Bermuda: The governor blocks (for now) the legalization of cannabis

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Rena Lalgie, the governor of the territory of Bermuda, has decided to reserve her assent to the legalization of cannabis in the archipelago.

She, however, urged officials in Bermuda to work with the British government to find a compromise and respect United Nations conventions. The legalization project, the Cannabis Licensing Act 2022seems to him to be incompatible with the obligations relating to the said conventions.

She added: “I therefore have no choice but to reserve assent to the Bill under Section 35(2) of the Constitution and notify the Secretary of State for Business. Foreign Affairs, Commonwealth and Development. »

David Burt, Prime Minister of Bermuda, had previously made it clear that if cannabis legalization did not gain royal assent, it would “destroy” relations with London. Canada had received royal assent for its legalization project on June 21, 2018, a few months before the regulation was put in place.

Ms Lalgie said: “I hope Bermudian officials will work together with UK officials to find a solution, which will not lead to lifelong criminal records for consumers of small amounts of cannabis and which will unlock business opportunities. , while maintaining Bermuda’s excellent reputation for upholding the rule of law. »

The Governor added: “The UK has supported, and is currently assisting, certain Crown Dependencies and other Overseas Territories to develop an approach in line with the relevant conventions.”

A spokeswoman for the Bermudian government said: “We have received correspondence from the Governor regarding her decision to reserve the sanction of the Cannabis Licensing Bill 2022, pursuant to Section 35(2) of the Constitution, and to notify that decision to the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development. »

“We are awaiting the position of the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development on this matter. »

The Cannabis Licensing Bill was passed by Bermuda’s parliament on March 30, but the more than a month’s delay in sending it to the governor for consideration was called “unusual” by the former premier of Bermuda. One Bermuda AllianceCraig Cannonier, who said he heard behind-the-scenes negotiations with London were taking place over the matter.

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