More and more nations are coming around to the realization that marijuana prohibition causes more harm than good. The nation of Belize has introduced legislation that would allow for small amounts of marijuana to be in one’s possession without fear of criminal prosecution. There is a long way to go before marijuana actually becomes legal in the nation, but the introduction of legislation, backed by Prime Minister Dean Barrow is a good place to start.
The bill was introduced by the Home Affairs Minister Hon. Wilfred “Sedi” Elrington. According to the text, possession of marijuana in quantities less than ten grams, would no longer result in arrest and prosecution. The bill was crafted after a 2015 report released by the nation’s Decriminalization of Marijuana Committee. The committee recommended ending the prohibition and allowing for ten grams to be carried, as was expressed in the bill’s final draft.
The bill is not entirely a win for marijuana legalization, as it still imposes a fine on those caught with marijuana, which could escalate and result in jail time for repeat offenders. The country has always had severe punishment for drug traffickers which under Belize law, is defined by possession of over 60 grams of marijuana. The resulting penalty has a mandatory minimum sentence of $10,000 in fines up to three years in prison. Often it is the large lower income populations that end up caught in the already strained justice system. The decriminalization will help reduce local jail and prison populations and funnel more money back into the government.
The decriminalization is a small step for the nation who like many others are starting to see the benefits of ending prohibition. While dealers will still run the risk of distributing their product, the citizens of Belize who choose to buy marijuana will be able to breathe a sigh of relief once the legislation becomes law. While the Prime Minister and others who back the bill anticipate some push back from church groups and others who oppose marijuana legalization, they fully believe that the bill’s introduction was ‘something good to do.’
Davie is a long time cannabis professional who has worked not only as a cultivator but in all aspects of retail cannabis. From budtender, to wholesale and retail management, and from harvester to advanced hydroponic specialist, Davie has been around the block more than once. Now residing in beautiful British Columbia, Davie now works with acres of greenhouses, producing some of the best buds in the country.