuana in Bermuda?
The British Virgin Islands Are Fighting A Similar Battle
Marijuana is not legal for recreational use in the United Kingdom. The government in London also has already faced a situation similar to what is happening in Bermuda. It has so far not ended in favor of the British Virgin Islands (BVI).
The BVI government wanted to set up a regulated, legalized system for medical marijuana. Much like Bermuda, it’s a change that could benefit both residents and the horde of visitors to the islands each year. But while the BVI legislature approved the measure and technically has its own government and laws, the bill creating the legal medical marijuana system is still being held up after six months.
Under pressure to explain why, BVI Gov. Augustus Jaspert recently released a statement saying he the new law had not yet been approved because it has “required a great deal of scrutiny and cross-examination with international laws.” He gave no timeline for its approval, saying only he anticipates it will happen.
People in Bermuda worry the proposed legalization there, which is more ambitious because it includes adult-use marijuana, might suffer the same fate. However, Simmons said that the Bermuda government “is pursuing all diplomatic and legal options to deliver on its promise to our people.”