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Police department still not fully on board with decriminalization

Posted: Tuesday, November 7, 2017. 3:49 p.m. CST.

By BBN Staff: Despite the decriminalization of marijuana becoming official last week, many members of the Belize Police Department are still unsure how to enforce the new regulations.

Commander of the South Side of the department’s Easter Division Sr. Superintendent Marco Vidal said yesterday that officers in Belize City have yet to be sensitized on how the new regulations on marijuana possession will be enforced.

“For the time being we will be seeking advice in terms of how to deal with these matters as we encounter them,” Vidal added.

Legal Representative for the Police Department, Sr. Superintendent Bart Jones, said that his sensitization campaign so far has not made it to the southern formations as well as Belize City, but that the work is ongoing. Jones added that there have been some officers who have supported the move to decriminalize marijuana, but others remain opposed.

“Like the country, you would imagine that there are mixed views on the part of police officers in relation to this issue, as we are drawn from the public you would expect that equally there would be mixed views,” Jones said.

Jones reiterated the point presented by Attorney General Michael Peyrefitte, that the decriminalization extends only to personal use within the confines of one’s home and does not amount to the freedom to smoke marijuana in the streets. Jones also noted that persons are not to take any quantity of marijuana, not even the decriminalized amount, onto a school compound, or they could be subject to criminal charges.


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