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Jul 27, 2022

G.O.B. Stalls Cannabis and Industrial Hemp Control and Licensing Bill 2022, Amidst Concerns from Banking Sector.

There will be a change in the proposed date for the referendum on the legalization of cannabis in Belize. Initially, the referendum had been tentatively set for September fourth, in keeping with the process outlined in the Referendum Act.  But, due to concerns within the banking sector, the Government of Belize decided to stall the Cannabis and Industrial Hemp Control and Licensing Bill 2022, which has already been passed through the lower and upper houses. Furthermore, according to Prime Minister John Briceño, church leaders have voiced concerns over the five million dollar price tag attached to the execution of a referendum, given the current national economic challenges.


Prime Minister John Briceño

Prime Minister John Briceño

“You were the ones that told me that five million dollars is a lot to spend at this time, then also some members from the churches reached out indirectly to say they are concerned about it. We had a meeting with them, and in the meeting they agreed for us to be able to hold it, to stall it. What we agreed in Cabinet is that we are going to add, well it is not an amendment because it is not a law yet, but we are going to add a new clause to state, because the bill is ready to enact, it has gone through the Senate, we are going to bring it to the House to put an amendment to say, before this is enacted into law we must hold a referendum based on what the churches have asked. So, that is one. But, ironically, the irony of the whole thing is that we were into 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 associations said they were raising some concerns. If we legalize this, in the United States federally it is an illegal substance and it could affect the correspondence banking they have. So, they were asking if we could put a pause on it until we could address this issue. So, that is why we had it on pause, so that we could address this issue. So, even before we do go to that, we will have to address this. Once these is addressed that we will not have a problem, or find a way to deal with that, then we will then meet with the churches and everyone that now we will be calling the referendum.”


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