Father John Robinson of the Catholic Church have come out expressing opposition on the legalization of marijuana. In a pre-recorded address, the priest says he believe that the legalization of the drugs could lead to an increase in crimes.
Father John Robinson, Mount Carmel Parish: “I address you today because of a grave concern that will negatively affect Belize in the near future if the Cannabis and Hemp Control & Licensing Bill 2022 is passed. This bill would legalise the growth, production, distribution and sale of marijuana throughout the entire country of Belize. People have asked if the Catholic Church has a position on this bill. The answer is yes and the position can be found in the Catechism of the Catholic Church which is the official teaching of the church. I quote “the use of drugs inflicts very grave damage on human health and life. Their use, except on strictly therapeutic grounds, is a grave offence. Clandestine production of and trafficking in drugs are scandalous practices. They constitute direct cooperation in evil since they encourage people in practices gravely contrary to the moral law.” Legalising marijuana does not change the immorality of drug use. That which is immoral harms both the person and society. What legalising marijuana will do is set up a contradiction between God’s law and man’s law increasing its use throughout the country including among youth. It will lower the moral standards of the country, It will increase violence throughout Belize. It will impact tourism, making Belize less family friendly. The black market will actually grow and other drugs will be more abundant and available. It will increase corruption within Government. It will increase addictions It will produce health complications for many Belizean users.”
The Catholic leader went further to make an appeal to the government to reconsider the decision as there could be a higher price to pay down the road.
Father John Robinson, Mount Carmel Parish: “This particular law will in effect create a new drug cartel in Belize. The cartel would in fact be the Government of Belize who would produce, distribute, and control the drugs. It may well be that the masterminds of this bill have the best of intentions. However, the real cost of this bill has not been factored into the equation. We only need to look at our neighbours to see the devastating effects drugs have on society. The Mexican drug cartels have transformed vast parts of Mexico into war zones. Much of the violence in Guatemala can be attributed to drugs and much of the violence happening in Belize city can be attributed to drugs. The US has more recently legalised marijuana in various states. It has had devastating results. I travelled through California recently, one of the richest places in the world, in a place that legalised recreational marijuana back in 2016. It is now unrecognisable with homeless people living in the streets, in parks, along train tracks, many or perhaps most of them are addicted to drugs. I pray that our leaders will reconsider this bill.The real cost of this bill will not be measured in dollars and cents but rather in the loss of wrecked lives especially of our youth. I would ask parents, if we cannot stand up and say no to this bill, how can we expect our children to say no to drugs?’
As we reported last Friday, the Lead Senator for Government Business, Eamon Courtenay announced that there will be some further amendments made to the Misuse of Drugs Act prior to enactment.