Home Churches/Religion NEAB opposes Government’s move to decriminalize marijuana

NEAB opposes Government’s move to decriminalize marijuana

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The National Evangelical Association of Belize held a press conference this morning to address its concerns over the decriminalization of ten grams and less of marijuana, which is yet to become law. According to the NEAB, the move will have negative repercussions on youth and the Belizean society. But is the association moving in too late since the legislation is one step away from becoming law? According to the executive, they had made their concerns and objection to the legislation known to the government since May of last year. The Association had presented the Prime Minister with a document on May 20, 2016. It contained letters, reports and signatures of 225 pastors and leaders expressing concerns and objection to the decriminalization of ten grams and less of marijuana.  It also contained scientific reports on the research of the negative effects of marijuana use in teenagers,  among other studies.

Lance Lewis – President of NEAB

“We did not actually anticipate that this bill would be passed so fast so we were planning our own little rally and demonstration but we were in a sense caught on the back foot so to speak but we did submit a document talking about the issue and the problems that will occur because of decriminalization of marijuana but it was seemingly ignored and although we did follow up nothing came out of it.”

Scott Stirm – Vice President of NEAB

We presented to the government the concept that yes we fully support a compassionate alternate track towards expungement because God is a God of new beginnings and that is who we represent but do not lower the bar on consequences or else as any parent can tell you, any time you start to remove sequences for a certain behavior that behavior will increase. I did not see or hear one single ad concerning that process of consultation. To all of us, it is clear that this was rammed through as possible under the radar, it took us weeks to be able to get a copy of the legislation.

Today the Association’s president Pastor Lance Lewis added that after a long wait, they obtained a copy of the document after which they held a forum with the Deputy Solicitor General and a senior police officer. But even after that presentation, the Evangelical church leaders were against the legislation and maintain their position. They have also called out the government for the quote, “misguided legislative move that will only lead to increased lawlessness”.

Lance Lewis – President of NEAB

“Druggers played a pivotal part in the crime wave that we see in Belize. Of course, the gangs are there I don’t know their involvement but I would think that weed is involved. So with this new legislation to help to decriminalize and to put people out of prison for 10 grams, it’s` going to create more problems and more people will be in medical institutions.”

George Ferrar – Secretary of NEAB

“All the needed infrastructures to pull off what they are calling for does not exist in Belize and NDAC has said the same thing that we are not ready for it.”

Lance Lewis – President of NEAB

“We are not against the medical use of marijuana; we are against the smoking of marijuana.”

Scott Stirm – Vice President of NEAB

“We will see an increase of marijuana usage in the country of Belize it has nothing to do with medical marijuana. For both government and opposition, you are failing to protect and preserve our children’s innocence and their mental faculties by removing consequences that will only increase the exposure and access to marijuana to our children.”

The Association leaders say they do not believe that they have any substantial grounds to take the issue to court but will, however, fight the legislation by educating the public about the dangers of marijuana.

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