By INIGO ‘NAUGHTY’ ZENICAZELAYA
AFTER recently hearing Assistant Superintendent Audley Peters inform the media that the DEU officers seized $3m worth of marijuana in an early morning drug bust on Thursday.
The bus ended up on the side of the street and three suspects escaped leaving the $3m in marijuana/cannabis behind.
Are we still here spinning our wheels in the mud, in relation to the legalisation and decriminalisation of medicinal and recreational marijuana/cannabis in 2021.
The previous administration did a lot of pontificating and politicking in regards to legalisation and decriminalisation of medicinal and recreational marijuana/cannabis.
Which turned out to be much to do about nothing as we still have no proper marijuana/ cannabis bill in place.
Sadly while we “slunk” on the topic of marijuana/ cannabis the world is racing way ahead of us.
One of the first Global Cannabis Industry Reports in 2019, by New Frontier Data, made it clear that marijuana/cannabis legalization would prove to be one of the most influential socio-economic movements of our time.
In just two years, the number of countries having legalised some form of marijuana (cannabis) has increased from 50 to 70, and there are now ten countries legalising adult use, almost a twofold increase from 2019.
As legal markets across the globe continue to evolve, regulatory structures and societal norms vary greatly, requiring modifications to laws in certain countries to make the industry more uniformed.
In 2020, regulated markets sold $23.7bn marijuana/cannabis products (which is ten times the sales numbers of any other regulated markets in the world). The United States saw combined total of medical and recreational cannabis sales hit 20.3 billion.
Canada for example saw approximately $2bn in high-THC cannabis products sold in 2020.
The constant rise of cannabis in both the US and Canada could lead to sales increasing to $51bn by 2025.
European sales of THC products were lower overall than in North America, but still on the rise with the industry showing rapid growth.
However, Germany continues to push the market forward with Europe’s largest medical cannabis programme to date, collecting $206m in 2020 alone, during a global pandemic no less.
And now Germany is looking to bring Jamaican marijuana/cannabis to German pharmacies. I’m sure Germany would bring in Bahamian marijuana/cannabis also, if we only were in the market.
Similar to the United States marijuana/cannabis is not federally legal in Spain, however the individual provinces in throughout the country do have various regulations on cannabis products and sales. In 2019, cannabis clubs in the country reached $431m, which makes Spain a contender for becoming one of the largest industries in the world, behind the US and Canada.
$8bn of capital has been invested in the cannabis industry globally thus far, and with an expectancy for rapid growth.
It’s obvious this is an industry that can be beneficial to all Bahamians, the new administration has a chance to become major players in the region as well as globally in this rapidly growing market.
Mikhail Sagal founder of TSRgrow recently noted: “The success of non-US cannabis industries will rely on quick establishment of a regulatory framework. Those countries will all have to change and become more standardised and acceptable, and companies will have to change and be able to adapt in changing systems.”
In 2020, an estimated 4.4 million people were registered as active medical cannabis patients throughout the world. Furthermore, an additional two million patients are expected to register for medical cannabis over the next five years, which could reach 6.5 million people by 2025.
Recreational cannabis sales are expected to double that of medical cannabis sales by 2025 as well. On the recreational front, only ten countries have legalised recreational cannabis, with six approving the sale of high-THC products.
The Netherlands and Spain, are the perfect model of decriminalized club/social-use. Jamaica and South Africa have approved use for religious groups.
Uruguay (mentioned in this column previously) has fully legalised recreational marijuana/cannabis, with a flourishing market for THC products.
Hopefully this new administration will usher in a “New Day” in regards to legalising and decriminalising medicinal and recreational marijuana/cannabis.
The market is big enough and lucrative enough for all Bahamians to be apart in what could be a revolutionary new industry for the nation.
It’s time for our new PM to live up to his nickname, be “Brave” - legalise and decriminalise medicinal and recreational marijuana, and don’t let this potential lucrative industry go up in smoke again!