History of CBD and Cannabis: Dominican Republic
Located on the island of Hispaniola that it shares with Haiti, the Dominican Republic has taken a punitive stance on all forms of cannabis crime ever since the United States pushed international restrictions in the eighties.
Currently, possession of any amount of cannabis is considered a misdemeanor crime that is punishable by prison time and exorbitant fines. The minimum sentence is six months in prison, while the punishment for alleged trafficking can land someone five to twenty years.
According to officials, it’s unlikely that any legislation that seeks to soften cannabis penalties will be introduced anytime soon. Among conservative voters and officials, marijuana use is considered a grave criminal offense and a malignant social problem.
Cannabis, CBD, and the Dominican Republic
In 2018, news broke out that officials from the Dominican Republic were meeting with Puerto Rico health officers. President Goodwin Aldarondo said that a forum was going to be held demonstrating the legal, financial, and social case for legalizing medical marijuana on the island.
It’s believed that Puerto Rico officials have a vested interest in speeding up the cannabis reform of Caribbean nations like the Dominican Republic. After all, a more open cannabis market among the islands would lessen the burden that medical marijuana tourism is hampering on Puerto Rico.
Additionally, health officials are confident that the current model for implementing administrative medical marijuana framework would configure well into the Dominican Republic.
Meanwhile, Dominican Republic leaders and health officials are hesitant to adopt medical marijuana or decriminalization. A staggering ninety-five percent of the population identifies as conservative, most of which are opposed to legalizing intoxicants like cannabis.It’s clear that culturally conservative influences still have a profound effect on cannabis policy.
Moreover, pressure from the United States to keep marijuana completely illegal for all purposes has had a lasting impact. Throughout the seventies and eighties, the United States pushed forward the narrative that cannabis had no medically beneficial impacts and was a gateway substance for harder drugs like cocaine, heroin, and meth.
This led to worldwide restrictions on the production of hemp and any plant related to the cannabis genus. In the Dominican Republic, illicit marijuana was redefined to mean any cannabis descendant – even if the plant had no trace of the psychoactive component THC.
It will likely take several more years of unwinding interwoven public policy concerning cannabis for the state to implement any tangible reform.