Government Eyes Revival of Cannabis Legalization Amid Banking Sector Developments

Government Eyes Revival of Cannabis Legalization Amid Banking Sector Developments

The Briceno Administration may be looking to rekindle its venture to legalize weed and establish a legal and regulated cannabis industry. Since the churches were able to bring the government’s Cannabis Legislation to a halt in 2022, there has been little to no talk about the plan to reform the illicit drug. However, recent developments in the banking sector may be looking to bring new hope. Yesterday, Minister of Home Affairs and New Growth Industries Kareem Musa explained that banks may no longer face de-risking when accepting cannabis proceeds.

Kareem Musa, Minister of Home Affairs and New Growth Industries: “I believe significant strides have been made on the cannabis front especially in the United States where most of our correspondent banks sit. There was a recent reclassification of cannabis from a schedule one to a schedule three drug and so that will allow for greater banking possibilities within the United States and it’s expected that that will translate to greater baking opportunities for Belize as well. As I mentioned we do have correspondent banking relations, we want to preserve that by all means and so I don’t see it, again as before I don’t see it being a big issue because so long as it’s a cash industry per se but we do want to move away from it being a cash industry in the future and so with these new classifications it will help the banking of it.”

The National Evangelic Association of Belize gathered enough signatures to trigger a national referendum on the matter in 2022. However, the Governor General did not issue a Writ of Referendum during the thirty days allotted under the law. The government stated that the issue was mainly due to concerns raised by banks and the five million dollars the referendum would cost.

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