• Today
    November 20

  • 10:46 PM

Parliament gives nod to amendment to legislation regarding marijuana use

CMC,

Added 22 October 2017

marijuana-plant

BELMOPAN, BELIZE – The Belize Parliament has given the green light to the amendment of the Misuse of Drugs Act with bipartisan support.

The Dean Barrow government had in August piloted the amendment to the legislation that also provides for monetary and non-recordable penalties for possession on school premises and in specified circumstances make smoking on private premises no longer an offence.

The Bill had been referred to the Health and Human Development Committee of the House and Prime Minister Barrow said then it was just the beginning.

“I am excited; clearly it is only a first step and a small step, and I know there will be the naysayers; I suspect we are going to hear from the churches. But I feel as both a matter of conviction that it is something good to do, but also that the society as a whole will support it,” he said.

When the matter came up for debate on Friday, Opposition Leader John Briceño said his difficulty with the current legislation is that it stops at decriminalisation.

“I feel it would have been better if we had done all the studies and made the preparations to go even further, and move toward the legalisation of marijuana. While I respect the opinion of those who are against this, I believe that there are numerous benefits to legalising the use of marijuana in small quantities. 

“In addition to the popular argument which some members of the House have made and people like Jeremy Spooner have been pushing on numerous Facebook fan pages and other compelling arguments to change the way we think about marijuana.

“For example, studies have proven that adults who smoke weed lose weight, they can keep in better shape, they have a smaller waist size; they are better [with] insulin levels! (Laughs) I won’t say names but they will be . . . slim, trim and fit,” Briceño told legislators.

Foreign Affairs Minister Wilfred Erlington told the debate that the euphoria induced by marijuana is false, but that the bill does offer true relief.

“Its main effect really is to induce a false and unrealistic sense of contentment in other words people who smoke it seem to feel contented and people who are contented don’t normally give trouble,” he said, adding “ this has been a piece of legislation that has been really oppressive really to the poor”.

Erlington said that poor people used to be hiding these little bit of marijuana in the clothes of their children.

“The record seem to suggest that the consumption of marijuana and the addiction to it really is a medical problem and in this day and age we know that many of these people have these allergies and you don’t punish them more, you try to furnish the with provision for overcoming it,” he added.

Minister of State, Elodio Aragon Junior, said amendment will be significant for the hemp industry as this Misuse of Drugs Act bill will exclude industrial hemp from the definition of cannabis in the misuse of drugs act.

“So that the provisions that apply to marijuana will no longer apply to industrial hemp. Industrial hemp will be defined as any part of the plant of the genius cannabis sativa with a THC concentration of such amount as may be prescribes and as we all know the hemp industry is a vibrant industry that has great potential for Belize. 

“I will also like madam speaker to highlight and state what this amendment will assist to do for Belize. One it will reduce the criminalisation of our young people especially the youths who smoke marijuana. It will also assist in the reduction of persons at our prisons ad it will also assist the entire criminal justice system ranging from the police to prisons.

“And it would in effect create a cost saving in regards to arresting, sentencing and imprisonment which we all know comes with our budgetary resources that have to be allocated to ensure that these things are carried out,” he added. (CMC)

JOIN THE DISCUSSION

Dos and Donts


Welcome to our discussion forum here on nationnews.com. We encourage lively debate, but we also urge you to take note of the following:

  • Stay on topic – This helps keep the thread focused on the discussion at hand. If you would like to discuss another topic, look for a relevant article.
  • Be respectful – Meeting differences of opinion with civil discussion encourages multiple perspectives and a positive commenting environment.
  • Do not type in capitals – In addition to being considered “shouting” it is also difficult to read.
  • All comments will be moderated – Given the volume of comments each day, this may take some time. So please be patient.
  • We reserve the right to remove comments – Comments that we find to be abusive, spam, libellous, hateful, off-topic or harassing may be removed.
  • Reproduction of comments – Some of your comments may be reproduced on the website or in our daily newspapers. We will use the handle, not your email address.
  • Do not advertise – Please contact our Advertising Department.
  • Contact our Online Editor if you have questions or concerns.
  • Read our full Commenting Policy and Terms of Use.
comments powered by Disqus

POLL

Do you believe students should be barred from buying food from vendors during school hours?

YES
NO

FRONT COVER OF TODAY'S NEWSPAPER

CARTOON

INSTAGRAM