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Drug Bill Promises Reform of Weed Laws #551268
07/03/21 05:01 AM
07/03/21 05:01 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 74,983
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

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Marty  Offline OP

Another bill in the spotlight in today's House Meeting was the Misuse of Drugs Amendment. While Shyne spoke extensively on how the 11th Amendment seeks to target marginalized persons, he agreed that this bill works in favor of those. He encourages the ministry to seek ways to include even the smaller "durrs" and he dealers on the streets.

Hon. Shyne Barrow, Leader of the Opposition
"There are many times when I don't disagree with the government, but this is one of the times that I agree with the government. I applaud the government for taking such a bold step towards removing the criminality if cannabis consumption and cannabis trade which has the criminalization of cannabis has impacted the poor and lower class for generations. So I applaud the government Minister Kareem Musa for taking such a bold step that will not only reverse generations of discrimination and classism but also help to boost our economy. because the economic ramifications of the legalization of cannabis are tremendous. I just hope that I've looked at the legislation and I will discuss it. I sit on the house committee for national security and border and I will certainly raise to my colleagues the fact that we want to make sure that this is no exclusion in this legislation."

"We have to make sure that those lower class working people who have had to engage in the marijuana trade in order to survive are not boxed out by the big men, by the rich, wealthy and powerful, so there has to be provisions to ensure, because I already saw something in the legislation that says they have to do a background check and they have to do an Interpol check, so I hope and I pray that the Honorable Minister of Police and New Industries will ensure that everyone who was convicted of a marijuana charge, a drug trafficking charge will have their records expunge and that they be able to participate in the marijuana trade."

Home Affairs Minister Wants To Remedy Weed Law Shortcomings

But Minister Kareem Musa is already one step ahead. He explained that his goal is definitely to include those already existing dealers who risk their life in the marijuana trade.

He also told us that this is a continuation of the 2017's decriminalization of 10 grams of marijuana. He pointed out the absurdity with decriminalizing the possession but putting dealers and sellers behind bars.

This bill hopes to remedy it and while it was just introduced today, the minister has high hopes for it as a way to curb crime.

Hon. Kareem Musa, Minister of Home Affairs and New Growth Industries
"What we have is a situation where it's still an illegal trade. The importation of cannabis is primarily from Mexico. It is illegal and the people involved in the trade are actually endangering their lives. We know that it is the source of so much warfare within the streets of Belize City. I would go as far as to say it is the number one reason our young people are killing one another and so the legislation that we are moving forward with has in there a component of a social equity license and what does that entail; it entails that yes government expects to get revenue, tax dollars from this industry, but at the same time we need to incorporate the small man into this industry as well. There are players who are existing. We will be allowing in this legislation home growing as well, so you as an individual at home can grow 2 plants. But also, in term of commercialization and the industrial aspect of it, there will be various licenses included in this particular bill. There is cultivation license, there is manufacturing and processing license, there is also a consumption lounge licenses. So various different licenses that fall under this legislation."

"We have established a commission. It is the industrial hemp and cannabis control commission. So this commission if you could recall under the last administration they did it pretty much in the darkness of night and issued 36 different licenses only 2 of which are actually up and running. And so what we have done is combine the two, so there is an industrial hemp committee and now we are adding a cannabis control committee as well. So it's now one committee that will decide on industrial hemp licenses and a cannabis licenses, so as to ensure proper zoning and proper regulation of the industry. Who sits on this commission now representatives from various ministries as well as the cannabis consultant Mr. Lavine and we will be appointing a social equity license coordinator. So there will actually be representation from the community. from the small man community that will be sitting on this board to ensure that the small man is looked after."

But what about those with a possession charge on their record? Well, the minister says there is already the means to get it expunged and encourages those sitting in a cell at Kolby to take advantage.

Hon. Kareem Musa, Minister of Home Affairs and New Growth Industries
"The provision has been there since 2017, so you can if you have any convictions for possession you can apply to have it expunge."

Reporter
"What about those in Kolbe right now for drug possession?"

Hon. Kareem Musa, Minister of Home Affairs and New Growth Industries
"Yes, that's what I am saying, there should be applications and those individuals in my opinion if you are only there for a cannabis possession conviction you must be free. That is my personal opinion and so I do know there has been since the decriminalizing on this particular cannabis since then I don't hear of anybody being sent to jail for it. But if there is anybody there, certainly they can make an application to be sent home."

Channel 7


Re: Drug Bill Promises Reform of Weed Laws [Re: Marty] #551306
07/06/21 06:16 AM
07/06/21 06:16 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 74,983
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

.
Marty  Offline OP

PM Says Marijuana Modernization At Hand

During last Friday's newscast, we told you about the Government tabled the Misuse of Drugs (Amendment) Bill of 2021 at the latest House Meeting.

One of the big takeaways is that those serving stints in prison for marijuana possession could get their sentences removed.

That's what the Minister of Home Affairs and New Growth Industries said on Friday - that there were provisions in the law to apply to be released from jail and to have their records expunged.

Now, the PUP is moving towards legalizing marijuana - a move that was announced in their Plan Belize Manifesto. But how will they ensure that the small dealer on the street isn't left out? Well the PM says they will have to ensure that the legislation has strict regulations.

Hon. John Briceno, Prime Minister
"The next step to control that would be by legalizing but legalizing under strict measures to ensure that the criminals will not take over, to ensure that not only the quote unquote big players get involved but even the small people can also have an opportunity. Now we do recognize that we just cant have marijuana plants all over the country with no control and that is something that the Ministry of New Growth Industries are working very hard at as to how best we can control and yet at the same time allow the small people to have maybe for their personal consumption. So we're working on that, there's no easy answers and no easy fix but we have to make sure that one, the criminals do not control it, secondly that it's tightly regulated to ensure that young people or underaged persons do not have access to it, thirdly, if we're going to road that we can tax it and tax it heavily so that the monies can be used for health and education and creating opportunities for Belizeans. It's not easy, it's a balancing act that we have to work on but we have to ensure also that there are people that feel very strongly against marijuana and especially the churches and we respect their position but when we look at the actual science, the data, we see that alcohol is even more dangerous than marijuana but what has happened is that we have this stigma against marijuana and the best way we can control is by legalize it and put strict laws that can monitor it and restrict the use of marijuana to just the people that can legally use it."

Kareem on Cannabis

So while the Briceno Administration thinks that now is the time to have a discussion on the establishment of a local marijuana industry, this bill is receiving opposition from conservative Belizeans who were already opposed to decriminalization.

This morning, Plus TV's Louis Wade reached out to the press to share his views that the Misuse of Drugs Amendment Bill should not move forward without a referendum to hear what the Belizean population wants.

Wade said, quote, "There is no doubt that the world is changing But should this Administration change an illegal activity, Marijuana consumption to a legal one, without a referendum?

Have they, our humble servants, now become our masters to determine right and wrong for us without our consent?

Have they now become our moral authority? When did they check with us?" End quote.

This morning, Kareem Musa, the Home Affairs Minister who tabled the amendment in the House last Friday, discussed it with the hosts of our SunUp On 7 morning show.

They asked him specifically about the pushback against the amendment:

SunUp Host
"There is talk about having a referendum to promote if we should be passing this. How do you feel about that idea?"

Hon. Kareem Musa - Minister of New Growth Industries
"I think the referendum - the referendum is always a good thing. But in this particular situation, where it is already decriminalized, what you're asking to do is to take something to a referendum that's already recreational. So, what are we gonna do in the event the referendum says no. Are we going to go back and say we're not going to allow 10 grams possession? That makes no sense. What we're actually doing with this piece of legislation is actually creating an industry out of what is already legal, already decriminalized, already recreational. And so, like I say time and time and time again, the real debate about whether or not we should have legalized marijuana in the country should have been in 2017, because it's already legal for you to walk on the street with 10 grams."

"We have to be aware of the realities in our country. And one of the realities is that Cannabis is used by many people, so many people, and it won't increase simply because we now have industry around it. They are using it, and they are using it legally today, whether it's for medicinal purposes, whether it's just free your mind, whether it's just to get away from all the stress you're going through, many people in our country use marijuana. You'd be surprised, and I would venture to say up to about 30% of our adult population actually use marijuana. So, it's not that we're now going into the use of marijuana. It's already in existence, and so, anybody that wants to debate has to understand where we're coming from. It already exists. It's already legal. It's now a matter of putting an industry around it that's not just safe, but as you said, you have to have an educational campaign. You definitely have to control it, regulate it, and so, it's not full legalization, per se. It's more a controlled, responsible approach, putting in law in place to regulate this particular substance."

Channel 7


Re: Drug Bill Promises Reform of Weed Laws [Re: Marty] #551337
07/07/21 05:03 AM
07/07/21 05:03 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 74,983
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

.
Marty  Offline OP

Is it Time Fi Legalize Ganja, Free Up Di Herb?

It was the buzz this weekend as people joined the discussion on the new marijuana businesses being proposed. The churches, by and large, church maintain unwavering positions in the ongoing marijuana discussion, saying “no” to decriminalization and certainly “no” to legalization of possession and trade.  But the government of the day has a very different perspective, saying it is time to begin the process of introducing cannabis as a viable, homegrown product on the local market.  Since assuming office as Minister of New Growth Industries in November 2020, Kareem Musa has been at the forefront of that discussion.  On Friday, he tabled an amendment to the Misuse of Drugs Act which will establish licensing, registration and operational requirements for the cultivation, processing, distribution and delivery of cannabis products for adult use.  Today News Five Spoke with Prime Minister John Briceño at an event in the Cayo District. He reiterated that even prior to forming government last year, the People’s United Party has been looking at ways to decriminalize and capitalize on it.

Prime Minister John Briceño

“First of all, it is important to point out that the P.U.P.’s position, even before, from when they were talking about decriminalizing marijuana, we said that it was time to look at legalizing it.  Decriminalizing is just not enough because okay, you can have ten grams at home but how are you going to get it and by doing that then, it could create bigger problems because then you hear about gang members and the criminal minds are fighting for turf and fighting for markets and it can get very deadly, we’ve seen it in the news.  So the next step to be able to control that can only be by legalizing it, but legalizing it under strict conditions to ensure that the criminals do not take over, to ensure that not only the, quote on quote, big players get involved but even the small people that can also have an opportunity.  Now we do recognize that we just can’t have marijuana plants all over the country or else we’ll have no control and that is something that the Ministry of New Growth Industries is working very hard as to how best we could control it and yet at the same time allow the small people to have, you know, maybe even for their own personal consumption.  So we’re working on that.  There’s no easy answer, there’s no easy fix but we have to make sure that, one: the criminals do not control it.  Secondly, that it’s tightly regulated to ensure that young people or underage persons do not have access to it.  Thirdly, that if we’re going down that route, that we can tax it and tax it heavily so that the monies can be used for health, for education and for creating opportunities for Belizeans.  It’s not easy, it’s a balancing act that we have to work on.  We have to ensure also that we know that there are people that feel very strongly against marijuana and especially the churches, and we respect their position, but when you look at the actual science, the data, we see that alcohol is even more dangerous than marijuana, but what has happened is that we have this stigma against marijuana and the best way we can control it is by legalizing it and put strict laws that can monitor it and restrict the use of marijuana to just the people that can legally use it.”

Shyne Barrow Says Small Players Should Benefit from Marijuana Bill Too

On Friday we told you about the Misuse of Drugs Amendment Bill that was introduced in the House.  The bill seeks to establish licensing, registration and operational requirements for the cultivation, processing, distribution and delivery of cannabis products for adult use in Belize. As a part of its provision it will also seek to expunge marijuana possession records. And one member of the Opposition who supports this bill is the Leader of the Opposition Shyne Barrow. He applauds G.O.B. on what he calls a “bold step,” but says he hopes to see small players benefit from this trade.

Moses “Shyne” Barrow, Leader of the Opposition

“This is one of the times that I agree with the government. I applaud the government for taking such a bold step towards removing the criminality of cannabis consumption and cannabis trade; which the criminalization of cannabis has impacted the poor and lower class for generations. So, I applaud Minister Kareem Musa for taking such a bold step to reverse generations of discrimination and classicism but also help to boost our economy because the economic ramifications of the legalization of cannabis are tremendous. I just hope – that I have looked at the legislation and discussed it – I sit on the House committee of national security and border and will certainly raise to my colleagues that we want to make sure that there is no exclusion in this legislation. We want to make sure that those working class people who have had to engage in the marijuana trade in order to survive are not boxed out by the big men, the rich, wealthy and powerful; so there has to be provisions to ensure because I already saw something in the legislation that says they have to do a background check and they have to do an Interpol check.”

As we mentioned on Friday, Minister of New Growth Industries Kareem Musa says that they have the “Industrial Hemp and Cannabis Control Commission,” which will have a rep for the small scale players and help to ensure fair play in this newly regulated industry for Belize.

Channel 5



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