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Weed Referendum Delayed

The date for the referendum may be pushed back and a new clause will be added to the Cannabis and Industrial Hemp Control and Licensing Bill. This is what Prime Minister John Briceno told Love News when asked for an update on the marijuana referendum. PM Briceno explained that the Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance, Chris Coye met with bank representatives who expressed concerns about (quote) “mixing up marijuana money with the rest of their monies.” (end of quote) Following the consultation, Cabinet decided to hold back the referendum under conditions. The government plans to add a new clause to the bill to say that before it is enacted into law a national referendum must be held for people to decide whether they want to support it or not.PM Briceno has also instructed the Attorney General to look at the Referendum Act because it does not have a “pause button”. The Prime Minister explains: 

John Briceño, Prime Minister of Belize: “What happens is that you are the ones that told to me, you know $5 million is not to spend at this time and then also some members from the churches kind of reached out indirectly to say, well they’re concerned about it. We had a meeting with him and in the meetings they agreed for us to be able to hold it. To stall. What we have agreed in Cabinet is that we’re going to add, well it’s not an amendment because it’s not a bill yet, s not a law yet but, we’re going to add a new clause into the Bill to state, because the Bill is ready to enact. It’s gone though the Senate. We are going now to bring it to the House to put an amendment to the bill to say that whenever before this is enacted into the law, we must hold a referendum based on what the churches have asked. That is one but ironically, the irony of the whole thing is that we are not ready to put this into law yet. Remember we could have done this already. But a few weeks ago, Minister Coye in a meeting with the Banking association, they were raising some concerns. They said listen, if we legalise this in the United States, federally, it is still an illegal substance and it could affect their corresponding banking relationships that they have so we’re asking if we can put a pause on it until we can address this issue. So that is why we had it on pause because you have to address this issue. So that is why we had it on pause, because he have to address this issue. So even before we do go to that we will have to address this, once it is an address that we would not have a problem or find a way how we could deal with that then we could then meet with the infomed, well the Churches and everyone that now we will be calling The Referendum.”