Belize is moving full steam ahead with the establishment of a legal marijuana industry. Earlier in the week, Cabinet gave its approval to introduce revised legislation that will provide for the control and licensing of the cannabis industry and to establish the necessary legislative framework to govern and regulate the cultivation, processing, distribution, and delivery of cannabis products for adult use only. Minister of New Growth Industries, Kareem Musa, says the initial amendments that were made to the Misuse of Drugs Act were concerning to some members of the Senate and had received push back. According to Musa, his ministry was prompted to revise the structure of the bill which is now titled the Cannabis Control and Licensing Bill, 2022 that will be tabled at the next sitting of the House of Representatives.
Kareem Musa, Minister of Home Affairs and New growth Industry:
“As you will recall, the amendments that we had made to the Misuse of Drugs Act had been passed in the House of Representatives. It was entirely supported by our side of the house and I believe three out of the four parliamentarians on the opposition had supported it, including the Leader of the Opposition. But when it got to the Senate, concerns were raised in terms of the structure of the bill. They preferred to see it as a stand alone bill and so what we did, we just extracted what was contained in the Misuse of Drugs Act and created a Cannabis Regulations and Licensing Bill and so that was taken back before cabinet for approval as a stand alone bill which will now, we will start the process over in the House of Representatives on the next occasion and hopefully we still have the support of the opposition moving forward and hopefully that addresses the concerns of the social partners, Senators, that had raised those issues at the Senate level.”
Musa also sent a warning to company’s who have already registered to handle everything cannabis and reiterated the fact that Belize is yet to officially legalize the plant for recreational or medicinal use.
Kareem Musa, Minister of Home Affairs and New growth Industry: “I like to advise those companies and individuals because it’s really an exciting time for a new industry for Belize. I try to encourage them, let us wait until the legislation is passed before we incorporate these companies and obviously there’s going to be a very rigorous application process that they will have to fill out as well for approval by the commission before they can actually get to start working and so, yes, while as minister it’s definitely encouraging to see the level of excitement, we still have to be very mindful that the law still is what it is at this time even though the Leader of the Opposition is saying we have legalised weed, that’s not the case. We have not gotten there yet.”