official gazette On September 6, Bermuda Governor General and Commander-in-Chief Rena Lalgie said she was “instructed” by the UK Foreign Secretary: refuse royal consent to the cannabis licensing bill. “The Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Commonwealth and Development Affairs said the bill currently being drafted is consistent with the obligations held by Great Britain and Bermuda under the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs and the 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances. “I have informed the Prime Minister of the UK’s continued desire to work with Bermuda on reform within its existing international obligations,” said Largie.
Royal consent is the final approval for a bill to become law, according to the British Parliament. “Once the bill has completed all parliamentary stages in both houses, it will be ready for royal assent.” State of the British Parliament.
This news happened on the same day Liz Truss Appointed Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (PM), succeeding former Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
media coverage The refusal to approve Bermuda’s bill has strained relations between the UK and Bermuda. Bermuda Attorney General Cathy Lynn Simmons explained that this would not be the end of cannabis for the country. “Given the archaic interpretation, it is disappointing but not surprising.” We have democratically expressed our desire for a licensing regime, and the Government of Bermuda intends to continue to advance this initiative in line with our commitment to the 2020 General Election Platform and within our constitutional mandate.”
The Bermuda House of Representatives approved the Cannabis Licensing Bill in March 2022 before it was transferred to Governor Lalsey for royal assent. But not all lawmakers supported the cannabis bill.
Bermuda has two political parties, the One Bermuda Alliance and the Progressive Labor Party (PLP). Scott Pearman, the shadow interior secretary for the Bermuda Alliance, described the bill as “seriously flawed.” In April, he said it was “highly likely” that Ralsey would not give royal consent and the bill would not become law. initiative, explaining that “nearly half of his PLP lawmakers did not vote on the bill.”
“It was deeply flawed. Whatever position you were in the cannabis debate, this particular bill was not for you. I’ve been recognizing it,” Pearman continued. “His own Attorney General pointed out Britain’s treaty obligations in Parliament when the bill was first debated in February 2021. It publicly stated that it was not going to adjust the bill to meet its obligations. [PM Edward] David Burt’s choice to move forward as he did rather than seek consensus and compromise. It should come as no surprise to anyone that the bill has not been approved by the King. And it certainly shouldn’t surprise Prime Minister Bert. “
Current Bermuda law stipulates that carrying 7 grams or less of cannabis does not constitute a crime. Substance Abuse (Cannabis Decriminalization) Amendment Act 2017However, the law does not legalize the “consumption, cultivation, distribution, or importation of cannabis.”