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Aug 2, 2022

Five Million Dollar Cannabis Referendum, Too Hefty a Price to Pay for a High

But, according to Minister Musa, the Government of Belize’s primary reason for putting a pause on the cannabis legislation is the five million dollar price tag attached to the execution of a cannabis referendum. In the meantime, he says, solutions to banking concerns will be explored.


Kareem Musa, Minister of New Growth Industries

Kareem Musa

“So, while it is correspond banking will always be an issue in Belize and the rest of the Caribbean, the real point is that it is a costly referendum. So, it is five million dollars that it would have cost to do this referendum, and for me that is the real reason. At the same time, as we put a pause on legislation, we have time to tighten up whatever loose ends there may be in terms of correspondent banking. But, in my respectful opinion, that would never be tied up. So, we have to figure a way, whether it is opening community banks or credit unions that do not have correspondent banking in order to bank the dollars here in Belize. That is the solution and there are several international companies who have expressed interest to come and open these community banks here. But, as I said, the primary concern is the cost of the referendum.”


Isani Cayetano

“Speaking with you on July fourth you mentioned that the ICJ referendum capped out at about three million and you wouldn’t want to exceed that, why five million for the cannabis referendum?”


Kareem Musa

“So, I thought and that was information I was provided then that it was three million dollars. Further checks with the Ministry of Finance have actually revealed that the total cost of the ICJ referendum under the last administration was well in excess of ten million dollars. So, the three million dollars may have been on the day expenses, but leading up to in terms of the education campaign, the billboards, and the ads, and all of that, it came up to in excess of ten million dollars.”


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