The Leader of Government Business also moved the Briceno Administration's Misuse of Drugs (Amendment) Bill, 2021. This is the original piece of draft legislation that the government initially intended to legalize marijuana in Belize for adult use only.

This bill also contemplated the creation of local cannabis and hemp industry. After listening to the views and concerns raised about that bill, however, the government created a separate piece of draft legislation for the creation of that new industry. It's called the Cannabis and Industrial Hemp Control and Licensing Bill of 2022, and it was tabled for the first time at Tuesday's House Meeting.

It turns out that during the creation of the new bill, the original wasn't scrapped, and today, Senator Courtenay told his colleagues that the proposed Misuse of Drugs Amendment still has important functions. Here's how he outlined them and the amendments that have been made to the bill:

Hon. Eamon Courtenay - Leader of Government Business
"I rise to move the second reading of the Misuse of Drugs Amendment Bill 2021, which was withheld for further consideration and Debate. I will be proposing some amendments to this bill in the Committee of the Whole, and these amendments have been circulated to all senators. On the last occasion, when this matter came before the Honorable Senate, certain criticisms were raised. The first was the discretion given to the Minister in the appointment and removal of members of the Commission. Secondly, the composition of the Commission was not spelled out. Thirdly, a strong argument was made that rather than amend the Misuse of Drugs Act, a separate, free-standing piece of legislation should have been brought to the Senate in consideration, in terms of establishing a new industry. The Senate will recall that I did not move the third reading of the bill, and left it in committee. The government has decided to adopt the - well to take on board the criticisms. So, a new bill has been drafted, and that bill has been tabled in the House of Representatives for debate. What we have before us today is a piece of legislation the purpose of which is to preserve those licenses that were issued under the Misuse of Drugs Act. The Senate will see that the first clause says that every licenses issued under the Misuse of Drugs Regulations, and enforced immediately before the coming into force of this act shall continue in force. So, it is preserving those that were issued under the Misuse of Drugs Act. Every application made for a license under these regulations, which have not been completed, will continue under the new legislation. So, you don't have to start all over again. And nothing in this act shall affect anything done, or any proceedings taken or right which accrued, or a liability which has been incurred under the repealed regulations before coming to force of this act. So again, the purpose is to preserve, and not to prejudice anyone who has a license or who is in the process of applying for a license. Once passed, the intention is, Madam President and Senators, not to bring this bill into force until the other piece of legislation passes through both houses. And then, this will be brought in force. Therefore, they will synchronize. Thank you, Madam President."

This bill passed with amendments, and will now be handed over to the Governor-General for assent. The new one, the Cannabis, and Industrial Hemp Control and Licensing Bill, is still at the House Committee Stage.

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