Estimated $2.6M Sent Overseas For Cannabis

May 14, 2014

Last year Bermuda sent an estimated $2.6 million abroad to pay for cannabis, according to the report from the Cannabis Reform Collaborative [CRC] which was tabled in the House of Assembly last Friday.

The report recommended that Government should “decriminalize personal possession and personal cultivation immediately,” and “develop a phased approach to cannabis reform…”

The 137-report covers a wide range of topics relating to the possible ramifications of decriminalizing cannabis, and speaking on the economic impact, the report said the illegal status of cannabis deprives the government of tax revenues as well as causes Government to spend millions on supply reduction efforts.

The report said there is an estimated revenue of $6 million annually with cannabis, and if it was legalized, a 15% sales tax on the estimated market would translate to an annual income of $932,696.

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The report said, “The majority of all cannabis consumed in Bermuda is imported. This creates a large outflow of funds from Bermuda to supplier countries as payment for the drugs.

“As a result, cannabis like many imported goods, offers a diminished benefit to the local economy and by extension funds available to stimulate economic activity.

“In 2013 based on the average wholesale price per pound from Canada, United Kingdom and US, Bermuda sent an estimated $2.6 million abroad to pay for cannabis.

“Unlike some other important goods, cost effective local production of cannabis appears to be viable. At the current stated police prices of $50 per gram or $600 per ounce there is significant potential to grow cannabis locally at a competitive price.

“This would drive down and possibly eliminate competition from importation, without compromising supply and quality, creating a self-sustaining closed loop and entirely local market, where all related funds remain on island.

“The impact of cannabis prohibition on government finances is most obvious in supply reduction efforts. With cannabis offences representing 68.8% of all offences in 2012 and a total budget of $7.4 million allocated to supply reduction, approximately $5.1 million could be applicable to reducing cannabis supply. The supply reduction costs are split between the police service and an inter-agency border control unit.

“There were 1,205 persons tried for cannabis related offences from 2006 – 2011; on average 200 per year. This contributed to total cannabis law enforcement cost related to the courts and prosecutors office.

“Based on an estimate to the order of $10,000 per trial total and 1205 trials, costs over this time period were roughly $2 million annually. More money is spent incarcerating people convicted of cannabis offences.

“Furthermore, the illegal status of cannabis deprives the government of the tax revenues it would have received if cannabis were legal. If legalized cannabis could be could be charged a sin tax, like tobacco and alcohol. There is also the lost revenue for licensing, permits, payroll tax and any other taxes applicable to the trade.

“If there were a 15% sales tax on the $6.2 million market that would translate to income of $932,696. The current prohibition of cannabis leave the government to spend money enforcing the laws while it is deprived of the possible income had the cannabis trade been legal.

“The illegal status of cannabis creates a black market economy with upwards of 3,000 users and roughly estimated revenue of $6 million annually.”

The full report from the Cannabis Reform Collaborative follows below [PDF here]:

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Comments (56)

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  1. Bob Barker says:

    Yep, let’s legalize a substance that will poison our children because it will provide income to a government that is intent on wasting money.

    Have another puff…

    • Betty Dump says:

      You are right. So lets make alcohol illegal while at it.

      • DarkSideofTheMoon says:

        Exactly…and cigs

      • Bob Barker says:

        What a fabulous argument… alcohol isn’t good for us and we have that, so why not marijuana? Using that logic we should also decriminalize cocaine (not good for us) and the rest of the drugs.

        I would be in favour of making alcohol illegal… but, I realize that isn’t going to happen so I live with the fact that it’s out there. That doesn’t mean that because we’ve made one societal mistake (think tobacco as well) that we should make another one.

        If you need marijuana or alcohol to be happy you’ve got serious issues that won’t be solved by either of those substances.

        • You're onto something says:

          We should decriminalize cocaine and the rest of the drugs, because taking a substance is not inherently criminal. Taking a substance in a private dwelling should not be criminal. Taking a substance that impairs driving ability and driving should be criminal. The same rules that apply for alcohol can apply to the other drugs as well.

          • Argument says:

            The problem with your logic is that you forget about the consequences. Who pays for and deals with the unborn child of the ignorant that does drugs in their private dwelling? Who pays for and deals with the drama and police intervention needed when you are “tripping” and you can’t remember the next day? Who is going to deal with the homeless, the wasted, the addicted. I’m tired of doing the right thing and paying for everyone else’s F’ups already? Grow up, stop using and try and see the big picture here?

        • Realist says:

          Bob Barker needs to stick his head in the sand like all the rest of the bias idiots who don’t realise the true benefits of legalization. If your kids start sniffing glue next should we make glue illegal, or smoking Hibiscus becomes popular should we ban Hibiscus cultivation. People like this haven’t the slightest clue of how to prevent their kids from taking drugs, so here it is {You Cant} people will experiment with or use whatever they like and government’s prevention methods will never work and only keep us back as a society of logical thinking people. So Bob Barker your kids will continue to smoke weed as long as THE PRICE IS RIGHT.

        • Keepin' it Real!...4Real! says:

          why are you still talking..? your opinions are like gone in the wind…people stopped saying s#!t like that…people say s#!t like that when they really have nothing to say …geesh

          • Bob Barker says:

            Bunch of potheads on this island… pardon me.

            Forget me and my healthy lifestyle even spoke

            - but please do take a count of the wall-sitting brown-bag (now toke toting) indicators of our healthy society now and compare it to post-decriminalization when their numbers will increase exponentially. Our island will look mighty respectable… the pot-smoking tourists who will undoubtedly shell out $600 a night to stay at our hotels and $100 a restaurant meal will join them I’m sure… they always have lots of money left over after buying their weed.

            (insert sarcasm where appropriate)

            • Keepin' it Real!...4Real! says:

              Bob…how did you get in here..? who let you in..? lol

            • And you lost me says:

              Do you really think that people who otherwise did not smoke weed will suddenly start if its decriminalized? Then you are truly naive.

            • healing of the world says:

              but you would take a Tylenol when you have a headache???? Or you would give your child some cough syrup?????

              • jah jah says:

                Without knowing the ingridents/ substances in it! Herb has 1 ingrident! Jah Jah

                • Argument says:

                  Not modern day herb? Do some research!

            • Sara says:

              Like alcohol and cigs, it would be illegal to sell to children if legalized. And the FACT is that children can get weed very easily because it is being sold by drug dealers who don’t care how old their customer is. Does this make sense at all to you?

        • Voice of the People says:

          Alcohol and Weed are two completely different entities. Name 3 people who’ve died from using Marijuana and then Name 3 who have died from Alcohol. then you can comment back

    • Paradise Reclaimed says:

      Prohibition is a failed model. From the forbidden fruit to cocaine, it is impossible to control or regulate anything that is prohibited. Now pass that Bob over here…

    • King Jammys says:

      Have another drink Bob…………

    • Huh says:

      And what is alcohol and which is worse a drunk person or an irie person huh.. Idiot

    • BOB MARLEY says:

      first of all …. **** you “Bob Barker” you are quite stupid to think that a substance with medical properties should not be decriminalized. how could you possibly compare that to cocaine.

    • Sara says:

      Like alcohol and cigs, it would be illegal to sell to children if legalized. And the FACT is that children can get weed very easily because it is being sold by drug dealers who don’t care how old their customer is. Does this make sense at all to you?

  2. Abc123 says:

    We’ll done on the report! Those statistics speak loud words.

    LEGALIZE IT! Not only will it help bermuda financially but it will be a major blow to these ignorant gangs financials….BPS will have more time to crack down on the drugs that really mess ppl up like heroine. And I won’t have to risk getting jumped or robbed by the very same people I have to keep buyin my herb from (kyber pass, ord road, middle town, etc.). I would much rather just go into a store and purchase it legally and contribute to my country in taxes instead of putting money in these ignorant fools pockets! And yes, you could say, “just stop smoking” but…..we all know that won’t happen. Herb is a good thing and is not going anywhere!

  3. Craig Clinton says:

    2.6 million.

    That is so dumb. I know I don’t have to read.that report as its clear they can’t add.

    Maybe they meant 26 million. 2.6 is waaaaaaaaaaay too low!

    • Alex Jones says:

      It was virtually impossible to know the true size of the market in Bermuda and we used several different ways to estimate it.

      You’ll note if you look beyond the headlines our report suggested a wide range of estimates of the total market size.

    • Concerned Citizen says:

      I agree. It’s way too low. Let’s say the avg price is 1000usd/pound. 2.6million equates to 2600 pounds……per year…..maybe it’s per parish!

      • Argument says:

        Yet people argue that its not addictive? What dumb*** would waste a large chunk of their hard earned money “to escape” for awhile. And by the way I no longer drink or smoke.

  4. The Grand Architect of the Universe says:

    it is a crime to deprive a human of medicine that can heal, save, and better his life. cannabis is proven to treat and cure 300+ diseases etc. the pharmaceutical industry suppressed it.

    cannabis should never have been made illegal, and should by human right, be allowed to be grown and used medicinally and recreationally.

    Recreational use is preventative medicine, as it is proven that cannabis used every day can keep cancer at bay and prevent it from forming.

    without these cannanaboid levels in the body, cancer forms under these conditions. proven! the reason we have all bene dying of cancer in the last decades is because our bodies have been deprived of the natural cannaboids that prevent cancer development.

    they have literally been killing us off slowly.

    time to stand up for our rights. the cure for cancer has been here all along. How can the cure for cancer be illegal in any form? how many MILLIONS of people we know personally would be alive if they had this medicine, instead of being pumped full of poison and radiation? how many people suffer the 300+ diseases that could be treated or cured with cannabis?

    how many people donate millions and billions for cancer research when they knew decades ago the cure for cancer was cannabis?

    did you know mankind evolved alongside cannabis and our systems work together?

    • Ace girl says:

      Delusional! Are you saying that these drug companies would not have captilized on the big dollars if cannabis cured cancer. It is sheer nonsense and please don’t advise on websites, you can put anything you like on the Internet. By the way folks tobacco that you all decry is a natural product and the majority of alcoholic beverages are derived from plants and fruits. Why not legalize poppy seeds when you are at it, they are natural .

      • Keepin' it Real!...4Real! says:

        hey ace girl …poppy seeds are in poppyseed muffins…the other items you mentioned unfortunately are processed by man to produce the end result…maybe you should see the advised websites with an open mind, then make your decisions…i can see you don’t know much about Big Pharma…

      • jah jah says:

        Ace girl you do know that drug companies dont cure ppl they treat ppl. Cure ppl is not big money keeping them sick and feeding off of their hopes is #BIGMONEY

        • Argument says:

          Name one person that was cured from dope? Or are they treated?

      • Future says:

        So ace girl..heads up…it does cure Cancer n it also helps with MS..the drug companies wouldnt tell u it does so u can keep buying their asprin, tylenol, therapy n so on…its all about makin a buck…you go to the dr to get treated they send u hospital($400)…the hospital checks u out that’s($1200) just to b checked in…after all the expensive treatments there is nothing else they cwn do sonu die….n its sad I know but that’s how it is…MAKE MORE MONEY PRETENDING TO SAVE YOU WHILE WAITING FOR YOU TO DIE..

  5. daddyluv says:

    Bob if only u had a clue that a herb is not poison why are u not complaining about cigarette or alcohol

  6. Always Watching says:

    Well I have to agree with Craig. There is a hell of a lot more money being made than 2.6 million. That being said, the revenue for the country would be awesome and despite the figures their are a hell of a lot more the 3,000 people in bermuda that smoke mary jane. Not to mention the medical benifts. Come on Bermuda grow up!!!

    • jah jah says:

      Would say 20- 25 thousand smoke on a day 2 day basis

  7. These projections are modest….you will have visitors purchasing…..hell….you will have visitors….there is far more revinue …far….far…more…..

  8. pabear says:

    bob before opening mouth you need to remove head from a** cause that is pure s*** your talking if the body has an endocannabinoid system there stand to reason there would be cannabinoid out there for it to use just like how we get all those other drugs big phram. pushes down our thoats

  9. pabear says:

    hey ace girl you need to follow advice giving to bob wtf big pharm into cures my ass they only like to treat so we the people pay out right into death that why no cannabis because to easy for all to benefit and profit

  10. US Observer in Pink Sand says:

    Bermuda should have been ahead of the pack a long time ago. At least this topic has movement and there is actual conversation. Stop waiting to see what our close allies (THE US) does and make the best decisions that is best for the island. The US has made the path…all Bermuda has to do is follow it; its quite easy. Violence due to “weed” in Bermuda will either slow down or cease eventually for various reason. Yes, grow up Bermuda. This is the 21st century and its time. Watch tourism increase to levels we once knew and remember.

    • jah jah says:

      Bermuda should have been the front runner for renewable energy too!

  11. LOL (Original TM*) says:

    Thats 2.6 out of the Bermuda economy due to the “war” on drugs should be called the war on smaller countries trying to make it

    LOL

  12. sage says:

    68%+ of all offenses are for herb, who would have known? $5.1 million spent per year to stop it (could be more), trials costing $10,000 plus the myriad interdiction, mis education, prevention and incarceration costs, the savings would be huge. No need for 15% tax to stifle and hobble what would be a new “industry” for just over 900 grand? Think of it as incentive for business, furthermore high tax has maintained the black markets’ existence through greed. Why is something that has now been proven to be far less harmful than legal drugs in need of “sin tax”? Ganja doesn’t kill people. Raise tax on the deadly ones and make them unaffordable while allowing people to have a far safer alternative. Also, violence is due to the war against herb, certainly not due to the herb itself.

  13. Keepin' it Real!...4Real! says:

    Save ya a$$ premier legalize cultivation immediately…i wanna see bob barker have a hemorrhoid attack…lol

  14. ya boy says:

    Lets have a vote. Bet u see way more voter come out and u know whos going to win. 420 all day lets have it!!!

  15. don’t like it, don’t want it, don’t need it, keep it illegal.

    • Keepin' it Real!...4Real! says:

      u dont like it …u dont want it…u dont need it…but yet u want a say in its existence…ok gotcha.

    • Come Correct says:

      Then don’t use it, that’s your choice. Choice is what little freedom we have left but you feel no way about denying others their freedom of choice? The funniest thing is, forget cigarettes and alcohol, if you buy drinks from a gas station, boxed, canned, or instant foods from the grocery store, coffee, synthetic drugs from a pharmacy or anything that has a TV commercial…the manufacturers selling to you as a consumer are killing you faster than marijuana ever could…and the FDA approves these things for human consumption yet you feel you have the right to dictate what people can put into their bodies because of your views. Go sit in the corner for 5 mins and think about what you said.

  16. Bob Barker, you keep right on speaking your mind. Agree especially with your first remarks. Using the already destructive “legal” substances as an excuse to “legalize” the destructive use of another substance is foolish. And to hide behind the medical benefits when you know that most will use it for recreational purposes is foolish. Smoking is NOT natural. I choose not to smoke (cigarettes, marijuana WHATEVER) but I really have no choice because, standing at the bus stop, catching the ferry, walking down the street, eating outside in the “fresh air” , I am forced to smoke because of the “choices” of others. And we all know the harmful effects of second-hand smoke. I choose not to drink, but we are all forced to suffer the consequences of those who choose to do so, particularly those who choose to abuse. So, again, I have no choice.

    What happened to self-accountability and consequences for actions? Just because it’s a hard lesson to learn doesn’t make it wrong. My concerns about the ‘racial’ issue is this – if there is such a high percentage of blacks who are convicted for possession, please answer this…..are they guilty? Did they have it? Isn’t it against the law? Shouldn’t our black families get on their youngsters for breaking the law rather than get upset because they got caught? Shouldn’t we be teaching them to make good choices because, like the good choices, the bad ones will follow them for the rest of their lives? Aren’t we taking a “if you can’t beat ‘em join ‘em” attitude?

    For the record, I am a black Bermudian, married with children whom I have taught that their body is The Lord’s temple and they treat themselves as such. Whether they choose to adopt my teaching will ultimately be their choice, but I will teach them to respect themselves.

    Bermuda, we are lowering our standards and prostituting ouselves for money and we better be careful. Once this horse has been let out of the stable, it will run for the hills and there will be no turning back.

  17. PANGAEA says:

    You can make all the arguments and caveats for mind altering Non prescription drugs you want.

    Let me warn all of you.

    Sooner, or later, those products will destroy this Country, just like Alcohol and Tobacco is presently doing .

  18. cybercop says:

    As a former user who started smoking at 13 (way too young) and suffered from memory lost and lost of ambition (could not concentrate)the ‘jury’ is still out for me. As for healing; the healing properties in cannabis are not ingested by smoking the ‘righteous herb’ in my opinion, for I lost a brother to lung cancer as he started around the same time as I did,I stopped after 7 years and he died recently after smoking it for over forty years, and 2 bouts of cancer the last being fatal.(Did Bob Marley die of brain cancer?)So I reiterate smoking it is not a cure for cancer.Right now I’m leaning towards the recommendations of the study, because the horse is already out of the stable, world wide! However I would want to do all with in my power to keep it out of the hands of children as in my opinion,from experience, it will impede the development of their brain.I would strongly recommend if we go that route, that much heavier penalties be levied on heroin and coke possession in any form. There would have to be stringent rules in place to ‘KEEP CANNABIS OUT OF THE HANDS OF CHILDREN ! Now we all know what goes on in Universities, (Clinton,Obama and thousands of other politicians and professionals both here and abroad) but at least they had a chance to let their brain develop, I can’t reiterate that enough. So that’s my 2 cents after reading the report, and my experience growing up with it, literally. (All my other friends from youth, growing up are dead, from that aids epidemic when they went to shooting dope and sharing needles when the ganga dried up/ flight from JA was canceled…..I’m just saying….!

  19. Voter (original) says:

    “Last year Bermuda sent an estimated $2.6 million abroad to pay for cannabis”…… “Residents returning to the island declared overseas purchases valued at $3.5 million during March 2014″. No big fuss about the second quote, also from Bernews,, which hurts those trying to keep Bermudians legally employed, but hey, let’s legalize drugs to keep that bit of money here…. Don’t hear people moaning about the huge markups on your local dealers prices for a Baggie but hell to pay on a local retailer who is also carrying pension, health and other costs your local pusher is probably not carrying.

  20. Yeti says:

    Once you replace negative thoughts with positive ones you’ll start having positive results…
    Willy Nelson

  21. Yeti says:

    Just take the money…legalise it…..do something good with the money……think of all the good you can do with it…the actual revinue would be vastly more than any estimate due to increase of visitors.All dat money…..money is good….money is good….money is good…your eye lids are gettin heavey….money is good….you can feel your eye lids gettin heavy….money is good…….you can no longer keep your eyes open….they close….breath deeply let yourself relax….you are drifting off but willhear my voice…money is good…marijuanna is good…money is good…..think of all the good things you can do with the money……….you love the yeti…er….money is good….you want to give food to the yeti….money is good marijuanna is good…when the bill goes house of assembly you will vote yes ……i will now count to ten…on hearing ten you will wake…when you wake you will have an overwhel.ing urge to frolic with yeti….we will make many little yeties….money is good …marijuanna is good….1-2-3-4-5-6-….7-8…9….10!