Burt reiterates Government stance over cannabis laws – Royal Gazette


Updated: Nov 26, 2021 06:44 PM

David Burt holds firm on his stance that the UK should not be able to block legislation passed by Bermudian MPs (File photograph)

The UK should not be able to block legislation passed by Parliament whether on cannabis or anything else, the Premier has insisted.

David Burt was speaking as he and Rena Lalgie, the Governor, appeared to be at loggerheads over proposed drugs legislation which does not comply with international regulations.

Ms Lalgie has made it clear legalisation of cannabis for purposes other than medicinal and scientific use, or some industrial procedures, was not permitted because of the UK’s international obligations.

But Mr Burt has insisted that moves to allow recreational use of the drug and create a regulated business framework for its sale and consumption will go back before Parliament within months.

And about his recent meeting of Overseas Territories in London, Mr Burt said in the House of Assembly that he took wanted to take the opportunity to set out his position on the grant of Royal Assent to Acts passed by the Legislature.

Mr Burt added: “Whilst it may well be a convenient political point for honourable members opposite to make this about cannabis and that legislation, this is a matter of principle.

“Bermuda’s Constitution is an advanced one and one adopted as a precursor to self-determination.

“It is the well honoured convention under that Constitution that Bills passed in the Legislature will not be denied the Assent of the Governor and … that is our expectation with respect to the legislation on cannabis.”

Rena Lalgie, the Governor (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

Mr Burt said that the proposed cannabis laws were the centre of attention at present, but the relationship with London could affect areas such as finance in the future.

He added: “This stance is a necessary one because today, it may be a regulated cannabis industry – tomorrow it may well be banking.

“The Government cannot acquiesce to the delay or denial of those initiatives that will economically empower the people of this country and provide the access to capital that has been historically out of reach for so many.”

Mr Burt earlier warned that if the Cannabis Licensing Act did not get Royal Assent it would “destroy” Bermuda’s relationship with the UK.

The Government admitted last February that its cannabis plans went beyond the limits of international conventions on drugs, which the UK has signed up to.

The legislation is not in line with the UK’s international obligations under the UN’s 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs.

Source: https://www.royalgazette.com/politics/news/article/20211126/burt-reiterates-government-stance-over-cannabis-laws/

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