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Jul 15, 2022

Should Belizeans Blame the Churches for the $5 Million It Will Cost to Hold a Marijuana Referendum

Prime Minister John Briceño

Now that the government has to find five million dollars that it didn’t budget for in its recent national budget, we ask, could this have been avoided had there been proper consultations with all interested parties, including the churches? The churches and the opposition argue that government should have done more by way of reaching out to all stakeholders.  On the other hand, the Briceño administration maintains that it did so extensively. We asked the prime minister for his thoughts on the matter.


Prime Minister John Briceño

“It think that’s a question that you’d need to ask the churches. Earlier when we were just starting out on consulting because listen we need to give credit to Minister Musa. Minister Musa did extensive consultations and you just heard one or two persons openly objecting to it, but basically you did not hear that outcry that we should not do it. We did extensive consultations. We even had it in PlanBelize. We spoke about it even when it was being decriminalized. I said why don’t we proceed and go all the way? What have we done with the decriminalizing? What we have done is we have empowered the criminals because the criminals or the gangs, they are the ones that control the marijuana and sell it us the Belizean people. So now when you have it in your possession, once it’s under ten grams, it’s legal. They can’t do you anything, but where did you get it? You had to buy it from somebody, so we felt that if we can legalize it and regularize it, that we can then control and remove it from the criminal elements and secondly, that we can earn some much-needed revenues for the Government of Belize.”

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