History of CBD and Cannabis: Liberia
Bordered by Sierra Leone to the northwest and the Ivory Coast to the east, Liberia is a West African country that’s known as the continent’s first modern republic. During the Scramble for Africa, Liberia managed to retain its independence from European control, which led to a distinct economic and political trajectory as opposed to neighboring countries.
Today, much of the Liberian government’s attitude towards cannabis is a result of historic colonial pressures, international involvement, and continuous instability over the authority of the central government.
Cannabis, CBD, and Liberia
Between the middle of the fifteenth century to the seventeenth century, the Dutch, British, and Portuguese started to establish trading routes that linked back to Liberia. At the time, Liberia was known as the Pepper Coast since chiles, ground pepper, and other grains grew in the region.
It was during this time period that marijuana was first introduced to Liberia. European traders would often barter commodities for Liberian strains of marijuana. The climate is hot, tropical, and humid year round, which made it the perfect place for marijuana crops to populate the countryside.
Cannabis trade with the Europeans would only slow down during the dry season that stretched from December to February.
In the mid nineteenth century, Liberia officially announced its gamut for complete independence from colonial powers. Though settlers were successful, it was the recognition of the United States that secured Liberia against threats from France, Spain, and other European colonial powers.
A number of Americans in the North part of the country supported the Liberian movement, which was modeled off the French, since it could act as a territory to repatriate freed slaves.
Ultimately, Liberia struggled to gain investments to develop infrastructure and economy. Production stagnated and the economy continually declined for decades.
Still, Liberian officials deeply involved themselves in the affairs of international organizations early on in the nation’s political history. The country became one of the founding members of the League of Nations after WWII, later joining the United Nations and African Unity Organization.
These ties exercised a profound influence on Liberia’s laws surrounding cannabis use. Now, cannabis is completely illegal for recreational and medical use; in part, this is due to the recurrent international pressure that ramped up in the twentieth century. Since Liberia occupies a strategic transshipment position along the West African coast, it’s a hot spot for marijuana headed to lucrative American and European markets.
Modernly, Liberia struggles to find its competitive economic footing amongst other African nations. Many families have turned to the cannabis trade in order to escape the conditions of poverty.