Police have the power to issue cautions to people found with 3g or less  of cannabis when there are no further aggravating circumstances. *Creative Commons photo
Police have the power to issue cautions to people found with 3g or less of cannabis when there are no further aggravating circumstances. *Creative Commons photo

FRIDAY, DEC. 2: Lawmakers are exploring ways of preventing one-off offenders being put on the U.S. Stop List for minor offences.

Attorney General Kim Wilson revealed that her department was looking at models used in the U.S. where courts are provided with alternative disposal options than recording a conviction.

A conviction in Bermuda for drugs possession can trigger the U.S. travel ban and has prevented individuals receiving medical care as well as pursuing further studies.

Ms Wilson said: ‘We are looking at the South Carolina model at present which operates a kind of sliding scale when you have three warnings and then you get a conviction.

“There is a school of thought that if you do crime you do the time.

“But it also important to be aware that the consequence of a drugs conviction is that you are likely to be placed on the stop list.

“We have no control of who can and can not enter U.S. borders.

“But we recognize that there are some young people falling onto this list for a minor offence that may preclude them from going overseas for medical or educational purposes.

“We have a responsibility to consider the consequences of that behaviour and the type of sentence which is appropriate to steer young individuals away from the criminal justice process.”

Under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act police have the power to issue cautions to people found with 3g or less of cannabis when there are no further aggravating circumstances.

But it is a discretionary power and some people may end up in court with a conviction.

Ms Wilson added: “We are exploring ways in which we can provide the courts with other means of disposal for these kind of offences.

“We are in no way condoning this kind of behaviour, just recognizing the impact a conviction for a so called lesser offence can have on an individual.”