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Aug 16, 2017

Minister Elrington Says Decriminalization of Marijuana No Big Deal

Wilfred Elrington

An amendment to the Misuse of Drugs Act is to be tabled this Friday at a special meeting of the House of Representatives in Belmopan.  For years, a committee headed by S.S.B. Chairman Doug Singh has been looking at decriminalizing the possession of small quantities of marijuana. Debate around the pros and cons of amending the legislation has taken place for some time; in some quarters the concern has been that it is the first step to legalize the drug.  As is the case of Jamaica, back in 2015, its legislation was amended to allow for persons to access permits to buy and be in possession of up to two ounces of weed for medicinal purposes. It is now considered a petty offense that could result in a five-dollar fine for Jamaicans, but not an arrest or a criminal record. But what does this move by the government mean for Belize?

 

Wilfred Elrington, Area Rep., Pickstock

“When I listen to the radio I hear a whole host of craziness. My own understand of it is that what they are seeking to do really is to enable people who smoke small quantities of marijuana to be able to do so without running the risk of going to prison. So if you smoke small amounts of marijuana in your home, you are not likely to be charged for that. If you do the same thing outside, you will be given a summons and you will pay a fine. That is about the extent of that piece of legislation; it’s nothing more than that…really to facilitate those people. And there are some people who use marijuana for medicinal purposes and if they have it in their home and catch them, they can find themselves in serious problems. So I think it is an attempt to reach a kind of compromise. But it is very minimal; the initiative is very minimal; it is rarely no big thing.”

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