The Caribbean region’s Informal Drug Policy Dialogue that was held in Kingstown, St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG), in December 2021, at the initiative of Transnational Institute (TNI) in close collaboration with the Medicinal Cannabis Authority (MCA) of SVG highlighted several challenges to the establishment of a legal medical cannabis industry currently being faced by countries in the region. These issues include international banking restrictions; access to laboratory, research and testing facilities; complying with EU GACP and GMP to meet the standards for exports, the Seed-to-Sale System; securing access for patients and getting doctors to prescribe; the structure of the licensing system; guarantees for the Rastafari community for ceremonial ganja usage, and most importantly, how to envisage traditional cultivators inclusion in the regulatory framework and practice being developed. Around the table seven (7) countries were represented from the region: Barbados, Grenada, St. Kitts and Nevis, Antigua and Barbuda, Jamaica, St Lucia and of course St Vincent and the Grenadines.
This research by the Research Consortium on Drugs and the Law (Colectivo de Estudios Drogas y Derecho, CEDD) analyzes a duality facing Latin America: the prohibitionist discourse and its effects on human rights persist, alongside reforms to laws and policies related to the use of cannabis.
Cannabis (or marihuana) is one of the most widely consumed psychoactive substances in the world. According to the United Nations World Drug Report, 183 million people, or 3.8% of the world’s population, used cannabis in 2014. Its cultivation was also reported by 129 countries. Cannabis is subject to the United Nations System for International Control of Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (hereafter “drugs”) and is the most widely consumed of all the drugs. According to that control system, cannabis is among the substances with the strictest legal status; they are the most prohibited, supposedly because of the harm they cause and their lack of medical usefulness.
Paraguay is the principal producer of cannabis in South America. Despite its importance as a supplier of cannabis in South America, there has been a surprising absence of serious studies of its impact on its own society, and on the play of offer and demand in neighbouring countries.