GOB decriminalizes Marijuana, less than 10grams

By William Ysaguirre
Freelance Repoerter

The Government of Belize is about to decriminalize marijuana by a Bill to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana, not to exceed 10 grammes, which Minister of Home Affairs Hon. Wilfred “Sedi” Elrington introduced for its first reading at a Special sitting of the House of Representatives in Belmopan on Friday morning, October 20.

The amendment to the Misuse of Drugs Act decriminalizes the possession of less than 10 grammes or smoking of marijuana in private premises, and imposes a fine, which does not become a criminal record for the offender, instead of police arrest. It also decriminalizes the possession of small amounts of marijuana less than 10 grammes on school premises.

Elrington received approval from the gallery and the Opposition when he introduced the bill. Opposition Leader John Briceño not only supported the bill, he also called on government to go a step further and legalize marijuana for other uses. He went so far as to suggest to Prime Minister Dan Barrow, that it might bring some relief to his aching back!

Former Opposition leader Francis Fonseca also supported the Bill, since it will also expunge the criminal records of those who in the past were fined up to a $1,000 for weed possession.

Minister for Police Hon. Elodio Aragon Jr was at pains to clarify that this by no means opened the door to wholesale cannabis consumption and commerce and that possession of any amount exceeding 10 grammes would attract all the criminal penalties in the law, including fines, imprisonment and a permanent criminal record. Also any smoking of cannabis or possession outside of the areas specified in the Bill would attract the full weight of the law in punishment.

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