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Pastor: Council’s support for marijuana ‘a grave mistake’
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By LEANDRA ROLLE
A LEADING pastor has called the Bahamas Christian Council’s support for medicinal marijuana a “grave” and an “alarming” mistake.
In a press statement released on Wednesday, Pastor Cedric Moss condemned the religious group’s stance on medical marijuana, calling BCC leaders contradictory for supporting medicinal use of the drug and not religious use.
“…It is a stark and glaring contradiction because in the same breath of support for medical marijuana, the BCC opposes religious marijuana,” Pastor Moss noted. “What is the rationale for supporting people smoking dope in the name of medicine, while in the same breath opposing people smoking dope in the name of religion?”
He continued: “…If the government adopts the (Bahamas National Marijuana) Commission’s recommendation, marijuana use in The Bahamas, legal and illegal, will undoubtedly increase to alarming levels with societal harm.
“Sadly, some of the responsibility for such an outcome will lay squarely at the feet of the BCC.”
His comments came hours after the BCC released its highly anticipated position paper on the controversial drug, adding support behind regulated medical use of marijuana. However, the council was firm that recreational use should not be encouraged or condoned.
“We do not believe marijuana use should be condoned or encouraged as it is a mind-altering potentially debilitating drug to some at varying degrees, capable of several negative side effects such as marijuana induced psychosis, cognitive impairment, negative impact on the brain of users under the age of 21, and reduced productivity,” a BCC statement read.
“We have no objection to medicinal use as long as it (is) properly regulated and scientifically proven to be the best remedy for the condition prescribed.”
The BCC also disagreed with calls from the Rastafarian community for the government to sanction marijuana use for religious purposes.
Calling it contradictory, Pastor Moss noted that a referendum should be held in the country to decide the matter.
“Indeed, deciding this matter by way of referendum would be the deepest expression of our democracy to settle it, and all true democrats would be willing to live with the outcome, even if it happens to be what they oppose,” he continued.
“Therefore, if a majority of Bahamians wish to legalise marijuana for recreational and whatever other purposes, they should be allowed to. The opposite is also true. Whatever the outcome, we should accept it as the will of the majority.”
In February, Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis tabled the Bahamas National Commission on Marijuana’s report in the House of Assembly.
The BNCM recommends that up to one ounce of marijuana be decriminalised for people 21-year-old and older. It also recommends having the drug legalised as a sacrament for Rastafarians and legal medical marijuana.
However, the commission did not take a view on whether cannabis should be legalised for recreational use.