Posted: Friday, August 23, 2019. 2:25 pm CST.
By Aaron Humes: Canada and Belize are the only former British possessions on the North American mainland, but 48 year old Matthew Meredith found out this week that their laws differ significantly as it relates to cultivating marijuana.
He faces a total of 13 thousand dollars due immediately in fines for multiple counts of drug trafficking and cultivation of marijuana plants which police found at his Sarteneja Road home, based on Special Branch intelligence, on Wednesday.
Meredith pleaded guilty, but explained to Magistrate Edd Usher that that he used marijuana for medical purposes, as he suffers from anxiety. Meredith, who has been in Belize for 9 months, said that in Canada marijuana use is legal and he can grow it, but he did not know that the laws in Belize were different. He told the Court that he grew the marijuana plants for personal use and not for distribution.
Belize decriminalized possession of marijuana up to 10 grams in November 2017. However, possession of amounts above 10 grams that is used generally and especially for distribution or sale, or cultivation for purposes of distribution or sale, is and remains a criminal offense. If caught with more than 10 grams subject to a fine of $10,000 AND three years in prison.
Meredith pleaded for leniency and promised to stop his plantation. The court prosector said he should have learned about Belize’s laws before coming here. But the Magistrate elected to hand down fines, which if not paid will result in four years and six months behind bars.
When police arrived to search the residence, Meredith admitted to having loose weed in the house, and weed trees at the back. Police found marijuana drying in the house, 52 cloned marijuana plants, 40 marijuana plants in plastic buckets up to 3 feet in height, and 25 plants in the ground up to 5 feet 8 inches tall. The marijuana plants were uprooted and burnt.
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