Customs Clarifies Rules, Hemp Products Letter

August 11, 2017

The Customs Department said there has been no change in policy regarding the import prohibition on cannabis, cannabis resin or cannabinoids, and confirmed they sent a letter to traders earlier this month that “simply restates the effect of the relevant legal provisions.”

This follows after discussion in which one store was said to be throwing away food and other items containing hemp.

The letter sent to traders, dated August 2nd 2017, said, “It has come to the attention of the Collector of Customs that a variety of food and beverage preparations and beauty and skin care products purporting to contain hemp protein, hemp seed or hemp oil are on offer for sale in certain local retail shops.

“The presence of these products on shop shelves notwithstanding, we would remind all customs traders that the importation of A] any part of the cannabis plant [except fibre produced from the stalk of the plant], B] cannabis resin; or C] natural or synthetic cannabinoids [such as Cannabidiol CBD] is prohibited by law.

“lmportations of goods or products containing these substances are subject to forfeiture and those responsible for the importation may be liable to penalties or imprisonment. For the avoidance of doubt ‘cannabis plant’ includes the hemp plant or industrial hemp plant.

“Should any customs officer have reasonable grounds to suspect that any imported goods contain any of the substances listed above, those goods will be detained and forwarded to the Bermuda Police Service for investigation.”

Screenshot from the letter sent to customs traders earlier this month:

1-Fullscreen capture 8112017 71130 PM (2) border

In response to Bernews queries, the Department of Customs said, “The Collector of Customs has taken note of certain concerns expressed on social media regarding a letter dated 2nd August 2017 to all customs traders concerning the importation of goods containing cannabis, cannabis resin or cannabinoids.

“The Collector wishes to dispel any possible misunderstanding concerning the content of that letter. To that end a copy of that letter is enclosed herewith.

“The Collector confirms that there has been no change in Customs policy regarding the import prohibition on cannabis, cannabis resin or cannabinoids.

“The letter simply restates the effect of the relevant legal provisions, and sets out what importers of products containing these substances might expect for any breach of the law. For the avoidance of doubt, no advice has been issued to importers by the Customs Department regarding any such products already on the shelves of local shops.

“Any questions concerning the importation or exportation of prohibited or restricted goods may be sent by email to Information on import and export prohibitions and restrictions has been published on the Government Portal,”

The letter sent to customs traders follows below [PDF here]:

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Comments (32)

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  1. sage says:

    Idiotic law that needs to be abolished or repealed, we allow, encourage, endorse and profit from the importation of cancer sticks and devils’ soup, drugs that sicken and kill more than all illegal drugs combined, yet those in authority think they are clever.

  2. Ben S says:

    Was any thought given to communicating to the public at large at the same time as the warning letter was sent to businesses? There are thousands of people in Bermuda who shop online and import their own products. one would hope that ZERO resources are being dedicated to seizing any of the hundreds of hemp products available for purchase. To think, as a taxpayer that my taxes could be paying to seize hemp shower gel and waste the time of the police and government analyst is outrageous. I suspect that this is not even the lowest priority on the Police radar, what prompted Customs to put effort into this? I don’t recall an increase in crime due to hemp lotion being available at stores here.

    • VJ says:

      The funny thing is, don’t these products have to bypass Customs in order to get on the shelves in the first place? Unless merchants are smuggling these goods in, Customs is allowing people to import them.

      • fu says:

        Bermudians allow their MPs to import anything they want…see recent history for an example.

  3. The Original Truth™ says:

    This law shows how ignorant to the facts of cannabis law makers who made the law are. As of 2015 the hemp industry estimated that annual sales of hemp products were around US$580 million annually; hemp seeds have been the major force driving this growth.Hemp grade cannabis is a filler in many products. There is no way to tell what products the seeds and leaves have been used for since most will not test positive for the psychoactive substance in the hemp grade form.

  4. shàke my h3ad says:

    So will they, the police be taking rhese products off the shelves or do we expect customs officers to be busting grocrery store lol, but if i did it i be behind bars in a instant……6 in the morning be a wake up call, but hey im not tje guy lol

    • sage says:

      Don’t flush your hemp shake yet. What they are saying is hemp products are still perfectly legal, products made from psychoactive cannabis (a,b and c above) are still illegal to import. I’m still saying this defies logic, common sense and the scientific facts.

      • The Original Truth™ says:

        Nope your wrong.

        What they’ve said is “any part of the cannabis plant [except fibre produced from the stalk of the plant]” is prohibited.

        Hemp shakes are made from hemp seed milk which is a part of a cannabis plant that is not fiber produced from the stalk of the plant. Hemp is still cannabis just with a lower THC content than other strains so essentially hemp milk from the seeds is illegal.

        • sage says:

          So why have people been buying and selling hemp products for years and no one has ever been charged or convicted?

  5. Whimsical says:

    So are you saying that Customs hasn’t been doing their job PROPERLY…considering the products are already here on island….SMH….why the call all of a sudden?.

  6. Onlyinbda says:

    Bermuda is another place… a place full of people that lack knowledge, consideration, and respect. We as people and leaders on this island need to do more research on the topic before you comsider the actions.. this is not an illegal product! Pay attention Bermuda.. you will lose a huge fanbase that can lower our economy real fast.

    • Ya... says:

      It’s not just weed…The other day I tried to buy some Aleve…Pharmacist said its legal in the US and UK, but is a prescription here in Bermuda. Wtf?

  7. B. Monk says:

    Yes, this law needs to be updated asap. The medical worth of CBD has been proven and Bermudians cannot benefit from it due to thus law

    • sage says:

      The medical worth of the ganja plant, and its ‘entourage effect’ are a reality, CBD has its place (like Dravets Syndrome in children) but some people feel it’s necessary to separate THC which they perceive wrongly, to be bad, when it is a key ingredient.

  8. Real Deal says:

    PLP please fix this! Amend the 60 – 40 law and get these products on our shelves. I personally don’t take any man made painkillers pills and feel that everyone should get to choose what they put in their bodies.

    All over the world big and small companies are contaminating our food and water supplies for profit so I grow my own. I want to grow my own painkillers too.

    • Once Upon A Time says:

      You are 100% correct! Legalize it, already.

    • SETrojan says:

      The new Govn’t has been in office for about one and a half days. anybody expecting the law to change in that time period is smoking a lot of Hemp!!!

      And every law that gets passed in the U.S.A is not neceesarily gonna get passed here. I read one writer say “its not illegal”, I have to assume he means elsewhere cause its still illegal here!

      In addition,

      • K2121 says:

        Which is why he said “please fix this” not “why haven’t you fixed this”

  9. Skeptical says:

    A)someone tells on all the stores that have hemp products
    B)Customs sends letter enforcing law
    C)Stores remove all products
    D)Law is repealed by Government
    E)Person who did A) brings in products to sell

  10. J.R. Smith says:

    But yet they allow us to purchase cigarettes, alcohol, medication for sexual enhancements. If y’all think for one minute they care about your health you’re dead wrong. Its all about the $$$$.

  11. KushHippie says:

    They need to do some more research to fully understand the most versatile & harmless plant in the world because CBD is not a synthetic cannabiniod. Also CBD is not psychoactive like THC which gives you the euphoric experience . The main medical benefits of cannabis are found in the CBD canabiniods such as CBC:cannabichromene & CBN:cannabinol is a few of many natural cannabiniods that is bio-metrically produced in all strains of cannabis.

    • sage says:

      Cannabis has the perfect blend of cannabinoids which complement each other and work in harmony, CBD rich strains are better for some things and THC rich strains are better for others, Sanjay Gupta basically did an ad for the Stanley brothers hawking their Charlottes Web strain and since ‘getting high’ and enjoying euphoria has been demonized for so long people fall for this style of BS marketing. Free the plant in all its forms from any type of civil or criminal penalty and let the people decide what is best for them.

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

    I just really can’t wrap my brain around the ignorance of the people in power…There is more scientific evidence readily available about the Pros of cannibus than the Cons… although much is suppressed… for their consumption YET they act like they do not know anything other than what is handed to them by the notorious AMA…FDA and of course the biggest criminal Dept of all the DEA.

    as long as this natural substance is kept illegal and generates a large revenue for “some” which unequivocally is the Govt. and the Importer…keep persecuting the consumer and ruining their lives with a criminal record for a victimless crime…

    They even promote alcohol with the song “Bermudians love to drink”…and they ALL seem to love it.

    Incase you didnt know…more Bermudians love to smoke than Jamaicans per comparisons.

    “Herb”…the healing of a nation…

  13. Toodle-oo says:

    They better not ban my favorite hemp based body wash . Even the royal family is jealous of the fine porcelain look it imparts to my commoner’s flesh AND as a bonus I get the munchies after a shower .

    • K2121 says:

      Mind sharing the name of it? Don’t be selfish lol

  14. David says:

    It’s time we excercise our power again. If the powers that be in control do not relax the law on this plant……then it’s time for the citizens to stop buying all other forms of poison. Alcohol, cigarettes, and all other imported unnatural drugs should be left to expire on store shelves and warehouses. Watch how fast things change.

  15. Sara says:

    I can’t believe that our government is blocking access for Bermudians to have healthy super nutritious hemp products which in no way can remotely possibly get anyone high. This is a disgusting waste of food and products. And meanwhile lots of vegans and non vegans rely on hemp protein powder to get nutrition. This is so backwards compared to what is going on in the rest of the world. Meanwhile Bermuda has plenty of crack and heroine going around keeping the gangs rich and powerful. Bermuda can’t even keep drugs out of their tiny a.. jail and they want to take away people’s hemp???? This should be a call to protest!

  16. Jen says:

    Individuals can apply for a license to import any of these products. I would suggest vegans or vegetarians, especially those allergic to soya, make a request to their doctor to write a supporting letter. It is a very longwinded process but unfortunately necessary if people want to continue benefiting from this plant.

    • Sara says:

      Yes, great to know that Bermuda has their priorities straight! SMH

    • sage says:

      Or people could simply demand the law be abolished.