LICENSING provisions, medicinal cannabis and cannabis for religious purposes are some of the aspects the Joint Select Committee (JSC) on the Cannabis Control Bill will be looking at.
The explanatory note of the bill says it is to provide for the regulatory control of the handling of cannabis for certain purposes, the establishment of the Cannabis Licensing Authority and connected matters. The authority will advise on national policies, grant licences and determine the terms and conditions, and enforce compliance as well as establishing and maintaining a register of licences.
Under the current version of the bill licences will be issued for a number of medicinal, therapeutic and scientific purposes.
The types of licences are: cultivator, research and development, laboratory, retail distributor, import, export and transport. The authority can also issue licences for religious purposes.
Part V of the bill stipulates that a person who uses medicinal cannabis without being authorised by a prescription or recommendation from a medical practitioner commits an offence and is liable on conviction on indictment to a fine of $100,000 and to imprisonment for ten years.
The parent or guardian of a patient who is a child must obtain a certificate in writing from a medical practitioner certifying that the medicinal cannabis is necessary in the case of that child, or the person commits an offence and faces the same fine and imprisonment as someone who uses it without a prescription.
Part VI of the bill says the controller of a religious organisation which is permitted to handle cannabis under a licence is not allowed to engage in any sale, supply or other transaction for commercial benefit. Anyone who contravenes this is liable on summary conviction to a fine of $10,000 and to imprisonment for six months.
The authority will also establish an inspection programme to monitor compliance with the requirements of the act.
The bill was scheduled to be debated together with the Dangerous Drugs (Amendment) Bill but was sent to a JSC.
The first bill, which decriminalised cannabis in small quantities, was passed, proclaimed and went into effect on Monday.
The members of the JSC are Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi, National Security Minister Stuart Young, Minister in the Ministry of the Attorney General and Legal Affairs Fitzgerald Hinds and Opposition MPs Dr Tim Gopeesingh and Rushton Parray. The JSC is scheduled to report to Parliament by February 29.