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Jul 7, 2022

Churches are Prepared for National Vote on Marijuana Legalization

The religious community has finally broken its silence since Chief Elections Officer Josephine Tamai announced earlier this week that the churches were successful in meeting the ten percent threshold needed to trigger a referendum on the issue of cannabis legalization in Belize. On Monday, Pastor Louis Wade, the church’s spokesperson for its anti-marijuana effort, told News Five that they would refrain from speaking on this development until after the Governor General had issued a writ of referendum ensuring that the national vote will actually be held. That order is yet to be given, however, earlier today the Belize Coalition of Churches released a statement welcoming the announcement made by the Elections and Boundaries Department. With a referendum to be held no later than September fourth, does the church have sufficient time to run an education campaign of its own amongst its flock, as well as the masses of Belizean voters?  Pastor Wade is optimistic.


Louis Wade

Louis Wade, Belize Coalition of Churches

“Time is on our side.  When we went into the streets, we had extended dialogue with the citizens of this nation and they have their reasons for forcing government to a referendum and they have their reasons why they will vote no.  We believe, however, that since the period of time that we went out on the streets, there is new information which shows us even more why we should reject marijuana legalization in Belize. There is more scientific evidence that’s coming in; and so, we want the opportunity to also share these pieces of information with the public.  We do not believe that the government has made a very good argument for legalization. They are simply talking about economics but they have not shown us where the police department, for example, at the present moment is able to regulate a marijuana industry.  We found out from BAHA that the government had stopped them and prevented them from going out and testing the marijuana fields or the hemp fields, or the ganja fields, regardless of what it wants to be called.  And, we also know that the committee has not met for almost two years or for at least a year and a half since this government came to office.  And so the government may be trying to talk but it has not demonstrated its ability to regulate marijuana as we speak.”


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