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Jul 17, 2012

Former P.M. and attorney discuss decriminalization of marijuana

The idea of decriminalizing small quantities of marijuana, particularly immeasurable amounts often found in blunts commonly known as roaches, is taking center stage. The government has announced that former minister of police, Dough Singh, is leading a committee that will look into its decriminalization. It has long been argued that the cost of prosecuting someone for a stick of weed draws heavily on the wherewithal of law enforcement, as well as the court systems; resources that can be used in tracking criminals and solving more important cases. That argument is widely supported by marijuana users and criminal lawyers.  In his presentation last Wednesday, former Prime Minister Said Musa, during the budget debate, revisited the suggestion of making legal certain measures of marijuana in order to relieve the police department, as well as the courts of their unnecessary burden. 

 

Said Musa

Said Musa, Former Prime Minister

“We have a police department that spends its time going after little people with a stick of weed spending the courts time, resources and all that, when in fact why are they not concentrating their efforts in going after the big drug dons who facilitate this drug trade and corrupt the entire system.  Surely the time has come to decriminalize that small quantity of marijuana, man, why don’t you do it?  Why don’t you do it?  Why go after the little people?  Why go after the little people?”

 

Attorney Dickie Bradley, who has represented numerous clients charged with marijuana possession, says that decriminalization is an initiative that would be championed by the public simply because the charge is outdated. 

 

Richard ‘Dickie’ Bradley

Richard ‘Dickie’ Bradley, Criminal Lawyer

“Two or three weeks ago a number of persons were brought to the courts charged for having an unknown quantity of marijuana, meaning that the amounts were so miniscule that the scale can’t show the weight but so long as the laboratory can somehow find a way to test the persons would, in fact, legally be in possession of marijuana, quantity unknown.  And the unfortunate situation with that was there were several citizens, so how utterly ridiculous it is that persons in this modern age, apparently anything that happens in this court system because of the activity of our media who are always on the ball that persons photographs, their names, their addresses not only show up on the nightly news but then it gets into the internet and then your friends and family abroad and then it’s a permanent record as well. We do not have the resources to be wasting the government’s, the police’s, the court’s time to, in fact be charging persons for minor quantities of marijuana.  We need to look at it from that angle first of all.  Now let me punctuate what I am saying before it slips my mind and tell you that in fact there is too much drinking and too much smoking in Belize, that there is really a need for some serious committees to be formed so that especially our young people can turn to other activities. I believe that the vast majority of citizens, properly informed, would support a move that it makes no sense to make it a criminal matter for a person or persons to be found with small quantities of marijuana.  It just does not make any sense.”

 

Former Minister of Police Doug Singh is being joined by Donelle Hawke, Rhea Rogers of the Ministry of National Security, Ya-Ya Marin Coleman, Jeremy Spooner, Susan Fuller and Katie Valk on the committee.

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13 Responses for “Former P.M. and attorney discuss decriminalization of marijuana”

  1. Storm says:

    It occurs to me that a middle ground should be considered, too, somewhere between criminal prosecution and “decriminalisation.” It is a system that would refer first-time users to anti-drug education and rehabilitation for a period of time in order to EARN keeping the offence off their permanent criminal record.

    It has been tried many places, with varying program details and rates of success. Any report should thoroughly study that alternative as well.

    The Jewel is too small to survive a poorly conceived policy that makes us a legal haven for drug traffickers.

  2. it's just that simple says:

    Time to get tuff:
    1) coffee and tobacco, 5 year felony.
    2) homosexuals, death penalty.
    3) sugar hording, 1 year hard labor.

    Since murder convictions are less than 5%, legalize murder to save money and courts time.
    Gang members provide a useful social purpose, and should be tax exempt and subsidized.

  3. Aware ghetto youth says:

    Finally they are considering something that makes sense! Please don’t tell me its a drug because obviously you have done your research. Besides too many people have court cases that waists tax payers dollars for small amounts of weed. We must also be aware that Jamaica is a tourist destination that has great weed if we make a move like this that is being mentioned by that devil musa we can boost our country in many ways besides ganja. We can start manufacturing hemp products and a whole other variety of other products which in turn will promote jobs. Plus our soldiers can protect our borders instead of burning farms that can bring profit for citizens and the country.

  4. BzeYouth says:

    Yes, the small amount may not due a charge and may also be using law enforcer precious resources. But can’t we also argue that continuing to charge individual for small amounts of weed will keep youths thinking twice before smoking weed? Fearing it can be on their record which can be an issue later in life when applying for a job or a US Visa.

  5. Swamp Dragon says:

    Why didn’t Musa do this when he had the power to do so? If people behaved the way they supposed to we wouldn’t have weed Problems. If made legal what makes anyone think these guys will carry weed only. They just stash they coke in the weed and then get searched less cause the cops not looking for bit a weed. I would like to see weed legal, but it would probably cause more problems. People no entitled to everything. We have rules of law for many reasons. Those who cannot conform and abide will generally have run ins with the police and courts. Your own behavior will dictate how you are treated by the community.

  6. Elgin Martinez says:

    The focus should be on finding a solution to curb heinous crimes and not diverting the people’s attention from the real problem which is the rampant murder rate.

  7. Al says:

    It starts with a little bit of marijuana, but let me tell you this, where there is a little, there is a bigger stash. The drug trade is at the heart of a lot of the criminal problem in Belize. I can stash my marijuana and then just have a blunt on me at a time, becasue now I am legal, you all are just giving the criminals all lthe legal weapons they need to beat you with government. Why not open a government store that sells marijuana and any other drugs you want to legalize, stupid government.

    A little bit of drugs leads to a lot of drugs. Look at what is happening to the drug users, their minds are so far messed up they wonder around town looking like zombies. You are killing the future of the country, please be sensible so that our children can have a strong healthy, prosperous country to inherit.

    Please talk about devising a plan to create jobs, talk about ways to stimulate the economy, ways to make stronger laws, plans to fix the infrastructure of the country and move Belize from shanty town to a decent non decaying country. This country have not recovered from Hattie hurricane, why is that? the answer is lack of planning. Yet the people who serve in government have the big nice houses and the poor fools who put you there live in shanti town. What a shame.

  8. now i see says:

    IMGINE YOU COULD SMOKE THIS WITHOUT GETTING IN TROUBLE? WHAT YOU WILL THINK IT WILL HAPPEN TO A LOT OF FAMILIES? WE ALREADY HAVE A PROBLEM WITH DRUGS. AND NOW THIS? DICKIE WHAT I SEE RIDICULOUS IS WHEN DRUG DEALERS CAUGHT WITH COKE IT TURNS INTO FLOUR.

  9. BMNJ says:

    What would be the legal age for marijuana smoking when it’s legalized? Will there be designated areas for marijuana smoking? Will there be a law in place regarding ‘driving under the influence of marijuana’? Just some issues to think about.

  10. Belizean Progressive says:

    Should have been put on the books a long time ago. For anyone questioning the the decriminalization of marijuana, they should also question the legality of another commonly used drug, alcohol. It is quite evident that the societal and health impacts of alcohol use is far more detrimental than marijuana use, but due to lack of education and propaganda, the ignorant opinion of the masses will unfortunately prevail.

  11. Belizean Progressive says:

    “Decriminalization” IS NOT “Legalization” There are far too many people who obviously still don’t understand the difference.

    According to the Oxford British Dictionary -

    Decriminalize: cease to treat (something) as illegal or as a criminal offence

    Legalize: make (something that was previously illegal) permissible by law

    These definitions seem pretty clear to me, but for more information on the differences, try a simple google search!

  12. BzeYouth says:

    Belizean Progressive, so is it not currently illegal to have a stick of weed? Some months back I saw reports of foreigner being arrested and charged for a stick of weed. What I’m I missing?

  13. Belizean Progressive says:

    BzeYouth, of course it’s illegal to have a stick of weed. Decriminalizing marijuana will only make it so that it’s not treated as a criminal offense, it’ll be something equivalent to a traffic ticket for reckless driving where you pay a fine and/or may have to take a driver education course.

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