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Belize weighs in on world weed list

Posted: Friday, December 2, 2016. 3:01 p.m. CST.
weed-dec-2

By BBN Staff: Belize, as it turns out, is one of the top 20 weed smoking countries in the world. Number 18 on the list of the world’s top 30 toking towns. The data comes from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and Belize is even four spots above Jamaica on the list.

According to the data, which calculates prevalence as a percentage of population, around 8.5 percent of all Belizeans blaze. There is very limited data on marijuana usage in Belize available from the National Drug Abuse Control Council (NDACC). But one would assume it safe to say that marijuana is, at the very least, very accessible in mother nature’s best kept secret.

Read any police blotter and every day cops label ganja as ‘found property’; and often in large amounts. That’s how much weed there is in Belize, and obviously there is a demand. It is something that has become common and with the discussion intensifying around the world as many countries and states within the US move to legalize marijuana, efforts in Belize seeking to review the laws on marijuana have stalled.

During the recent US Presidential elections several states voted on proposals to legalize marijuana. America ranks 2nd on the list of world’s most baked. Twenty-six states and the District of Columbia currently have laws legalizing marijuana in some form. Three other states will soon join them after recently passing measures permitting use of medical marijuana.

Seven states and the District of Columbia have adopted more expansive laws legalizing marijuana for recreational use. Most recently, California, Massachusetts and Nevada all passed measures in November legalizing recreational marijuana. California’s Prop. 64 measure allows adults 21 and older to now possess up to one ounce of marijuana and grow up to six plants in their homes.

In 2015 Jamaica passed legislation to decriminalize up to two ounces of marijuana for personal use. Jamaica’s legislation went a step further by allowing the cultivation of up to five plants for personal consumption.

Similar recommendations were made to government in Belize by the Decriminalization of Marijuana Committee. Its Chair, Dough Singh presented the report to Cabinet and the media. It recommended decriminalizing a mere 10 grams and included no provisions for cultivation. The Committee reported it met hesitance and resistance from the Churches and the Chamber of Commerce.

A new report in the UK claims its government should legalize marijuana because it’s “the only solution to crime and addiction problems”.  The study, conducted by the  Adam Smith Institute, said the UK’s current drug strategy “has failed in its core aims to prevent people from using drugs, manufacturing drugs, and to put a stop to the crime, corruption and death that is taking place on an industrial scale around the world”. Ireland this week also passed legislation legalizing medical marijuana.

It is an evolving discussion with evolving views of the substance for medical and recreational purposes. Should Belize pose this question to its people by way of referendum? And what would be the outcome if the question of legalization were posed to the people?

Full list of countries below.
Top 30 cannabis consuming countries
  1. Iceland – 18.3% (prevalence of use as percentage of population)
  2. US – 16.2%
  3. Nigeria – 14.3%
  4. Canada – 12.7%
  5. Chile – 11.83%
  6. France – 11.1%
  7. New Zealand – 11%
  8. Bermuda – 10.9%
  9. Australia – 10.2%
  10. Zambia – 9.5%
  11. Uruguay – 9.3%
  12. Spain – 9.2%
  13. Italy – 9.2%
  14. Madagascar – 9.1%
  15. Czech Republic – 8.9%
  16. Israel – 8.88%
  17. St Lucia – 8.87%
  18. Belize – 8.45%
  19. Barbados – 8.3%
  20. Netherlands – 8%
  21. Greenland – 7.6%
  22. Jamaica – 7.21%
  23. Denmark – 6.9%
  24. Switzerland – 6.7%
  25. Egypt – 6.24%
  26. UK – 6.2%
  27. Ireland – 6%
  28. Estonia – 6%
  29. Bahamas – 5.54%
  30. Sierra Leone – 5.42%

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