Cannabis Reform Saga Continues In Bermuda
Bermuda was on a path to making significant cannabis policy reforms this year. However, all of the progress hit a dead end when the Governor of Bermuda, who is appointed by the United Kingdom, effectively vetoed a cannabis reform measure previously passed by Bermuda lawmakers. Fortunately, there appears to be some hope that the measure could still become law.
As we previously reported on the International Cannabis Chronicle, Boris Johnson’s departure as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom could potentially speed up cannabis reform in the UK. It could also prove to be significant in Bermuda as well. Current UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss has indicated that she is considering granting ‘royal assent’ to Bermuda’s bill. It was the previous withholding of royal assent by the UK-appointed Governor (Rena Lalgie) that blocked the cannabis reform measure from becoming law.
Filling The UK Political Vacuum
Liz Truss has not publicly announced if/when she will make a formal decision on the matter. All that we have to operate on right now is that ‘A Government House spokesperson’ told The Royal Gazette that “The foreign secretary is considering whether assent can be given, and the Governor awaits a decision.”
It’s absolutely worth noting the context in which Truss will be making the decision that is being reported in Bermuda and the UK. With Boris Johnson on his way out, Truss is expected to pursue the Prime Minister position. How successful she will be if/when she chooses to pursue the effort is unclear, however, along the way she will likely try to make some bold moves to boost support for her as Prime Minister. Granting royal assent to Bermuda would be a great way to do exactly that.
The entire concept of royal assent is based on colonization. Bermuda is unfortunately not really its own country in the eyes of the international community, but rather, a British colony. Bermuda was originally colonized following the English Virginia Company permanently settling there in 1609. Later, following the unification of the parliaments of Scotland and England in 1707, Bermuda’s current British colony status was forced on the Bermuda population and has remained in place ever since.
Due to the colony status, Bermuda has to receive approval, or ‘royal assent,’ in order to implement the bills that its own lawmakers approve. It’s an absolutely ridiculous concept that is designed to keep the local population oppressed. From that perspective, not only does the UK need to respect the will of voters and lawmakers in Bermuda, but it also needs to let the people of Bermuda govern themselves without any interference by the UK.