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Government puts signing marijuana legislation on hold in light of referendum process triggered by the churches

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Posted: Tuesday, May 3, 2022. 5:12 pm CST.

By Benjamin Flowers: Today, the churches submitted petitions to the Governor General to trigger a referendum on the Cannabis and Industrial Hemp Control and Licensing Bill, 2022, and the Government of Belize has responded by saying that it will refrain from signing the Bill into law, to allow the referendum process to run its course.

GOB maintains that over the past year and four months it held consultations with stakeholders in good faith and that the Bill has gotten support from the government and opposition in the National Assembly, but it remains committed to the democratic process and will hold off on signing the Bill into law.

“In accordance with the Referendum Act, the petition will now undergo the process of vetting and verification by the Elections and Boundaries Department,” GOB said. “The government commits to continue to shepherd the process with respect for all concerned with the deference and dignity of valuing all lawful and reasonable input.”

GOB also categorized the situation as an “inspiring and encouraging day for the democratic system of opinions,” and that it is convinced that whatever decision is made will be in Belize’s best interest.

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