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Jul 8, 2022

U.D.P. Firmly Against Marijuana Industry

The United Democratic Party joined forces with the Belize Coalition of Churches several weeks ago during a countrywide campaign by the religious community to garner the necessary number of signatures by eligible voters to trigger a referendum on the legalization of cannabis. During the third term of the Barrow administration, cannabis was decriminalized. Individuals were allowed up to ten grams for personal consumption.  But the U.D.P., now in opposition, has since come forward to staunchly object to the legalization of a marijuana industry.  We asked Senator Peyrefitte this afternoon about the perceived about-face.


Senator Michael Peyrefitte, Chairman, U.D.P

“What the current government is doing is completely different from what we did.  We made it clear that indeed, it was a form of decriminalization if you were found with ten grams or less, smoking it at home or in the privacy of somebody else who gives you permission then you would be allowed to do that.  This is a completely different thing.  The government is looking to make sure that the marijuana situation becomes a business, becomes an industry and what we’re saying is that if you’re going to take it to that level, it has repercussions, serious repercussions, especially in the financial sector of the country.  So if you are going to take something to a certain level that’s going to affect us fundamentally, well then let the people decide if they are willing to pay that price. Most of our banks in Belize have correspondent banking situations with the U.S. who have made it very clear that they are not going to support a marijuana industry.  And you have one of the biggest banks in Belize, if not the biggest bank, their industry, their corresponding banks, for example, is not even in the U.S., it’s in the U.K.  So one of my things when I presented this in the senate is that we have to, we need to be very careful how we promote it as an industry, especially since we could be hurt in the financial sector with it because federally-speaking, marijuana is not legal in the States and that’s where we have most of our corresponding banks.  And even if it were to become federally legal in the States, it is not yet legal in the U.K.  So if you bank with the Belize Bank or you do business with the Belize Bank and you were to allow marijuana to be a formal industry now, it could have some feedback.”


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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