Is Marijuana Legal In Belize? (Asking For A Friend…)
In 2017 Belize amended its Misuse of Drugs Act. In the light of that amendment, Cathi Bray attempts to answer the question “is marijuana legal in Belize?”
Are you from a country where recreational or medicinal marijuana is legal? Are you thinking about moving to Belize and continuing your weed smoking activities?
Not so fast, my ganja-loving friend!
Caye Caulker, Belize / fritzcat (Flickr) / Commercial use allowed
In November 2017, Belize amended its Misuse of Drugs Act to allow legal marijuana use on private property.
This amendment places Belize in the forefront of Central American countries allowing legalized cannabis consumption.
But there are caveats. You can only have up to ten grams of marijuana. I guess we need to assume they mean ten grams on your person and/or property. That is not well defined in the law.
It is still illegal to grow, buy, or transport marijuana, though. So… if I can’t grow my own, buy weed, or transport it to my home, how can I possess or consume it?
Like many laws in Belize, this amendment is vague. So is marijuana legal in Belize or not?
The November 2 ruling, signed by the Governor General, Sir Colville Young, states the reason for the amendment is “to decriminalize the possession of cannabis in amounts not exceeding ten grams, to provide for the imposition of monetary and non-recordable penalties for the possession of cannabis in such amounts occurring on school premises, in specified circumstances, to decriminalize the smoking of cannabis on private premises.”
Since the law doesn’t specify cannabis use to be only for medical purposes, it makes way for legal recreational use in Belize.
But some in Belize say this is only a tiny step in the right direction, and the Misuse of Drugs Act’s limitations render it flawed.
Dangriga, Belize / fritzcat (Flickr) / Commercial use allowed
Despite this, Belize may be leading the way in Central America with this change in legislation.
Jon Hiltz from marijuana.com writes, “Other than mild cannabis reforms in Costa Rica, Central America has been slow to adopt a new attitude toward the plant. This apathy toward decriminalization or even legalization persists despite significant shifts in cannabis policy in the Caribbean and South America.”
Belize’s next-door neighbor Mexico leads the way in the region, legalizing medical marijuana in June 2017. Mexico also decriminalized the possession of small amounts of marijuana (up to five grams) in 2009.
Jamaica changed its law in 2014. It has now decriminalized up to two ounces, over five times the amount allowed in Belize. Jamaica also allows you to cultivate up to five plants for personal use.
“Decriminalization” does not mean “legalization,” though. You may still receive a fine, or worse, in areas with decriminalized cannabis, but you shouldn’t go to jail.
Most other Caribbean nations are not yet as progressive in this area.
The most amusing and mind-boggling statistics on cannabis use in Central America come from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).
Belize holds the record for the highest marijuana use in Central America, according to the UNODC—at a whopping 8.5 percent of the population! It took me a while to stop laughing, but then I read the report again. And yes, that’s what it says—“8.5 percent of the population”!
This is comical. As a Belizean friend said, “Maybe they wrote their statistics backward. Maybe they meant only 8.5 percent of Belize doesn’t smoke weed!”
They also state marijuana use among other Central American countries to be one percent in Costa Rica, 4.8 percent in Guatemala, 0.8 percent in Honduras (yes, that’s point eight percent), and 3.6 percent in Panama.
No stats for El Salvador or Nicaragua—I guess they don’t smoke weed there.
Say what? Has anyone in the United Nations ever been to Belize or the other Central American countries?
Dangriga, Belize / fritzcat (Flickr) / Commercial use allowed
With new reports coming out all the time extolling the positive benefits of cannabis, it’s possible many people moving to Belize may already use this herb to supplement their medical regimen.
If that’s the case, please proceed with caution. The best advice is to get to know people living in Belize who share the same desires as you and learn from their experiences.
Laws are one thing, but how Belize enforces them (or not), are something else.
Catherine “Cathi” Bray is a travel agent, freelance writer, and firearms instructor who splits her time between Belize and Texas with her husband, Tom and their Great Dane/Mastiff mix, Allen, and Poo-Hua-Hua puppy, Maya.
In 2017 Belize amended its Misuse of Drugs Act. In the light of that amendment, Cathi Bray attempts to answer the question "is marijuana legal in Belize?"
A cannabis trip guide to Belize
Do you need a vacation on the white sands of a tropical Island? Does it need to be 420 friendly? Well, you should consider Belize. Belize rates as the 18 th most marijuana consuming nation in the world, it is even higher than Jamaica. A good question that should come immediately to mind is the legality for tourists to be smoking marijuana as they lay on the pearly white beaches.
Possession and smoking marijuana before 2017 was illegal but was tolerated. With the amendment of the Misuse of Drugs Act in 2017, this facilitated the decriminalizing of weed and allowed one to possess up to ten grams of marijuana. Residents are safe if they are smoking marijuana on their private premises; this includes hotels where smoking is permitted if the owner gives permission. This law took industrial hemp out of the illegal realm, and it no longer was categorized the same as cannabis. CBD oil is legal in Belize if it is extracted from the industrial hemp plant, and today it is available for many health benefits.
That being said, it is still a felony to grow and sell cannabis in Belize. There is no distinction between using marijuana for medical or recreational use. The tourist will have to buy illegal weed. Presently there is no such thing as legal marijuana in Belize
For adventurous tourists, back-packing in Belize can be a trip of a lifetime, although smoking marijuana could be a problem due to the laws of smoking marijuana being tolerated in private residences only. The people of Belize are very friendly; the beautiful island has much to offer. The dense jungle and the incredible Mayan ruins are a sight to see.
When on the island, if you are wondering about the best way for you to get your daily serving of weed, a taxi driver is usually a perfect person to assist you in this purchase. With the right attitude, your taxi driver can take you to where you can purchase your weed. Do the right thing and remember to tip your taxi driver for help.
If you can get the assistance of a Belizean to purchase your stash, you will be happier with the price. Tourists are usually charged more for the same amount of weed that the locals will pay. It is a good practice to ask for the amount of cannabis you want in dollars, not weight.
Here are a few spots that will welcome you and your 420 attitudes:
Belize Cultural Adventure Guesthouse
Located in the Cayo District welcomes you to vaporize only while staying at the guesthouse.
Located in Cristo Rey Cayo District is an all-inclusive resort that provides cannabis.
Belize has started the positive move towards legal marijuana, by decriminalizing weed. However, the law states that the consumption of the herb must take place in a private residence. The best idea for the 420 tourists in Belize is to look for a private home to rent.
Remember to enjoy the sun enjoy the beach but do not possess more than 10 grams of weed, do not smoke marijuana in public places, and stay away from schools.
Traveling with weed in Canada
Coming to Canada? You may legally carry up to 30 grams of marijuana. Medical marijuana users traveling in Canada under 30 days may fly with cannabis.
You should consider Belize. Belize rates as the 18th most marijuana consuming nation in the world, it is even higher than Jamaica.