News Release: HAMILTON, Bermuda – Social Justice Bermuda is a collective of Bermudians who are inspired by the global Black Lives Matter movement and the way that communities around the world are standing together to tackle and dismantle oppressive systems of injustice and racism.

We are writing in response to the Bermuda Police Service’s ongoing cannabis prohibition operations, for example the recent seizure of 138 cannabis plants in St. George’s on January 15, 2024.

Recent cannabis-related media activity:

  • Man caught with cannabis given conditional discharge- RG Feb 20, 2024
  • Suspended sentence for cultivating cannabis- RG Jan 17, 2024
  • Police Seize 138 Cannabis Plants In St George’s- Bernews Jan 15, 2024
  • ‘Strong Smell Of Cannabis’, Driver Speeds Off- Bernews Dec 13, 2023
  • 104 ‘Fully Grown Cannabis Plants’ Seized- Bernews Aug 14, 2023
  • UK Parliament: Q&A On Cannabis Licensing Bill- Bernews June 2023

And we wish to reiterate our concern that ongoing violence and other anti-social behaviour is in part due to the inability of those involved in the trade to resolve conflicts through legal channels due to its quasi-legal status.

We value and appreciate the efforts to pass the Cannabis Licensing Act 2020 which included a consultation with the UK Government. Our government was advised in 2020 that the CLA 2020 would not pass the Governor as it was non-compliant with the UN Single Convention on Psychotropic Substances 1971. Since then, any subsequent progress in this election platform initiative’s implementation has been inadequately communicated with the public.

Options for further reform including re-tabling the CLA inclusive of central medical/research use provision would make such a bill compliant with the UN Single Convention and also likely pass HE’s desk. Failing that, options include tabling a Statutory Instrument utilizing the negative resolution procedure as outlined in the Misuse of Drugs Act 1973. A S.I. would not need to be approved by parliament as it is made then laid, effectively becoming law once laid in the House and an official Gazette has been posted.

The current situation is that cannabis is being imported by vendors which contain Delta 9 THC A which becomes psychotropic once smoked. The mechanism of this is the same as when freshly dried cannabis is cured or heated beyond its decarboxylation point of 315 degrees F. Effectively, what’s good for Peter is not good for Paul. This is precisely why the Social Justice group was formed; to advocate for equitable outcomes in our society. And, while some are having their CBD, Delta 8 and Delta 9 THC-A confiscated, others can operate without molestation.

A further problem, which SJB had intended to avoid, is the ongoing lack of legal resources available for those involved in the trade including disputes between buyers and sellers. These issues were exasperated as individuals who were not previously involved with the Cannabis trade are now the biggest players. It is the case that non-pharmacists can supply ounces of cannabis in one store, but someone else would get charged with possession with intent to supply for doing the same. How is this equitable?

We would like to make the Government aware that the situation is now and has always been untenable and should be rectified immediately. It is crucial that Bermuda introduces a safe and accessible cannabis market for all, especially those most impacted by cannabis prohibition.

Should you require more information or clarification, please get in touch via return email. Please see our social media handles and website below.

Upvote or reply to our recommendations in the Citizens Forum.