So, what does the Minister in charge of police think about the move to decriminalize small quantities of marijuana?
Police believe at this time that the drug trade in Belize has had a role to play in the spike in violent crime in Belize City. The press asked him about the wisdom of that plan in the context of the crime and marijuana trade in the City. Here's what he had to say:
"The marijuana trade has been attributed to the recants spike in gun violence at least in Belize City. As a parliamentarian where do you stand on the legislation to now decriminalize certain quantities of marijuana?"
Hon. Elodio Aragon, Minister of State - Police
"The situation on the streets is more than just drugs. There are a lot of other issues that contribute to crime. In terms of the decriminalization of marijuana, I can tell you this: I am in full support of this. We have to understand as a nation that we have a lot of young people that are criminalize for a stick of weed. That means they have problems getting a job. They have problems accessing education sometimes because of all of these things. They have problems to get a visa to travel. We criminalize our young people and a lot of people have records with marijuana and will never be able to get a visa, will never be able to get a proper job, because of that stigma that they were caught with a stick of weed."
"Furthermore, when you look at our prisons we keep fulling the prisons with what? For possession of marijuana and you might say well that is not true because they get bail. But there a lot of people who cannot make bail and that are fined and that fine is never paid and at the end of the day a commitment warrant comes out for them and they end up going to Hattieville, because they cannot make those payments."
"When you look at the decriminalization of marijuana I am in full support of it, because we need to ensure that we - just like alcohol, the prohibition days of alcohol this is same way we are going and I want the public to know decriminalization of marijuana is not something new to this world. Many nations across this world have some form of decriminalization and I think it's about time we look at it and of course there are issues and concerns by the churches. There are concerns by some of the people in the public, but I want to remind everybody that the legislation in terms of the decriminalization of marijuana does not give no right for anybody to be smoking marijuana in public. It is only allowing a certain small quantities to be had in terms of possession of that person whether at your home, in your vehicle, or on your person. But the smoking of marijuana is still illegal. They only way you will be able to smoke that is in your privacy of your home."