Belize mulls decriminalizing ganja

| 20/07/2012

cannabis_1.jpg(Caribbean Journal): Belize’s Ministry of National Security has appointed a committee to evaluate and make proposals for the decriminalization of small portions of marijuana. The move, which was announced this week, was driven by “increasing evidence that the current legislation clutters the courts and the prison with primarily a marginalized segment of our population,” the government said in a statement. The committee said that it recognized that the proposal was “a sensitive issue,” and encouraged interested groups and individuals to express their views on the matter. Belize’s current laws treat the possession of under 60 grams of marijuana as a criminal offence, punishable by a fine of up to $50,000 and/or up to three years imprisonment.

The decriminalization proposal would involve up to 10 grams of marijuana, which would then be subject to fines, mandatory drug education and no imprisonment. Also proposed would be the provision that no criminal record would be kept in the first instance, and portions of the penalty be reserved for drug education.

The committee emphasized that the proposal was “not to legalize the offence, thereby purging it of all its penalties,” however.

“It is merely to reduce and regulate,” the committee said. “This is further supported by international trends towards decriminalization.”

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  1. Anonymous says:

    There is still no effective roadside sobriety test for THC levels. When you are high, you are impaired and can’t be driving around. Period.

    • noname says:

      There is no effective roadside sobriety test for stupidity levels either. But I see that here everyday.  So what is your point again?

    • The"Honorable" Magic Dragon says:

      Ehh! wrong, my friend!

      http://www.rta.nsw.gov.au/roadsafety/alcoholdrugs/drugdriving/drugdrivingfaqs.html

      and for my last magic trick……

      Please provide evidence from any country which cites marijuana use as the reason for ANY number of traffic death, or even minor traffic offenses?

      http://norml.org/library/item/marijuana-and-driving-a-review-of-the-scientific-evidence

      BTW, do you know the stats on alcohol related traffic offenses? A little hypocritical to play the "social card" when we allow this product to be sold to children as young as 18years old.

      Preiod!

       

      • Anonymous says:

        Australia's oral fluid tests are unreliable for prosecuting illicit drug use, detection occurs in just 36% of those tested who have recently consumed THC.  Urine and blood tests are more accurate.  Some US States use a combo of oral and urine roadside testing.  In any case, we don't have these tests, skills, or Will to do anything here.  

        DUID is a serious global issue and charges exist in many US States (with levels as low as 2ng/ml), at least 8 European nations, and Australia (as you already pointed out).  Without getting too deep into the pharmakokenetics and neuropsychopharmacology, Tetrahydrocannabinol has well studied effects on reaction time, perceptual motor control, balance and diminished short-term memory.  There are literally thousands of studies with proof of the effects; which not coincidentally, is why potheads prefer to smoke pot rather than oregano.  

        • The "Honorable" Magic Dragon says:

          Fair argument and points.

          However, after closer examination you will find cases of "marijuana like" products that are available "over the counter" . The sleeping pill, this "medicine" is available across the globe and causes the same side effects that you have described as reason why marijuana should remain illegal. Sleeping pills have been linked to Death and Parasomnias, pretty scary  fine print, yet it is legal.Ofcourse, many will argue that sleeping pills are used to sleep, hence no concern should be placed with respect to driving or operating heavy machinery. But, people are inconsistant and driving under this influence is not impossible, as its not impossible that marijuana users may smoke sensibily. I say we give it a chance as we have given to alcohol and tobacoo. Who knows, we may find that all of its purposes are in fact healthy alternatives to the "social drink", medicine in many cases , and ecomonic oppurtunity. Not to mentoin, with marijuana legal, we will see a decrease in drug traffacking, organized crime and Murder.. I truly believe it is fair to say that marijuana remaining illegal does more harm than good.

           

    • Anonymous says:

      Keeping in mind there is no exact science in growing plant matter: smoking 1mg of THC will give avg person a blood plasma concentration of approx 3.5 ng/ml for first 1.5hrs, thereafter THC concentrations drop logarithmically (assuming no alcohol or other synergistic mediums present).  Average un-laced single paper marijuana joint will contain between 5-15mg of THC.  In USA, legal DUID impairment limit is 0-3ng/ml, so you could assume one good  toke and you're legally intoxicated.

  2. Anonymous1 says:

    Talk about hypocrisy.  The UK has made it so that anything under 3 grams is not a criminal offence, you merely have it confiscated and a written warning or a required to pay a ticket.

    3 grams is like 1-2 cigarettes.  How much court time has been wasted and police record given out for 3 grams in Cayman? How many young people have been denied jobs for what the UK considers a minor offence like parking on a yellow line?

    A drunk driver merely has thier licence taken away for a year or so while the recreational ganja user has 7 years of waiting to have thier record cleared. For a young person, that means college as well as many employment opportunities are taken away and that is not fair and the UK knows it but Cayman chooses to ignore the issue to the detriment of our future.

    This issue is so polarizing that no one can openly speak about it because of prejudice that exists against it in our society.  Until this issue has political gain attached to it, it will never be heard by our legislators.

  3. Anonymous says:

    If you really believe the legalization of ganja is right, you are not listening to the evidence andthe records of long term users.  IT IS BAD FOR YOU.  An don't site alcohol as a reason.  We already know what that does.  Ganja screws the mind up, and everyone has to act differently.  I have been to Amsterdam and witnessed the depravity and low morals. They are considering banning it.

    Kepp it illegal and contineu enforcing the law.

    • The "Honorable" Magic Dragon says:

      "It is bad for you"

      Ive consumed this product daily, for a few years now. Thus far, besides eating too much, Ive had NO side effects! My lungs, liver and overall health are on par and in some cases far from damaged.

      I believe your measuring marijuana effects against users  who also smoke tobacco and drink liquor. Ofcourse, this cocktail amounts to a thrashed mindand body and makes for skewed results.

      I have also been to Amsterdamn and found the people you speak of. Difference ,is that most if not all are hooked on drugs such as "crack cocaine" and other synthetic drugs. Furthermore, you will find that liquor and tobacco are the number one colprits as far as a "gateway" is concerned..With this evidence, it is fair to argue against the logic of marijuana remainig illegal and perhaps capitalisims obvious envolvment in it all.

      (http://www.dare.com/parents/Parents_KeepingKidsDrugFree/Default2f75.asp)

      Am i fighting for legalization? Sure, besides revenue and jobs created,marijuana boasts a record of zero deaths, few side effects, no serious long term damage, and doctors  confirm new medicinal purposes everyday for this wonder plant.

      "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Medical_cannabis"

       

       

       

    • Anonymous says:

      "IT IS BAD FOR YOU"

       

      Yes it is. And so is:

       – Alcohol

      – nicotine

       – potato chips

       – white sugar

       – deep fried foods

      – and this list of the bad legal stuff that we eat, drink and smoke goes on and on.

       

      All of these are bad for you if you consume too much. The key is "consuming too much". Personal self control, exercise, and good diet is the key to a healthy life, not dumb laws that are difficult to enforce and expensive to enforce.

       

      Legalize drugs and the amount consumed goes down, tax revenue goes up, the crime rate drops dramatically, and the prison population drops. All of these things are good for society.

       

      Does it increase "low morals"? No, the morals in Cayman are already pretty low, just look at the problems with teenage pregnancy and young men who have become gangsters. All of this in a land with tough drug laws. The evidence indicates that the existing laws do not work.

       

      There are manywise people who advocate for legalization including George Shultz (a scion of the US Republican Party who served as Secretary of State under Ronald Reagan). The reason he is for legalization is that he is a realistic and pragmatic person who bases his opinions on evidence.

       

       

  4. Anonymous says:

    let's hope that soon we will do the same. Putting people in Northwoord for ganja offences is an absolute waste of money

  5. Anonymous says:

    As long as the Caymanians call themselves a god fearing country you can forget any decriminalization of ganja.

    In Utah in the 30's the mormon church together with the mormon government decided to criminalize ganja in order to be able to blame the "black" people for the downfall of the economy. And it worked.

    Ever since religious people are fanatic about ganja, without knowing why.

    By the way, the most dangerous drugs in the world are money, greed an power.

     

    • Anonymous says:

       

      Pat Robertson endorses legal marijuana, but I guess we still need to play the game that government should make choices for us as opposed to government enforcing business to inform the consumer to make a free choice. The only thing stopping marijuanna from becoming legal are the cartels that lobby the legislatures, and I use "cartels" and "lobby" in a very loose sence.

  6. Anonymous says:

    A lot of expat potheads on here!

  7. Anonymous says:

    It's time for Cayman Airways to add Belize as a destination.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Freeeeeeeeeedom!!!

  9. Anonymous says:

    A move in the right direction.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Ganja in general should be treated differently. It should be a legal drug such as Alcohol and any 'behind the counter' drugs. When will the world wake up? 

  11. Anonymous says:

    We need to follow the Dutch/Portuguese model; decriminalization and sales through Govt approved shops. Govt/private farms can be setup to aid with employment and the tax income from tourists which would be quite high (excuse the pun) due to the number of visitors both stayover and cruise.

    5 small farms and 10 shops would easily generate about 100 to 150 jobs and indirectly benefit a lot of businesses on island who are suffering though these tough times. The taxation generated would also help the govt coffers and reduce the current deficit. Northwood would also be less overcrowded resulting in reduced costs. A lot of young Caymanian men also would not have criminal records hindering them in finding work etc.

    The list of benefits are huge, both social and economical. The Portugeuse model is 11 years old and appears to be working.

    Please don't retort with an excuse that the tourist won't visit because of it, as that has not happened in Jamaica yet.

    For the religious that oppose, in Genesis 1:29 it states:

    "Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the surface of all the earth, and every tree which has fruit yielding seed; it shall be food for you."

    Lets get this discussed people!

    And if all else fails, we can use hemp fiber to make rope again.

     

  12. Anonymous says:

    "Finally! A coutntry has the sense to let the pot heads have their way.

    Just put them on a compound and space out all day… "

    Sickening! Ganja is a serious mind-altering / damaging drug.

    Dont believe me? just look around Cayman – from the corner boys to the truck drivers!

    • Anonymous1 says:

      If you believe ganja is used only by the lower class, you would be very wrong.

      • The "Honorable" Magic Dragon says:

        Thank you! All too often is marijuana generalized as a "ghetto drug". I can confirm "first hand" to have smoked with accountants, lawyers, po..po..police officers, and other big wig personas.

        I wont deny the negative side of marijuana(lazy mind and body, most specifically after HEAVY use), but will suggest that like alcohol, consumption requires a mature approach in order to enjoy it sensibily. Ofcourse the irony is that alcohol and its "bible of cons"  are legal while marijuana illegal.

         

  13. Anonymous says:

    We should do the same… Too many young people get criminal records for small amounts of ganja. In anycase, alcohol is far more harmful. It's about time Cayman had some educated discourse on the topic.