Posted: Tuesday, July 6, 2021. 4:28 pm CST.
By Benjamin Flowers: Following television appearances by Prime Minister John Briceño and Minister of Home Affairs and New Growth Industries, Kareem Musa, regarding the legalization of the marijuana industry in Belize, the National Evangelical Association of Belize (NEAB) has publicly re-stated its condemnation of the idea.
NEAB recirculated a December 2020 press release this afternoon, explaining that its position has not changed, but has rather been strengthened.
“The lack of consultation with Evangelicals & affiliate denominations in Belize (census estimate of 24% of the populace) is highly offensive,” NEAB said. “Our heart desire & goal is a partnership with Government on these important moral issues, but such controversial maneuvers without consultation or Public Referendum makes it that much more shocking. This is a very bad move for Belize that will only result in Politicians, Foreigners, and Cartel bosses in guayaberas cashing in.”
NEAB has stated previously that engaging in a legalized marijuana trade would further degrade Belize as a society, which is already facing heavy substance abuse issues under the current laws which criminalize marijuana use and possession. The churches also noted that the promised ticketing system that was to be rolled out with the decriminalization of marijuana never materialized, which leaves little hope that any other system promised to keep the industry in check will actually come to be.
The churches also warned that there is some economic blowback from the decision to legalize marijuana, as Belize would likely run afoul of money laundering or other tax evasion international laws, making it harder for local businesses to access international funds.
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