Posted: Tuesday, June 28, 2022. 8:27 pm CST.
By BBN Staff: As Belize continues the discussion on whether or not to legalize marijuana, Belizeans are still being arrested and charged for offenses connected to it. James Herrera, a 36-year-old fisherman from Belize City, was convicted of a marijuana possession charge this week, but his guilty plea raised pertinent issues that should be considered in the national debate.
Herrera was arraigned in the Belize City Magistrate’s Court on a charge of possession of controlled drugs, for 24 grams of marijuana.
In court, he immediately pleaded guilty and explained that he had to carry more than the decriminalized 10 grams, as he would be out at Turneffe Atoll for at least four days and could not come in every day to replenish his supply.
He also explained that when he dives for fish he feels pain after and uses the marijuana to offset that pain.
For his guilty plea, Herrera was fined $280 plus a $5.00 cost of court which he must pay by August 31, 2022, or will spend two months in prison.
Herrera’s predicament highlights the issue of medical marijuana use which many Belizeans have been complaining about for years when they are charged for marijuana possession. The amount decriminalized is also brought into question, when held up to the rationale of his four-day fishing trip.
The Government of Belize is currently counting signatures gathered by the churches which are geared towards holding a referendum on marijuana legalization.
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