Governor Will Not Give Assent To Cannabis Bill

September 6, 2022 | 29 Comments

[Updated] “I have now received an instruction, issued to me on Her Majesty’s behalf, not to Assent to the Bill as drafted,” Governor Rena Lalgie said today in reference to the Cannabis Bill.

No assent Sept 22 bda

Background

In May this year, the Governor confirmed that she will “reserve Assent” of the Cannabis Licensing Bill 2022, adding that she will “notify the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs.”

For Bills to become law in Bermuda, they must first pass in Parliament and then be granted Assent by the UK-appointed Governor, and it is highly unusual for Assent to not be granted.

Today’s Statement

In a statement today, Governor Lalgie said, “I previously announced that I had reserved the Cannabis Licensing Bill 2022 [PDF] for the signification of Her Majesty’s pleasure under Section 35 (2) of The Bermuda Constitution.

“I have now received an instruction, issued to me on Her Majesty’s behalf, not to Assent to the Bill as drafted. The Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs concluded that the Bill, as currently drafted, is not consistent with obligations held by the UK and Bermuda under the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs and the 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances.

“I have informed the Premier and relayed the UK’s continued desire to work with Bermuda on reforms within the scope of our existing international obligations.”

We have asked Government for a response, and will update as able.

Attorney-General’s Response

Update 6.47pm: “Disappointing but not surprising, given the confines of our constitutional relationship with the UK Government and their archaic interpretation of the Narcotic Conventions,” Attorney-General Kathy Lynn Simmons said.

“The people of Bermuda have democratically expressed their desire for a regulated cannabis licensing regime following the strong endorsement at the ballot box and an extensive public consultation process.”

“The Government of Bermuda intends to continue to advance this initiative, within the full scope of its constitutional powers, in keeping with our 2020 General Election Platform commitment.”

OBA’s Response

Updated 7.04pm: Shadow Minister for Home Affairs & Legal Affairs Scott Pearman said, “In April, the Opposition was asked to comment on the likelihood of Premier Burt’s flagship Cannabis Bill becoming law.

“At that time, we said this: ‘Given the UK’s international convention obligations, there must be a high likelihood that the Governor will not grant Royal Assent – so this Bill will not likely become law.’

“With the UK’s clear and existing obligations, we also asked at that time: was it Premier Burt’s intention to have this Bill fail from the start?

“Today, the Governor has indeed confirmed that the PLP Bill has been rejected.

“I would also respectfully remind the Public that although this Bill was one of Premier Burt’s flagship initiatives, almost half of his PLP MPs did not vote for the Bill. The Bill was also twice defeated in the Senate.

“The Opposition has consistently described this as a bad bill. It was deeply flawed – no matter what position you hold on the cannabis debate, this particular Bill was not for you.

“The Premier has been well aware of the UK’s Treaty Obligations throughout. His own Attorney-General pointed out the UK’s treaty obligations in Parliament when the Bill was debated the first time in February 2021.

“The Premier then stated publicly in November 2021 that he had no intention of tailoring his Bill to satisfy the UK’s conventions obligations.

“So, it was David Burt’s choice to steam ahead as he did, rather than seek consensus and compromise.

“It should come as no surprise to anyone that Royal Assent has not been granted on this Bill. And it should certainly not surprise Premier Burt.”

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Comments (29)

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  1. Later says:

    This is not the time to destroy our relationship with the UK. Let’s just work together. We need to focus on getting g our economy stronger and tackle crime and a failing education system. Priorities Bermuda and a fight with the UK is not one of them.

    • Will says:

      Well as most crime is either directly or indirectly linked to the war on drugs I’d say it’s high time to fight to legalise drugs. I do however agree that not picking a direct fight with the UK and ruining our rights as British citizens is the best way to go about it.

      • question says:

        In other jurisdictions it has not had the effect of reducing crime. Far from it.

        • saud says:

          Yes it has. See Portugal for an example.
          You’re typically ignorant. You have no facts, just a big mouth.

    • Tone says:

      As a UK citizen, I’m telling you don’t waste your time.
      Just go for independence, UK doesn’t deserve your loyalty.

  2. puzzled says:

    Good for you Girl.

  3. sandgrownan says:

    Well, what people forget about this despite Burt’s blurting and huffing and puffing, is that the bill as presented didn’t have broad support amongst MP’s and the Senate. The Senate voted against it, and in the House is only won by 18-6….where were the other 12…abstentions or no shows?

    Why is that?

    Almost half of Burt’s PLP MPs did not vote for the Bill. The Bill was also twice defeated in the Senate. Why?

  4. GOOD says:

    hang on a second, i dont recall voting or being asked to vote on this issue, and when i “went to the polls” on election day this was certainly not my reason. The AG certainly is NOT speaking on my behalf. Perhaps Comrade Burt will review how Canada achieved the rights. Somehow doubt it with his arrogant approach however

  5. Move on says:

    The Givernor is guided by UK law. They rarely spoil their holidays by challenging or fighting fir anything so leave it alone and tackle the big issues on the horizon. We can meet and have a smoke about it but I have never touched it and never will.

  6. Move on says:

    The Governor is guided by UK law. They rarely spoil their holidays by challenging or fighting for anything so leave it alone and tackle the big issues on the horizon. We can meet and have a smoke about it but I have never touched it and never will.

  7. Unknown800k says:

    Egomeir will get some digital ganja

  8. Ringmaster says:

    “The people of Bermuda have democratically expressed their desire for a regulated cannabis licensing regime following the strong endorsement at the ballot box and an extensive public consultation process.”

    Absolute rubbish. The voters never voted for or against this, the PLP in the HoA was divided 50/50, no doubt the church vote is against it, and the Senate voted No.

    With the Delegates Conference coming up it will be interesting to see what the Premier does. He’s on his own here and won’t take a chance of alienating his support base. Political suicide is on the cards.

  9. William says:

    I did ‘t ask UK permission…I simply stated that there are many reason for it …revinue , taxes Heavens sake we might be able to purchase food before it spoils in the grocery stores….or maybe even petrol for your vehicle…tourism will rise but mostly I see export….we need this revenue. I say step aside or get out of the way .Also please keep your Sabre happy bad boy in check,

    • saud says:

      LOL…export….once again, Bermuda is late to the party and too expensive.

      You have nothing but pink sand! LMFAO

    • LOL - the real one says:

      Seriously? WOW! Marijuana toursim! Tax revenue! Export! Show me the math to support your claims. Thank you.

      • Dejavu says:

        Look at every single country that has legalized weed idiot lol. Canada, America, Australia, Thailand, Portugal, Germany the list goes on. Bermuda is behind the times because it’s a church state run by people who barely leave their parishes much less the country. Keep old way doing things and Bermuda will become Jamaica in no time. Thank God me and my family have left

        • Joe Bloggs says:

          “Look at every single country that has legalized weed idiot lol. Canada, America, Australia, Thailand, Portugal, Germany …”

          You might want to check your facts. Only one of those countries (Canada) has legalised weed. But don’t let the facts get in the way of a good argument.

        • LOL - the real one says:

          Show me the math. Show me the math. Waiting, waiting…
          It is already a matter of public record that the social costs and damages far outweigh any preceived “benefits.” Illegal drug dealing is doing great. State & local taxes and fees make illegal marijuana purchases less expensive. Drug cartels love legalization!

          Illegal growers in California and other states are using up water and polluting streams with fertilizer runoff. People are still being robbed of money to pay for drugs. People are still being killed in turf wars. But hey, did you move somewhere that sells weed cheaper than you can get in Bermuda? (sarcasm)

    • Hey says:

      Export, you are in la la land. Cost to produce here and export would make it far too expensive to buy overseas.

  10. Vortex says:

    So what you gonna do about it Burt?

    Everyone knows you are a fraud and this is Independence driven. I’m so sick of your arrogance.

  11. Aurora says:

    Mummy said no.

  12. Joe Bloggs says:

    “I have now received an instruction, issued to me on Her Majesty’s behalf, not to Assent to the Bill as drafted. The Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs concluded that the Bill, as currently drafted, is not consistent with obligations held by the UK and Bermuda under the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs and the 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances.”

    Let’s look at what Her Excellency actually said.

    She said she will not assent to the Bill *as drafted*. She did not say that she would never assent to such a Bill.

    She said that the Bill is *not consistent* with Bermuda’s obligations under 2 separate international conventions.

    The PLP Government has passed a Bill that it knew was inconsistent with its international obligations.

    This is not the PLP Government thumbing its nose at the U.K. This is the PLP Government thumbing its nose at the rest of the world!

  13. sandgrownan says:

    “The people of Bermuda have democratically expressed their desire for a regulated cannabis licensing regime following the strong endorsement at the ballot box and an extensive public consultation process.”

    Er, no they didn’t.

  14. MR egomier, has got to get the votes in some how.

    Bermuda wont be polluted with the cars but by ganja smoke. I am sure my newborn child will be pleased to smell it when he/she is born. I wont know if the baby is sick or HIGH

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