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U.S. hemp consultant has advice for Belize

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One leading hemp research company is looking at creating an FDA-approved capsule that could replace ibuprofen to treat acute pain. (Dreamstime/TNS)

Posted: Thursday, January 14, 2021. 2:35 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: Alex Lavin, CEO of Growth Industries for New England, a Rhode Island-based company specializing in industrial marijuana cultivation and products used for both recreational and medicinal purposes, is offering consulting services to Government in its push to get the industry started in Belize.

After Minister of Home Affairs and New Growth Industries Kareem Musa’s fulsome praise for the potential of hemp and marijuana legalization (condemned immediately by the National Evangelical Association of Belize which has always strongly opposed it), Lavin called the Government’s intervention “a breath of fresh air.”

Speaking with reporters, Lavin emphasized the importance of industry standards as from the licenses issued under the administration of Dean Barrow, none of the companies licensed have produced, to his judgment, any product that meets consumable standards.

“If Belize wants to see revenue come into the country so that you can see more things happen, more in education, more in healthcare and things of that nature, you are going to need to create a standard of product that can be exported in the future. Everywhere in the United Stated and everywhere across the world everywhere including EU – you have to be CGMP or what they call UMP which is called certify good manufacturing practices. Meaning that if the FDA or any testing body would come in there it’s going to say the exact amount of THC that’s on it, CDB content, does it have any pesticides on it, does it have any mold on it, because then if that’s the case you can’t even export it, you can’t even consume it…” Lavin said, adding that companies that encourage job creation and expanding involvement from across the country are high priority.

As for legalization of marijuana, Lavin noted that those who use it in religious or recreational practice, notably Rastafarians, must be exempted and the amount must be significant for personal use. Lavin, a smoker himself, says even he can’t smoke an ounce (about 28 grams) of marijuana every day; anyone with more than that in their possession clearly intends to sell it.

Marijuana recreation, he further suggests, may expand tourism and the Government can make money off the top by charging a different fee for tourists entering Belize to use marijuana as opposed to Belizeans.

Belize has decriminalized use of up to 10 grams of marijuana but still prohibits it near schools, as well as cultivation and trafficking.

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