The Belize Progressive Party is calling for the legalization of marijuana and hemp. The third-party issued a statement on social media last night indicating that the legalization would increase tax revenues, provide more jobs, and create investment opportunities. The BPP has not fleshed out its proposal on the issue but has noted that Belizeans currently spend twenty million dollars per year on marijuana for recreational use. Today we sought a preliminary statement from the Party Leader, Patrick Rogers on the movement.
Patrick Rogers, Party Leader, Belize Progressive Party: “In 2017 I believe it was the police had reported that they had confiscated over $29 million in street value of marijuana so that was just what the police confiscated in a few years back about three years ago so certainly we would expect that there would be more than about 50,000 weed smokers in Belize which would mean you could multiply $26 million times five which would put you over a hundred million a year industry. Now where is all that marijuana coming from right now Belize because we have maintained that that ten grams was not for Belizeans, that it was for the tourist so that when the police were harassing the tourists for them to give him a little fifty or hundred or two hundred US to not get caught up in front a police and can’t make back the ship on time so that law to decriminalize ten grams was never about us Belizeans because it never told us where we could get it from it’s still illegal for where we would get it from. So if it were being done about us it would certainly include that you could grow a couple plants for your own personal use so we could say that it was about the tourist. So to make it about us now we’re saying we want to see it not decriminalized but fully legalized so that the little man on the street could start import substitution. The plant is cash crop that will save money from going out of the country because trust me it’s Mexico coming out with that hundred million or so since all the weed is coming in through the Mexican cartel and security service officials that they link with through in Belize. Poor little immigration men them they had to go to them because no police will touch that trying to bring in any weed that is not going through this cartel that has a lock on this weed that is being sold in Belize. So that is why we as the BPP felt the need that if none of the two mainstream parties see the need to legalize this thing we will certainly make it one of our agenda items and for me in all honestly I see it an issue to address some of the root problems we have in the country. At jail a lot of the people are for marijuana charges and the truth is that the judge that probably hears their case probably smokes weed, the prosecutor smokes weed, the police that arrests him smokes weed, the warden that will be watching him smokes weed but the hypocrisy of this system is that they will use the weed to target our little grassroots youths in the street and once you get a weed charge that’s it it’s on your record even if your parents are in the states and want to file for you you have problems now because you have a weed charge on your record. That is hypocrisy.”
Rogers went ahead and stated that they will later release the fleshed-out policy.
Patrick Rogers, Party Leader, Belize Progressive Party: “We will enact legislation to legalize the use and cultivation of marijuana. So based on that our members are free to take these different directions in our brochure and expand on them. So naturally brother Will Mehia our Deputy Political Leader he has always been the champion of legalizing marijuana, he took the initiative to do that flyer that flyer was sent to the executive for approval the moment it was approved some of the executive members started posting it on Facebook but clearly we will stand by that statement we will be able to upon publishing of our direction brochure be able to flesh out the entire policy how we will ensure that the small growers will be able to remain in the industry in an influential way. So we don’t want it to be like the hemp, the hemp only some big people will be able to make some money off that industry because that requires a lot of value add. We want to see that when marijuana is legalized let’s say you give people the right to grow six plants but no more than twenty in a household or something like that that would allow our small men to still make money off this thing because it’s a big amount of money that circulates in the informal economy that we call the poor man economy. We are a poor man economy we don’t want that to change when it is legalized.”
The flyer posted on social media seems to be a part of their campaign with the slogan, “vote BPP for a clean green economy.”