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Minister Musa Says the Marijuana Bill is Taking too Long to be Implemented

The debate over the marijuana industry continues as the government has received much pushback on its plan for a green revolution. Following its presentation in the House of Representatives there has been plenty of criticisms from various sectors including the churches. Last week the National Evangelical Association of Churches said that the government seems to be rushing the Bill and that the industry may attract cartels to the country. Minister of New Growth Industries, Kareem Musa responded to the churches’ concerns and said that as is, the bill is taking too long to be implemented and that there is the possibility that the churches may not be informed on the current marijuana trade in Belize.

Kareem Musa, Minister of Home Affairs and New Growth Industries: “You have to understand that our administration came in on a mandate to rebound our economy. It’s been a year. Some people will argue and say it’s taken too long because this is one of those industries where we can see significant value back to our economy, back to getting that 10% for our teachers and our public officers but if it is that they want to drag it out another year or so then so be it. At least I did my part, our administration did our part to present it. But of course we have to understand there are concerns so we’ll take those concerns into consideration. The NEAB I believe the Evangelical Association put out a release and their concern was that this would attract cartels to Belize. I don’t know if there’s a disconnect or if they’re not understanding the current situation with marijuana in Belize but it is cartels currently running it so their fear that cartels would come to Belize is misplaced since that is what is running the streets right now. Our young men are killing each other over this plant and it’s because of the cartel involvement. So we’re trying to regulate that industry. It cannot be that you have something that is decriminalized but people have no way of getting it so we’re trying to plug those holes by putting in place this law that the government would be able to regulate the industry. So that to me is the only concern. There was one about the age to be eligible to qualify to get the card we’ve moved that on the recommendation of the churches and the dental association to twenty-one instead of eighteen so it won’t be eighteen like alcohol.”

The Marijuana Bill or the Misuse of Drugs (Amendment) Bill made it before the Senate last Thursday but was deferred to a committee for further review.