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UK Blocks Bermuda From Marijuana Legalization

The United Kingdom prevents Bermuda from legalizing marijuana on the same day the new British Prime Minister becomes sworn into office.

At least twice in recent years, the United Kingdom has taken the unprecedented step of meddling in prospective cannabis legislation in one of its territories. In 2020, lawmakers in the British Virgin Islands (BVI) enacted the Cannabis Licensing Act, but it was quickly banned by the United Kingdom.

Now the United Kingdom is under new administration. One of the first actions of the administration under Prime Minister Liz Truss was to withhold official approval for Bermuda to legalize and regulate marijuana, despite claims that Truss herself previously backed legalization.

In March, the Bermuda House of Assembly passed the Cannabis Licensing Bill 2022, presenting it for Royal Assent approval.

Under Bermuda’s proposed legislations, a marijuana regulatory body would be formed to oversee cannabis industry licenses and suggest future legislation. Adults over the age of 21 could possess up to seven grams of marijuana in a public area, or more with a valid license. The objective of the bill was to provide people who have been disproportionately impacted by the drug war higher priority when it comes to obtaining licenses.

The proposed legislation would have established a Cannabis License Authority to establish a licensing system to regulate cannabis sales. The now-banned bill also sought to control imports and exports, cultivation for personal and medical use, commercial cultivation, and research, production, and transportation.

However, the United Kingdom advised the governor of Bermuda to reject the island nation’s proposed cannabis legislation because it breaches international obligations specified in drug-control treaties ratified by the United Nations.

According to reports in the local media, prominent Bermuda authorities and proponents of change in the UK do not seem to be taking this new information lightly. The law blocking has been regarded as an overreach by the UK that is reminiscent of the colonialist age. The island country is believed to have been brought to the edge of a constitutional crisis as a result of this overreach.

A 2016 Supreme Court judgement legalized medicinal cannabis in Bermuda, allowing individuals to ask for a license to possess and use marijuana for therapeutic reasons. Additionally, the possession of up to seven grams of cannabis is decriminalized.

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