“Decriminalization has its limits,” says police

By Benjamin Flowers

The Belize Police Department reminded the public this week that under the new regulations regarding the decriminalization of marijuana persons can still commit offenses and be criminally charged under certain conditions.

A week before the scheduled release of the new regulations by the Attorney General’s Ministry, Police Legal Advisor, Sr. Superintendent Bart Jones, clarified that under those regulations, marijuana possession up to 10 grams is not punishable by law; however, no marijuana of any quantity is to be taken onto a school compound.

Taking marijuana onto a school compound will carry a warning in the first instance and for a subsequent offence, violators will be issued a citation ticket which comes with a fine. The police will take anyone who fails to pay their fine to court.

Jones went on to say that the new regulations limits marijuana consumption to residential use, or in premises where the proprietor gives permission.

“You can have it on the streets: you cannot smoke on the street. Whereas it is decriminalized, the smoking in your private residence. However if you step out of the confines of your yard then you will be committing the offence of smoking,” Jones said.

He noted that officers who have the experience will be able to determine at the point of contact whether or not a person has in excess of 10 grams, but have the freedom of taking a person to the nearest police station to have the quantity weighed if they suspect the amount may exceed the legal limit.

Growing, cultivating, and selling marijuana remain criminal offences.

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