NASSAU, BAHAMAS The majority of Bahamians who participated in a recent survey on cannabis supported the use of the plant for religious purposes, Eyewitness News can reveal.
The survey was conducted by Bahamian market and opinion research firm Public Domain between November 24, 2020 and December 14, 2020.
A total of 1,000 residents, identified by random telephone number selection throughout The Bahamas, were interviewed. All respondents were screened to ensure they were over the age of 18.
While 45 percent of participants agreed that cannabis should be made legal for religions that utilize the plant for sacramental purposes, 40 percent were against its use for that purpose and another 15 percent either did not know or were unsure.
However, a further look at the demographics of respondents showed support for cannabis legalization for religious use was greater among men and those between ages 18 and 34.
Among men, 51 percent of participants support the legalization of cannabis for religious use compared to 40 percent among women.
And when looking at participants responses per each age group, 51 percent of those between 18 and 34 said yes, compared to 44 percent among those between 35 and 54, and 35 percent support among those 55 and over.
The survey also asked whether restrictions on usage should be introduced if cannabis was legalized for religious purpose.
A whopping 74 percent of all participants agreed that use of the plant in these circumstances should be restricted.
There was relative consensus on this question across the demographics broken down by sex, age and income level.
For example, 71 percent of men and 77 percent of women said restrictions of usage should be in place if cannabis was legalized for religious use.
Similarly, 78 percent of participants aged 18 to 34 agreed.
Meanwhile, 72 percent of respondents aged 35 to 54 agreed and 69 percent of those 55 and older agreed with restricting use.
Respondents also widely agreed that there should be restrictions on the locations in which cannabis could be used if it were to be legalized for religious purposes.
On the question of whether religious members should be allowed to grow cannabis for religious purposes, there was some divergence, with 44 percent of participants supporting the religious community growing the plant and 47 percent against it.
A closer look at the responses via demographic showed that 49 percent of men agreed with religious members growing the plant, while only 39 percent of women who participated in the survey supported this.
Younger participants had greater support of religious members growing the plant than their older counterparts, with 49 percent of those between 18 and 34 answering yes; 44 percent of those between 35 and 54 supporting; and only 31 percent of those 55 and older supporting.
Lower-income earners also supported religious members growing cannabis in greater numbers than high-income earners.
Participants who earn under $30,000 per year were equally for and against religious members growing cannabis, with 46 percent saying yes and 46 percent saying no.
Another eight percent either did not know or were unsure.
For those who earn between $30,000 and $60,000 annually, 44 percent agreed and 51 percent disagreed.
Only 36 percent of those who earn over $60,000 annually supported religious members growing the plant, and 50 percent were against the idea.
The vast majority of respondents supported restrictions of types and amounts of cannabis grown for religious purposes if it were allowed, such as limited to small amounts being grown.
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