Doug Singh is also the chairman of the Committee looking into Decriminalization of marijuana in Belize and he gave us an update on that matter.
Doug Singh – Chairman, SSB
“The bottom line is that the committee was tasked with the decriminalization, not the legalization. I think there are tremendous differences between what Jamaica has done and what Belize is recommending. One, I think Jamaica is allowing possession of a certain amount of plants also and they are also allowing possession of a certain amount for medicinal purposes which is essential legalization. The committee looked at decriminalization; essentially changing the penalties for possession of a small amount so that you don’t have the possibility of jail time or you don’t end up with a criminal record. That really is all the committee is recommending. The question I was asked is did the committee go far enough, there are suggestions. I am not sure if there is a movement that others feel passionately about relative to legalization to certain quantities or decriminalization of larger quantities. I suspect that’s a process they will have to take up. Cabinet has asked us to do a bit more consultations so to speak. There are some issues that they believe are relevant such that they don’t believe it is clear enough to the public, the distinction between decriminalization and legalization and people still think this is a process to decriminalize. The sense we get through the consultation is there’s tremendous support for decriminalization but not necessarily across the board for legalization and we then have an obligation to ensure that people understand what the recommendations mean and the implications of the recommendations but I can’t speak to the direct questions.”