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Decriminalization of marijuana?
Published on July 7, 2014 Email To Friend    Print Version

Decriminalization of marijuana?

By Abdulmajeed K. Nunez

Belize is a country cultured in doing things without regulation
Yet again we find ourselves in yet another peculiar situation
That pointblank will require more than just a change in legislation
Among a emotionally charged population
Like others in the wider Caribbean who are entertaining thoughts of marijuana decriminalization
A committee was formed without proper consultation
Then to save face the National Drug Abuse Control Council director was hauled on board to give it legitimization

Careful study of the Misuse of Drugs Act
Would have in fact made this committee act with more tact
It would have familiarized the members with NDACC at all levels
National level, local level and international level
The Drug Council is not an implementing agency
It is a policy driven agency; their responsibility is to write policies
For implementation for those agencies that do execution
In addition their mandate is to do research and present data
As it stands the Misuse of Drugs Act is their Bible
So they cannot support the decriminalization of marijuana in principle

The director sits on the Decriminalization Committee
As a custodian of the work done at the National Drug Control Council currently
By right and in principle that committee should have never been formed
NDACC is the only entity authorized to recommend the decriminalization or the criminalization
Of any substance in the country of Belize
Despite what the citizenry this in regulated in legalese and hyperboles
The Council’s position for not supporting is that we do not have the infrastructure
To support whatever positive or negative effects may be brought to bear
The legalization of marijuana will have significant wear and tear

They’re asking the Decriminalization Committee five years
To put in the infrastructure, meaning policies, legislations,
Procedures, training, and standards of care
This is the unofficial position of the Council
Plain and simple unless the minister uses his discretionary powers to appease the people
Folks it’s not just that simple
The heads of the Caribbean met today to Antigua and Barbuda to form a Commission
This will have significant ripple effects regionally
Jamaica have started already but they still will not be able to decriminalize in totality
At best they will only be able to exercise the law with flexibility
We do not have legislation that governs a drug court
But in principle and in practice we have drug court
The Council has been in existence for some twenty – twenty-five years
It was the first created and legislated in the region
And in 2008 they found out that they were some twenty years behind
So the new director’s mandate was to get on the grind
To bring the Council on par with Trinidad, Jamaica, Barbados and The Bahamas
Had to set his priorities, dirty his fingers and engage the other social partners
The previous Drug Council had beautiful extremities and but not backbone
There was no policy document to run with it stood on its own

The focus now is on monitoring and evaluation mechanisms to get support from the ministry
We have the Misuse of Drugs Act 2000 that was not user friendly
Then there is over 200 legislation s that talks about tobacco
And alcohol that are presently legislated
The plan it to put that into one legislation
The Tobacco Bill, we have policy but not a Bill nor Act or Law
Again the system is flawed
We have a prepared drug policy
We have a prepared National Alcohol Policy
Even though they have not yet been legislated
But they are ready and awaiting the political directorates authorization
And even if he is removed, his successor will not go through
What he went through in 2009
And Belize will no longer be logging behind
 
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