Headline — 31 October 2018 — by Rowland A. Parks
PM Barrow “blesses” hemp!

PM Barrow gives blessing to an “internationally legal hemp industry;” “My government pours scorn on the notion” by the Leader of the Opposition of legalizing marijuana, said Barrow

BELIZE CITY, Mon. Oct. 29, 2018– In his weekly address on Positive Vibes Radio and TV last week, Leader of the Opposition, Hon. John Briceño, Orange Walk Central area rep, made a bold call for legalizing marijuana.

For his call to legalize marijuana in Belize, however, Briceño was soundly criticized in a government press release and from a section of the country’s churches.

Prime Minister Dean Barrow was also unsparing in his criticism of the People’s United Party leader today during his first press conference after having surgery on his back in Cuba.

“So, my Government pours scorn on the notion,” said the Prime Minister.

Barrow said that the Leader of the Opposition, “…in trying for political advantage, too often goes off the deep end. But this latest googly of his has to be one of his most fantastical ever. To propose legalizing marijuana in Belize, especially for an export market, is patently bizarre in the circumstances.”

The Prime Minister said legalization of marijuana is “downright dangerous, since it would certainly provoke one response I can immediately think of, and which would surely destroy us.”

Barrow went on to explain that “this has nothing to do with any kind of moral calculus.”

“While I don’t know enough, my instinctive feeling is that marijuana can be no more harmful than liquor. In any event, I repeat that morality is not the basis for GOB’s position. Rather, it is the question of how on earth we could ever legalize, and for export, when the weed is still illegal in all our neighboring countries, and especially in the federal US,” Barrow added.

“If we grew weed legally in Belize, the cartels, who are now clandestinely landing planes and using us as a base for their transshipment to the US, would openly come in and take over production in Belize,” Barrow explained.

He went on to explain that instead of marijuana, hemp, which is legal, could be exported.

“But there is a perfectly sound alternative to the Leader of the Opposition’s lunatic notion of an internationally illegal marijuana industry. And it is an internationally legal hemp industry, using the same cannabis plant from which marijuana comes, but without the illegal THC ingredient.

“And we are well on the way to creating just such an industry with the Ministry of Agriculture meeting with, and preparing farmers and the Attorney General drafting the necessary legislation, using Canadian and Australian models. That is how to do it, Mr. Leader,” Barrow declared.

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