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Apr 20, 2022

Chamber of Commerce Polls Members on Cannabis Legalization

The Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry, as a social partner, has polled its membership to get a pulse on their position on marijuana legalization.  The results of the questionnaire were made official last Thursday but the report flew under the radar during the Easter weekend, with the primary focus being placed on the churches’ effort to gather the requisite number of signatures to trigger a referendum.  Tonight, we take a look at the questions that were asked, as well as the responses and what they mean in the context of the ongoing discussion.  News Five’s Isani Cayetano reports.


Isani Cayetano, Reporting

The legalization of recreational cannabis remains at the forefront of public discourse.  It is a polarizing issue that is once again pitting the church against the state.  While the Churches Referendum Team continues to vet the signatures that it has garnered, the Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry has polled its membership to see where the private sector stands on the matter.  Three questions were put to participants, in the context of the Cannabis and Hemp Control and Licensing Bill (2022).  The first question: “Do you support the legalization of recreational cannabis as it would be so introduced via the Cannabis and Hemp Control and Licensing Bill 2022?”  Of the seventy-six responses, fifty percent said no, thirty-six point eight percent said yes and thirteen point two percent remained neutral.  The second question: “Do you support the idea that the question of the legalization of marijuana should be asked via a public referendum?”  Of the seventy-seven responses, sixty-five percent said yes, while thirty-five percent said no.  The third question: “Do you believe that the legalization of marijuana can have an impact on your business?  If yes, please provide a brief description of the type of anticipated impact.”  Interestingly, of the fifty-five responses, a little over fifteen said there would be no impact.  A little over fifteen also indicated that the negative impact would be on employee performance and safety.  The other three were evenly split between negative implications for commercial banking, negative impact on public safety and positive impact.  It is important to note that these figures may not reflect the entirety of the business community.

As an update to the churches’ petition activity, this afternoon the Evangelicals and the Catholics were vetting five hundred signatures, while the United Democratic Party was responsible for vetting two hundred.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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