BELIZE: Decriminalize It

The National Assembly will be meeting on Friday August 18, and one of the items on the agenda is a bill to amend the Misuse of Drugs Act. This amendment proposes to “decriminalize” a certain quantity of marijuana which is a control drug.

This particular subject has been part of the Belizean discourse for some time now and after much consideration and consultation, the government is tabling the bill at this Friday’s House Sitting. In essence what this bill will do is to make the possession of a certain amount of Marijuana – in this case 10 grams an offence which can be dealt with via a ticketing system. It also means that persons caught with 10 grams or less of cannabis will no longer be liable to serve prison time nor will it be reflected in their police record.

Considering the amount of Belizeans and tourists who use cannabis recreationally and the amount of cases which clog the justice system daily, this amendment is more than a welcome relief to both the enforcement personnel as well as the users.

This will in no way give carte blanche to those who smoke cannabis. They will have to do it in their homes and if they are caught with more than ten grams then the Misuse of Drugs act without this amendment will take full effect and the perpetrators will find themselves in court and possibly jail.(The Guardian)

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