Government Perhaps Steps Closer to Legalizing Hashish
2019-09-25 - 10:07 p
Bahrain Mirror (Exclusive): What did people think of the Netherlands when the government decided to grow and sell cannabis to its citizens? Capitalist governments always think of making money and addressing their financial and economic crises, and often do not put an ethical limit to their decision-making. Bahrain is moving in the same direction when it proposed growing and selling tobacco to citizens without regard to the environmental and health aspects.
Bahrain's government has submitted a bill to the House of Representatives that would allow the cultivation and production of tobacco in Bahrain, as well as the commercial manufacturing of nicotine substitutes such as cigarette liquid. The parliament is scheduled to vote on the bill after returning from its summer recess next month.
The government aspires, from the law, to improve financially in order to cope with its financial crisis. According to official statistics, Bahrain imported 60 million dinars worth of tobacco last year only. It also imports more than one million kilograms of tobacco per month.
The government believes that this large amount will help it cope with its financial suffering due to the high public debt. Bahrain's public debt has accumulated because of corruption, financial mismanagement and oil price instability.
The Government has taken numerous decisions to make money quickly without considering the economic and social dimensions of those decisions. One of these decisions was the decision to grant "flexible work permits" to foreigners. The government was due to earn 56 million and 640,000 dinars in two years from fees paid by foreigners wishing to obtain the right of residence in Bahrain.
The proposed government amendments to the Anti-Smoking and Tobacco Act have provoked angry reactions. The Bahrain Anti-Smoking Society considered the bill "an explicit violation of the UN Framework Convention," adding that "It was very painful to see the parliament discuss such an issue, and perhaps through the debate over it, it will be adopted, which will result in a blow to our Society."
The head of the Services Committee in the House of Representatives MP Ammar Qambar defended the parliament and said that the committee rejected the bill, pointing out that the government is the one that proposed it to the previous parliament.
Other MPs; however, expressed their support and willingness to discuss the proposal. "Bahrain imports all kinds of tobacco from around the world and its production at home would allow the Ministry of Health to control the tobacco sold based on its specifications and standards," said MP Ahmed Salloum, who owns the Zizinia coffee shop chain and is a tobacco importer.
Mamdouh Al-Saleh, vice chairman of the services committee, said the committee is ready for further discussions with government officials. But he also asks, "What guarantee could the Ministry of Health give us that tobacco fields will be properly controlled to ensure that no cannabis is grown?"
Cannabis, for example, produces a lot of money for the governments of the Netherlands and Canada. Canadian sales in 10 months totaled more than half a billion dollars. Such figures are what drives the Bahraini government. Money is the only drive even if at the expense of citizens.