Legal opinions, from top government legal minds in Belize, have been given, and they agree — the cultivation of cannabis for industrial use (fiber and seed) is legal in Belize. Still our top-elected officials and politically appointed bureaucrats continue to ignore the fact that the cultivation of industrial hemp in Belize is legal and could create thousands upon thousands of excellent paying jobs.
One of the government’s top attorneys is quoted as saying, “The Misuse of Drugs Act has the definition of cannabis as ‘including any part of the plant of the genus cannabis, any resin obtained from that plant and any product of which such resin forms a base.’ It is submitted that that definition needs to be read in the context of the Single Convention which states at Article 28 that ‘This Convention shall not apply to the cultivation of the cannabis plant exclusively for industrial purposes (fiber and seed) or horticultural purposes.’”
Belize is a signatory to the UN Singles Convention and therefore must recognize this as law. Then why can’t we grow this here in Belize? Why, when the law is so self-evident? Because our all-powerful elected and appointed officials seem to get their shorts in a knot at just the mention of cannabis. How then is it possible that we cannot grow industrial hemp in Belize? Why, because they have it their way and refuse to even discuss it, for if they were to try to publically defend their position they would without a doubt lose the conversation and they know it. So, they usurp their power by pretending there is nothing to discuss.
Not only is industrial hemp legal in Belize; prohibition violates the Constitution of Belize, which states “that there should be adequate means of livelihood for all,” and that is just one of many ways prohibition violates our Constitution. How could the prohibition violate adequate means of livelihood for all? Can cannabis support such a mandate of adequate means of livelihood for all?
You bet! Let me give you a brief summary of the benefits of cultivation of industrial hemp for the Belizean people.
Hemp grows without all those agricultural toxic chemicals, thus saving a lot of the expense of cultivation, not to mention the health-saving benefits of organic agriculture. Hemp actually removes old toxins from the soil. (See Belize Agriculture Report, August and September 2016.)
Over 35,000 products can be created using hemp’s fiber and oil. Hey, the government is crying about decreasing exports. Well, guys, guess what, here is your export problem solved.
What about money? Hemp is less expensive to cultivate than other crops and produces unbelievable amounts of product. Also, it has extremely high world market demand and value.
Well, what is it worth? Let’s take a quick look.
2016 current world market prices: hemp seed oil wholesale FOB Canada, $6.70 USD per liter.
Oil production around 300 gallons per acre. Let us do the math — 300 gallons equal how many liters? 300 X 3.75 equals 1,125 liters at $6.70 USD per liter, equals $7,537.50 USD, equals BZ$15,075 per acre.
A 25-acre farm could gross BZ$376,875 wholesale exportable dollars from one harvest of seed oil. Unbelievable but true. Two or three harvests a year in Belize. A kind of alchemy for Belize, turning so-called criminal cultivators and illegal enterprises into legitimate farmers and Belize’s greatest legal economic engine.
And that is just the oil from the seed. There is still the fiber, which we could do value-adding and get big money for also. The fiber is in addition to the oil.
But the real big money is in CBD (Cannabidiol), a newly discovered medicine derived from the leaf (in the past considered a waste product of industrial hemp) which cures many diseases considered till now incurable. Rare forms of epilepsy (that kills tens of thousands of children annually), cancer, Alzheimer’s, PTSD and more. This product sells on the worldwide market for about $500 to $1,300 USD per ounce. With good plant breeding, you can produce quantities of up to 30%. The value of this previously considered waste product can yield $22,000 USD per acre.
Ezekiel 34:29 — “And I will raise up for them a plant of renown, and they shall be no more consumed with hunger in the land, neither bear the shame of the heathen any more.”
Rev. 22 — “and the leaves of the trees were for the healing of the nations”
Now what about that adequate means of livelihood for all?
If you think the government is justified in continuing this prohibition, try educating yourself. Start with watching Dr. Sanjay Gupta’s documentaries called “Weed”, “Weed 2” and Weed3″; you can access them on YouTube.
Only God can know how any conscious human can deny a dying child the right to a normal life or the people of Belize an adequate means of livelihood.
Prohibition is a great injustice perpetrated upon the people of Belize, so I genuinely beg the high officials who have the power of change to please dig deep into their hearts and serve the higher purpose of the people of Belize and end their unlawful, unjust, unholy and unconstitutional prohibition of industrial hemp.
(Ed.NOTE: Mr. Conde has been fighting this battle for a long time. However, his opinions and statements, while interesting, are his own, and not necessarily those of this newspaper.)