History of CBD and Cannabis in: East Timor
Situated in Southeast Asia, East Timor comprises the eastern half of the island of Timor. Originally, East Timor was colonized by Portugal in the sixteenth century.
From then on, it would take hundreds of years until the island could reclaim independence from colonial powers. In November of 1975, a revolutionary front declared independence, which led Indonesia to invade the country and classify it as a member island.
Over the years, East Timor has witnessed decades of conflict between separatist groups and Indonesian militia. Much of East Timor’s policy towards cannabis has been determined by Portuguese settlers and intractable political conflict that interferes with the state’s ability to crack down on cultivation schemes.
Cannabis, CBD, and East Timor
After two decades of conflict, Indonesia finally relinquished control of East Timor, causing it to become the first new nation state of the twenty first century. Quickly, the country coordinated with the United Nations drug council and Portuguese communities in order to gain its political footing.
Since formally achieving independence, East Timor has had surges of restrictive policies on cannabis introduced. Currently, cannabis is completely illegal for medical and recreational use, cultivation, and distribution.
Despite these new restrictions, cannabis, also referred to as ganja and coklat on the island, are very easily available for purchase. Though hashish is primarily trafficked from Indonesia, cannabis grows in both domesticated and wild crops all along the less populous regions of the country.
Compared to trafficked substances, cannabis is very cheap and it’s unlikely users will get stopped by law enforcement. Rather than focusing on individual users, agencies are committed to stamping out larger international cannabis trade organizations.
As a primarily conservative nation, the government continues to take a hostile stance towards drug crime. Over 96.6 percent of the population identifies as religiously conservative, a large majority of which are active religious participants.
The religious majority was largely influenced during the period of Indonesian rule. In Indonesia, church membership is considered mandatory and traditional beliefs are not recognized. Before occupation, most East Timorese subscribed to animist belief systems that did not configure with other religious ideology, which led to huge surges in church membership.
Though membership has declined since the onset of the twenty first century, East Timor officials continue to derive justification for cannabis criminalization from their prior ideology. Cannabis is considered a source of social ill-will and bodily degradation.
It’s not likely that East Timor will change its outlook on cannabis in the next few years. Legalizing cannabis would require a major cultural and political overhaul, in addition to a high degree of cooperation between different state departments.