Attorney General Trevor Moniz
Attorney General Trevor Moniz

Bermuda’s Attorney General says the government should consider two marijuana decriminalization schemes where offenders are given ticketed warnings in New York and the U.K.

Government is currently mulling cannabis reform. Trevor Moniz, who assumed the role of Attorney General after Mark Pettingill stepped down last month to take a job in banking, said he would prefer “ a system where if you get caught with a small amount of marijuana, you don’t go to court and you wouldn’t have any criminal record.

“In New York and the U.K., they have a caution only for a first offence, which may need to be broadened,” he said from his Global House office this week.

He indicated that he would not consider fully legalizing the drug at this point. Such a sentiment echoes Premier Michael Dunkley’s recent comments on the matter.

“I’m in favour of small steps, incremental steps, rather than a big leap,” said Mr Moniz this week.

He does not support legalizing medical marijuana, saying “there’s not much support scientifically or medically for any of that”.

“We have a lot to blame Bob Marley for, this idea that cannabis is good for everything. This Marc Bean idea that cannabis can cure asthma. It’s just rubbish.”

Cannabis activists, he said, typically use medical marijuana legalization as a wedge for further liberalization of cannabis laws in the country.

He is also against allowing for personal cultivation of the plant at this time.

“Once you allow someone to grow cannabis, how are you going to control who smokes it? You’re not. Once you allow cultivation, you’ve lost control completely.”

He said he would welcome a return to a 2010 policy introduced by the PLP, where people who were caught with a small amount of cannabis on the island were issued cautions. I’m very much in favour of the caution policy,” he said. 

“We need that to work, I’m not sure why it stopped working. There may be a communication issue between the DPP and the police. It’s not working properly; I don’t know where we went wrong.”

Police did not respond to a request for comment before deadline.

“What worries me is people who view cannabis as a way of life,” he said. “That is not good for society. That is harmful for society.” n