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Cannabis In The Caribbean

Caribbean News, Latin America News:

News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Mon. Feb. 24, 2020: The legalization of cannabis could be the current trend in the United States.

However, this is not the case in the Caribbean Islands. When traveling to the Caribbean, many people have the perception that they can light it up and smoke anywhere at any time. That’s because the use of marijuana has firmly been linked to the general perception of Jamaica and the Rastafarian culture. For instance, many people have come across a photo of Bob Marley that is superimposed on a cannabis leaf.

As such, it’s not surprising that many people travel to this region, expecting that ganja smoking is as open and free as buying frozen daiquiri or a Red Stripe. But this is a myth because the Caribbean Islands have laws that regulate the use of cannabis.

Laws Against Cannabis

If traveling to the Caribbean Islands, bear in mind the fact that there are criminal laws against cannabis use before you pull out and use your dry herb atomizer. And, these laws are strongly in place. The Caribbean nations are the major transit for trafficking drugs between Central and South America. As such, these nations have always been on the receiving end when it comes to drug crimes. And, this has been driving violent crime in this region. It, combined with cultural reasons, has made these nations establish and enforce harsh laws to regulate the use of marijuana and other drugs.

It is different from Washington, Oregon, Alaska, and Colorado states that have legalized cannabis use completely. It’s also different from the District of Columbia and the 23 states that have allowed the use of medical cannabis. Canada has also made a similar move. However, possession and use of marijuana for different reasons is illegal in the U.S Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. However, possessing an ounce of cannabis is legal in the U.S Virgin Islands.

The fact that cannabis use in Jamaica is illegal comes as a surprise to many people. It is the case despite being featured significantly in the Rastafarian religious rites. Cannabis has also influenced Jamaican culture significantly.

It’s only in 2014 that the Jamaican government moved legislation that legalized the possession of small amounts of marijuana. The legislation was also intended to allow for the cultivation of a maximum of five cannabis plants while establishing an agency for regulating the medical use of the herb. Cozumel, Cancun, and other parts of Riviera Maya, Mexico has also decriminalized possession of marijuana in small amounts for personal use.

But, it’s important to note that decriminalization doesn’t mean that something is illegal. So, even if you pull out the best dry herb atomizer or smoke in the streets, you can be opening yourself up for unwanted law-enforcement acts or a fine. It is not something you want, especially if new in the Caribbean with little or no understanding of the justice system or local institutions.

Some countries in the Caribbean are more liberal when it comes to cannabis. For instance, possession and use of cannabis are plain illegal from Cuba to Barbados and Dominica. Using marijuana in these places can easily lead to imprisonment.

Loosening The Laws On Cannabis

Many countries in the Caribbean are loosening their laws on cannabis. For instance, several bills, including the Dangerous Drugs Bill and the Cannabis Control Bill, have been introduced to change how cannabis use is regulated in Tobago and Trinidad. The specifics of these bulls may be unclear, but they intend to regulate the production, consumption, and distribution of marijuana. They might also establish an industry’s framework.

As such, things are likely to change in the future. However, some people have raised questions regarding the issue. For instance, if people are allowed to use a dry herb vape tank or smoke marijuana the way they want, who will benefit? How will this shape the residents’ lives?

These are some of the questions that the Caribbean Community seeks to answer. It is a coalition of 20 countries that stretch from the Bahamas to Guyana and Belize. In 2014, this community established a commission that was to explore possible reforms to the cannabis policy.

This commission released a report in 2018 in which it expressed concerns about thousands of people that had been incarcerated for using marijuana in the region. It also expressed concerns about the inconsistent application of marijuana laws. The commission further suggested loosening up on grass.

According to the commission, loosening up on cannabis can provide an opportunity for jobs and economic progress. What’s more, there was a concern that failure to take action would make the region lag behind, considering the fast-paced worldwide trends of cannabis law reforms.

The Risks

Taking out a dry herb tank or smoking cannabis in the street might become something normal in the Caribbean sometime in the future. But, if traveling to the Caribbean for the first time, you should exercise some caution. In most cases, the drug trade is linked to severe crimes in the Caribbean. Therefore, avoid buying cannabis in the street.

That’s because if found buying marijuana in the streets, you risk arrest even if you didn’t know about the consequences. What’s more, you may get cannabis whose composition, origin, and quality is questionable. Unlike back at home where you may have a reliable supplier of quality marijuana or a dry herb vaporizer tank, you can be a victim of a rogue street dealer. It can easily take advantage of you on realizing that you’re a visitor. Therefore, avoid buying cannabis in the street and exercise caution if you must smoke.

The Bottom Line

Reforms on cannabis use are picking momentum in different parts of the world, including in the Caribbean. Jurisdictions in this region have embraced a soft stance on the herb, mostly via policies. Currently, most countries in the Caribbean have decriminalized possession of a little amount of marijuana. Nevertheless, marijuana use is still completely illegal in some countries. Therefore, exercise caution and learn about cannabis laws in the Caribbean region that you visit before you smoke or pull out and use your herb vape tank.