During February, after years of research on cannabis, the government of Belize decided to make a move towards marijuana decriminalization, with the cabinet giving recommendations stemming from the Decriminalization of Marijuana Committee over to the office of the Attorney General for consideration. As a result, the prospects for a decriminalization bill are on the horizon. According to sources, the proposed bill would allow people holding ten grams or less cannabis to be charged with a fine or community service. In American dollars, it would be approximately $7.50 per gram. In addition, the law would also clean the records of those who have been convicted of ten or fewer grams in the past.

“Too many young people have this following them, those who are seeking jobs,” former National Security Minister Doug Singh reported.

So the good did not last forever. Just after this happy headline was released, the United States State Department published its 2016 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report. In that report, Belize was named among fourteen other Central American and the Caribbean sites as a “major money laundering” center.

The report, which came out on March 5th, clarifies that Belize is not a huge financial center, but nonetheless says: “The government of Belize continues to encourage offshore financial activities that are vulnerable to money laundering and terrorist financing, including offshore banks, insurance companies, trust service providers, mutual fund companies, and international business companies.”

In 2015, Belize also made it onto the International Narcotics Control Strategy Report. Here are a list of some others that also made the list: “Antigua and Barbuda, the Bahamas, the British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Colombia, Costa Rica, Curacao, the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Haiti, Panama, St. Maarten and Venezuela.” There is a huge similarity between these countries and those who have gone against the U.S. and used decriminalization to fight the drug war recently.

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