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Minister of Home Affairs: Industrial hemp industry is viable but needs a lot of work

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Posted: Wednesday, December 30, 2020. 12:05 pm CST.

By BBN Staff: Industrial hemp, one of the fastest-growing plants in the world can be used to make a wide variety of products including paper, disposable plastics, and even fuel. It represents a multi-million dollar industry worldwide, an industry that Minister of Home Affairs and New Growth Industries, Kareem Musa, believes Belize can tap into; however, he notes that it will take a lot of work.

Speaking on Belize’s industrial hemp industry this week, Musa said that there is a need for those with expertise in the field to assist in the development of policies, strategies, and much-needed legislative changes to create an environment for industrial hemp to thrive.

“We don’t have any local experts in Belize. When you look at the hemp industry in particular it has been over one year and a half since industrial hemp has been legalized in Belize but you cannot point me to a single license holder that has successfully grown, manufactured, and sold help in Belize,” Musa said.

He also noted that the former government administration issued 42 licenses to companies that wanted to produce hemp in Belize, but that none of the license holders had prior experience in the field. Musa noted with disgust that none of the license holders paid any application fees, which means that there has been no benefit from the hemp industry to the people of Belize thus far.

Musa went on to say that the industry will need to be “heavily regulated” to ensure that the hemp does not exceed the 0.3 percent THC content to keep growers from manufacturing marijuana and that an extensive tracking system needs to be developed for Belizean hemp at every point in the value chain.

Government is preparing to hold its first stakeholder meeting on the hemp and marijuana industry in January 2021.

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