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Thread: Legalize weed in Belize?

  1. #1
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    Legalize weed in Belize?

    Ch 7 Belize:

    Legalize It? Or Decriminalize It?


    Before we go into our next story, we warn you that it discusses and displays use of marijuana which may be unsuitable for young audiences. So if you have children around the TV, you might want to ask them out of the room or change the channel.
    No doubt, the hot topic this week is decriminalizing marijuana - after Government announced that it had named a committee to explore the subject.

    And the reason it's a hot topic - is because, frankly, based only on anecdotal evidence, we'd say that marijuana is very widely used in Belize.

    You can argue over whether that is a good or bad thing, but it is a real thing - and thus the committee has been tasked to figure out what to do with all the casual users - those who risk imprisonment - and sometimes end up in jail, just for a joint.

    Doug Singh - who first named a committee to explore decriminalization when he was police minister, now, finds himself chairing that committee.

    He says they started by looking at decriminalization laws in other countries where anywhere from three to 25 grammes was decriminalized. He said the Belize model that is being explored falls somewhere in the middle.:..

    Hon. Dough Singh, Chairman - Committee Looking Into Decriminalization
    "We found that the quantities varies from like 3 grammes to 25 grammes I think was the highest that we have seen from a decriminalization and the average seems to be around 7-10 grammes and so we thought that we will look at the average and look at the arguments associated with the average."

    Jules Vasquez reporting
    This is ten grammes of Mexican weed known as Oaxaca - because it is high grade it sells for fifty dollars. Half of this would be used to roll what's considered a large marijuana joint which, being high grade, is hard to hold down.

    They also sell a gramme - like this - for five dollars - under the proposed decriminalization model these amounts would no longer be treated differently from considered possession.

    Hon. Dough Singh
    "We are looking at the possibility of a small quantity. As the law currently exist if you have in your possession 60 grammes or above that is considered trafficking and it carries a certain fine. If it is less than 60 grammes - at this point in time that's possession and the fine for possession is up to $50,000.00 and or up to 3 years imprisonment. What we are looking to doing is in the class of possession is to take till of that 60 grammes - 10 grammes and say perhaps we ought not to look at making this thing punitive - it should carry no jail sentence, it should probably carry a fine and no criminal record."

    But it would still be an offence

    Hon. Dough Singh
    "In others words it doesn't means that you should be able to walk down the street and smoke a joint as you wish. That will still be illegal, it's like alcohol, you can drink it in a bar and you can drink it under certain control circumstances. There is something called public drinking - you really ought not to be walking down the street with a beer in your hand or rum and coke and drinking it, so it's still illegal under certain circumstances or with rum and coke and drinking it. So it's still illegal under certain circumstances."

    "The proposal is that it be the same circumstances with this small portion of marijuana. There is a distinction between legalization and decriminalization; legalization means that no penalty is adhered under certain circumstances, in other words if you are caught with a small quantity perhaps no penalty will be adhered to it. Legalization doesn't mean that; it means that it is still illegal, it's just like driving without a driver's license or with an expired driver's license is illegal but didn't take you to jail for doing that. What we want to do is to ensure that we can deal with the infraction responsibly, so it's not going to be illegal, it's just that the penalties for that small portion will be different from what it currently is."

    Whichever way, it is good news to Rastafarians like Ras Ruben who take the herb as a religious rite and feel that their sacrament has been criminalized.

    Ras Ruben - Rastafarian
    "For me to be criminalize because of my sacrament is unjust, so I feel like it is about high time that we take steps towards decriminalization and that is just the first step because decriminalization does not necessarily mean that that it will be legalize and we understand that. We understand the lingo that they are using. Decriminalization just simply means that they are not going to persecute us as a criminal, but they are not going to legalize marijuana, so it is good that they have open the forum. If we have done it, it would have never gotten the respect. But you see Doug Singh - I have to applaud him because he is taking the necessary steps to take this scrutiny off our lives because of marijuana."

    But the fact is that most persons charged for marijuana are poor - and those are often times the ones who end up in jail:

    Hon. Dough Singh
    "I am not a user of marijuana. I do know though a lot of people that use it. I know people across the social and economic landscape that uses it. It saddens me to see that the people you do find incarcerated who used it are the de-marginalize people and not the people on the upper economic scale etc. which shows that the way the law is being enforced is certainly not balance and fair. That is one position, I think there ought to be equity under any circumstances or there ought to had to be fair treatment under any circumstances, but beyond that I think evidence is showing that marijuana use is no worse than alcohol use and it is treated so absolutely differently. Once again a level playing field ought to be afforded."

    And if they seem to kind of have their minds made up - that may be because the committee by and large is of a more liberal bent:

    Jules Vasquez
    "It seems that the group is a more liberal minded."

    Hon. Dough Singh
    "That is correct. It wasn't so by choice, it was very difficult to try to find somebody who was so vehemently against the decriminalization of marijuana. Since the consultation though, individuals have come forward who have strong positions against decriminalization. I was advise that Mrs. Karen Bodden who is an educator and who had been the head of the national drug council has very strong positions and we've ask her to join the committee because I believe that balance is necessary in the committee. The committee admit-ably has currently 8 members but of that 8 members there are 2 people who admit to smoking marijuana."

    But the decision is not theirs to make, that would be left to the political directorate and ultimately the legislature.

    Hon. Dough Singh
    "I am not the one making the recommendations; it's the committee that is making the recommendation. If there is a proposal put forward it then goes as form of a Cabinet decision paper and to whether or not to consider this. Cabinet may decide to just not consider it at all or they may decide to consider it and amend it in some fashion to incorporate certain ideas that they may have. If there is any agreement whether it be in its original form or amended form it then has to go back to the ministry where it is written up in a certain way and sends to the Sol. Gens' office for legislative amendments for drafting. Then it goes back to Cabinet and Cabinet looks at the legislation. Through all that process there continues to be the opportunity for input and for lobbying by any groups and individuals. So the consultation process for the recommendation is not limited to just now, even thru the legislative process there is the opportunity for consultation. The length and breadth of consultation is not limited to what we are doing at this point in time."

    But for Ra Ruben, the logic is simple:

    Ras Ruben
    "How long have we been on earth as human beings? How long as it been illegal for human beings? If you look at the statistics it's less than 60 years that they are criminally persecute us. So the people need to understand the whole schematics behind it and understand the holistic..."

    Jules Vasquez
    "Do you think people have been smoking herb from the beginning of time?"

    Ras Ruben
    "From the first man came on earth we are giving sacrifice with herb. Herb is a part of our ritual as human beings."

    And while his views are very pro-weed, we'll have an opposing view next week.

    Singh has extended the time for which they will take suggestions from the public. The deadline should have been today, but you can still send your mails to decriminalizebelize@gmail.com or drop them at #3 Mapp Street.

    The eight person committee has the membership of the Legal Counsel for Police Department, Rhea Rogers from the Ministry of National Security, Charles Bartlett Hyde, Ya Ya Marin Coleman, Jeremy Spooner, Katie Valk and Susan Fuller.

    PUP Senator Karen Bodden told us that she has been invited to a meeting as a dissenting voice - as a trained drug educator who believes that marijuana use has an adverse effect on youths.

  2. #2
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    Weed should be legalize here in America! It's an herb with medicinal benefits.
    Success is Journey... not a Destination

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    Quote Originally Posted by bzegirl View Post
    Weed should be legalize here in America! It's an herb with medicinal benefits.
    Yep!
    Don't start none, won't be none!

  4. #4
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    lone razz...unnu the get to liberal...wait till u pickney start smoke n come back ya and seh dat!

  5. #5
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    Why are you against legalizing weed? Just curious.

    Hey unnu hear snoop dog now wants to be called snoop lion? Guess dem good weed he smoked in Jamaica caused him to have an epiphany that he's not longer a dog but now a lion. hahahahahhahaa
    Success is Journey... not a Destination

  6. #6
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    I have mixed feeling about the weed thing here in Belize. I know that I've explained all bad effects of weed to my 2 sons but I've seen many good men go wrong when they get hooked on weed. So, while I have some peace of mind that I've raise them well, I always wonder what I would do if I find out one of them is smoking weed. Ayeeeeeee.

    I have couple friends who have allowed their sons to smoke weed in their homes rather than taking it to the street but lawd, I don't want to know.
    The Will of God will never take you to where the Grace of God will not PROTECT you...

  7. #7
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    I always wonder at the message parents are giving their kids when they allow them to drink and do drugs (including but not limited to marijuana) at home with the explanation it's better to do it at home than have them do it outside.
    Success is Journey... not a Destination

  8. #8
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    That's just an excuse for those parents that have no control over their kids. They feel that they are protecting their children from the outside world, by having them 'get high' inside is just hogwash. It's clearly a cover as they have no control. It's the same thing as those parents that says that they'd rather their children bring their sex partners home. SMH

    In the case of the parents that DB mentioned, how safe can they be (?) as I'm sure they have to get the 'stuff' from somewhere off the streets. Are those parents buying (gittin') the weed for them too? SMH I really never understood where some parents gets some of their reasoning from. And who's to say they're not doing it outside as well.

    Bottom line - with parents like that - these kids gets the best of both worlds.
    Last edited by Princess; 08-10-2012 at 02:29 PM.

  9. #9
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    Weed legalized!

    Quote Originally Posted by bzegirl View Post
    Weed should be legalize here in America! It's an herb with medicinal benefits.
    Long time haven't spoken to you all. Just got a quick break.

    Have these people lost their minds!!!! Excuse me let me take a crack break Can you picture a student in class asking to be excused for a weed break? Better yet, what about the Speaker of the House saying that? SIMPLETONS!
    Last edited by margaret; 08-10-2012 at 07:23 PM.
    I love life! I love God! I love You!

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by margaret View Post
    Long time haven't spoken to you all. Just got a quick break.

    Have these people lost their minds!!!! Excuse me let me take a crack break Can you picture a student in class asking to be excused for a weed break? Better yet, what about the Speaker of the House saying that? SIMPLETONS!


    Maggie!
    I hope you come visit us more often! How have you been?
    Don't start none, won't be none!

  11. #11
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    Hahahahahaha. Maggie actually remembered us! Awwwwww!
    The Will of God will never take you to where the Grace of God will not PROTECT you...

  12. #12
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    Miss you Mags!
    Say hello to my little friend:

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by margaret View Post
    Long time haven't spoken to you all. Just got a quick break.

    Have these people lost their minds!!!! Excuse me let me take a crack break Can you picture a student in class asking to be excused for a weed break? Better yet, what about the Speaker of the House saying that? SIMPLETONS!
    Hey Mags!!! Long time girl. How are you??? I see you're still as spicy as ever.
    Success is Journey... not a Destination

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