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Open dialogue with Cannabis Consultant Alex Lavin, Zoom Meeting #547716
01/24/21 05:56 AM
01/24/21 05:56 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 79,924
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

Marty  Offline OP
Join us for an open dialogue with Cannabis Consultant Alex Lavin of Growth Industries USA and Hon. Kareem Musa as we evolve the future of the cannabis market in Belize.

Email to register for the virtual town hall meeting with Hon. Kareem Musa and Alex Lavin:
[email protected]

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Re: Open dialogue with Cannabis Consultant Alex Lavin, Zoom Meeting [Re: Marty] #547838
01/29/21 05:29 AM
01/29/21 05:29 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 79,924
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

Marty  Offline OP

Benefits of Cannabis Virtual Town Hall Meeting
Alex Lavin - Cannabis Consultant

Re: Open dialogue with Cannabis Consultant Alex Lavin, Zoom Meeting [Re: Marty] #547843
01/29/21 06:06 AM
01/29/21 06:06 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 79,924
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

Marty  Offline OP

The Big Cannabis Consultation

Since the beginning of the month, we've been telling you about the decision by Kareem Musa, the Minister of Home Affairs and New Growth Industry, to lead a serious conversation with the Belizean public about the possible legalization of cannabis. The Briceno Administration wants to explore the idea of establishing a marijuana and hemp industry in Belize.

From the Minister's perspective, this is a potentially lucrative endeavour that Belize has not seriously considered. The Ministry is being advised by Alex Lavin, a pro-marijuana advocate, and expert who has established marijuana industrial operations in the US.

He's now in Belize and last night, the Ministry of New Growth Industries held a virtual town hall meeting, in which Lavin and Musa spoke extensively on the topic to the Belizeans who tuned in. 7News a part of that discussion and Daniel Ortiz reports:

For this 1st Town Hall Meeting to discuss marijuana legalization and the possible establishment of a Cannabis industry in Belize, the Ministry of New Growth Industries attract the attention and a little more than 200 Belizeans who tuned in via Zoom teleconference. They were there to find out how serious the Government was about progressing to these big stages on a very controversial topic.

The head table established very early that this needed to be a calm and mature discussion.

Kevin Arthurs - CEO, Ministry of New Growth Industries
"We know that there's a lot of enthusiasm because we received over 150 questions. This is more a regulatory and explorative conversation that we hope to have, and as we go through that, there are some rules that will help us to move forward quickly and respectfully."

Hon. Kareem Musa - Minister of New Growth Industries
"We have been sitting by as spectators, watching the rest of the world take part in this very lucrative industry. How do we move forward in a very responsible manner? I must emphasize that."

Alex Lavin - Cannabis Consultant
"I've been coming to Belize for close to about 7 to 10 years now. And one of the things that I was always trying to drive home is - first and foremost - the beauty that Belize has, but the natural climate that it has, and if it ever wanted to be a player in the hemp or cannabis industry, the importance of having standards because the industry has evolved so much that if Belize does not catch up to those standards, there will be no market for Belize."

Probably the biggest message that the consultant brought to the virtual town hall meeting last night was the importance of high standards in any potential cannabis industry in Belize. If there ever is to be successful Belizean marijuana or hemp products, consumers, both domestic and external, need to be assured that it is of high quality and that harmful chemicals or processes weren't used to manufacture them.

Alex Lavin
"Take a bag of potato chips, Doritos, any brand that you can think of, Cheerios cereal, every single one has to tag and trace from beginning to end, to know where the wheat came from, to know how it was processed. Who processed it? What batch number? If there is an error, you need to be able to find it. If it turns into a wild-wild west, then the reality is that no one, not an investment group, banking, not anyone will take Belize seriously in this industry. So, the importance of standards is paramount for Belize to move ahead in this industry."

Kevin Arthurs
"What if somebody would also say that listen, in Belize, those high standards don't apply. That's not what we do here. And here, we could simply call somebody and get a pass."

Alex Lavin
"I would tell you to be very cautious from a health standards standpoint because every single product that I've tested in Belize tests very high in mold, powdery mildew, and pesticides. So, I would also caution these people that are maybe accustomed to maybe purchasing in that angle. Let me tell you that majority of it is coming from Mexico. So, Belize is not benefitting anything from any of this. To the individuals who say that they can call their normal dealer to go and get it for them, I would caution them that this is a health standard standpoint, and this involves the whole nation, not just that one individual. It also includes the tourists who are going to come into this country, that are accustomed already to a quality of product that they're used to getting. Do you want to smoke a contaminated product? Do you want to buy a chocolate chip cookie that's laced with pesticide? Why would you want to smoke cannabis that's laced with pesticides?"

On the regulation side of this plant, these are a few ideas that the Ministry has for Cannabis.

Hon. Kareem Musa
"Take, for instance, Kevin, that I have in my possession, and I can have in my possession - all day long - 10 grams of cannabis. So, from 8 o'clock to 9 o'clock, I can smoke 10 grams, from 9 o'clock to 10 o'clock, 10 grams, 11 to 12, ten grams. That adds up the amount of cannabis that one can consume in one day. It adds up. But now, think about putting in place regulations, whereby you are issued a registration card. And we're saying that going this route, you will have an ID that whenever you go to a store to purchase, it will be scanned in that you purchased a particular product, and it was only 10 grams. And we can limit that purchase. You cannot go over that. So, even if we adjust it to 20 grams, which I'm not in favour of that. I don't think anybody should be smoking more than 10 grams for the day. But, if you go and register your card. And you scan your card, you cannot get any more for the rest of the day."

On the establishment of a local cannabis industry, the Minister thinks that time is running out for Belize to pursue this and stay ahead of the global progression on marijuana.

Hon. Kareem Musa
"What we have to realize is that there is a very small window of opportunity. Because right now as we speak, you can see it every single day on international news, Mexico is moving forward with adult use only, and medicinal consumption of marijuana. In the United States of America, all of the states are moving in the direction of medicinal and recreational use of marijuana. It's going "federal", as they say. And once it goes federal, it is now like any single product that you have. It's like a pack of cigarettes. So, in very short order, if Belize does not capitalize at this very moment, to get some economic benefit from this, we will continue to be an importer nation. We will be importing Marlboro cigarettes, cannabis cigarettes."

The Minister is proposing marijuana policy changes to be rolled out in a few months' time.

Hon. Kareem Musa
"Where it goes from a discussion to a policy, to legislation, I think is where Miss Audrey is asking. And, I would want to say within 2 months, in terms of cannabis regulation. Industrial hemp, we are already revising those regulations. And, that should be ready by the middle of February. I know a lot of you in this particular Zoom are interested in moving forward with industrial hemp. I know everybody is eager and excited to move forward. We want to take our time with this."

Channel 7

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