The Government today made further moves to legalize marijuana. The current situation surrounding marijuana and hemp was brought before the house this morning by the Minister of Home Affairs and New Growth Industries, Kareem Musa. Minister Musa introduced a Bill for an act to amend the misuse of the Drug act. The Bill is set to establish the licensing, registration and operational requirements for the cultivation, processing and distribution and delivery of cannabis products for adult use. According to Musa this Bill will authorize the Minister to establish regulations for monitoring and enforcement.
Kareem Musa, Minister of Home Affairs and New Growth Industries: “We will be allowing in this legislation home growing as well so you as an individual at home can grow two plants but also in terms of commercialization and the industrial aspect of it there will be various licenses included in this particular bill. There is cultivation license, there is a manufacturing and processing license, there is also a consumption lounge licenses so various different license that fall under this legislation. Even in the great United States I can tell you that the religious community did not offer any objections, I don’t expect the same here, we are a little more conservative than that so I do expect negative feedback so to speak maybe not a backlash but when it comes to that particular issue it in my opinion was resolved in 2017 when we decriminalized the very cannabis. So you’re allowed to have ten grams, you Hipolito can walk away right now and this police officer standing behind us cannot stop you so you’re allowed to have it but what we have done is create a very irresponsible environment because we don’t know how you got it if it just fell from the sky because you can’t grow it and you can’t purchase it and so this debate over whether we should legalize marijuana was dealt with in 2017; right now we’re just trying to put structure in place to make it responsible as we move forward.”
Supporting the bill, was Opposition Leader Moses “Shyne” Barrow. Barrow says that the legislation however must allow for small investors to be fairly treated and the cannabis industry in Belize moves forward to being legalized.
Moses “Shyne” Barrow, Leader of the Opposition: “This is one of the times that I agree with the government. I applaud the government for taking such a bold step towards removing the criminality of cannabis consumption and cannabis trade which has the criminalization of cannabis has impacted the poor and lower class for generations. So applaud the government, Minister Kareem Musa for taking such a bold step that will not only reverse generations of discrimination and classism but also help to boost our economy because the economic ramifications of the legalization of cannabis are tremendous. I just hope that – I’ve looked at the legislation and I will discuss it I sit on the House Committee for National Security and Border and I will certainly raise to my colleagues the fact that we want to make sure that there is no exclusion in this legislation. We have to make sure that those lower class working people who have had to engage in the marijauna trade in order to survive are not boxed out by the big men, by the rich wealthy and powerful so there has to be provisions to ensure because I already saw something in the legislation that says they have to do a background check and they have to do an INTERPOL check so I hope and I pray that the Honorable Minister of Police and New Industry will ensure that everyone who was convicted of a marijuana charge, a drug trafficking charge will have their records expunged and that they be able to participate in the marijuana trade.”