NEAB Press Release on GOB decriminalizing marijuana:
The National Evangelical Association of Belize and its 250+ represented churches expresses its disagreement with intent and steps of Government to decriminalize marijuana, a move that we are convinced is an incremental step towards legalization.
In May 2016 we presented to the Prime Minister scientific studies and reports from reputable bodies such as Harvard Medical School,The Lancet Journal, and University of Australia, all showing the dangers of marijuana use, brain damage to younger users, and many many societal and personal dangers of marijuana use. Our presentation was coupled with over 225 signatures of national pastors and leaders, asking Government to NOT go in this direction. It seems our feedback supported with scientific reports was ignored.
NDACC (National Drug Abuse Control Council) has spoken against this move. At that time, Attorney General Retreage spoke against it, calling it premature and that infrastructure to support the move was non-existent. Ample supporting evidence and voices spoke against this move, with particular concern for the children.
As former Prime Minister Manuel Esquivel stated emphatically to us in private and public meetings, “the Church is the conscience of the nation.” The Conscience is speaking – this is a wrong move in a wrong direction that will bring wrong results. There are numerous creative ways to not “destroy someone’s future from one stick of weed” by alternative tracks of rehabilitation leading to the expunging of criminal records. But the reduction of consequences for a behaviour will only increase that particular behaviour.
We pray that our Leaders listen to the voice of sound reason on this issue, and we continue to stand resolute for what we know is right in God’s eyes, and implore our Government to do the same, the end result being a BLESSED BELIZE.
Pastor Lance Lewis
NEAB President (601-2381).
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