Barbados Attorney General Dale Marshall told lawmakers on Friday that cannabis possession of 14 grams or less would soon be met with a fine rather than criminal charges, according to a Loop News report. However, he warned that those found wasting the court’s time and government resources by being dishonest with officials could face stiffer penalties.
He urged those caught with cannabis to use “common sense” and just admit their crime rather than attempt to lie to police and judges.
“There is always the possibility that a person will say ‘not me’, ‘officer you ain’t find me with nothing’. That is the first reaction. He may say ‘officer this is not cannabis, this is something else’. If that situation arises then the course of the law will be followed. … We don’t want anybody to plead guilty if what they have in their pocket is cerasee bush, that’s obviously not on, but you will have your day in court for the court to determine what that is.” – Marshall to the House of Assembly
The Attorney General explained that a person who disputes whether they were in possession of cannabis can be prosecuted and in the event the person is offered a monetary penalty but insists to take the case to trial, they would receive a higher fine.
During his remarks, Marshall reiterated that the reforms do not legalize cannabis possession.
“It is still a crime. When this bill is passed it will still be a crime but what we are saying is that a person in possession of a minor amount is not trafficking, is more of a risk to himself,” he said to lawmakers. “We have not legalized cannabis use, so take that off of the table completely. And if you need to see how it is not a crime then it’s because there is a penalty.”
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