History of CBD and Cannabis: Nicaragua
Bordered by Honduras to the northwest and the Caribbean to the east, Nicaragua occupies a strategic geographic position that leaves the nation open to all forms of cannabis crime. Whether it’s international transshipment rings or local cultivation, cannabis is one of the most popular illicitly traded substances in the country.
Over the years, Nicaragua’s stance towards cannabis has arisen as a result of international pressure, colonial influences, and traditional cultural attitudes.
Cannabis, CBD, and Nicaragua
Currently, cannabis is illegal for medical, recreational, and industrial use in Nicaragua. Possession of trace amounts of the cannabis is enough to land an unlucky user in prison and incur hefty fines.
Home to the second largest rain forest in the world, Nicaragua is an ecologically diverse and moisture-rich region that’s perfect for illicit cannabis cultivation. In small pockets all throughout the country, family cultivators secretly grow plots of cannabis in hard to reach areas.
For law enforcement, stamping out illicit cultivation schemes is an untenable problem. Many families rely on the income generated through the cannabis industry to survive and thrive.
Nicaragua a Center for Smuggling Cannabis
In addition to growing cannabis, a large amount of marijuana filters through Nicaragua’s water and land borders. After all, Nicaragua is the largest Central American Isthmus connecting North and South America, meaning that it provides one of the only routes for cannabis headed towards lucrative North American markets.
In order to discourage others from jumping into the industry, Nicaraguan officials have implemented fairly restrictive policies over the past few decades.
Anyone caught growing cannabis, whether it’s a single seed or a whole field, may receive a minimum sentence of five to ten years. Individuals may be hit with over one thousand “day fines”, meaning that they lose a third of their daily income for years.
Why are Nicaraguan laws so strict? Well, much of it has to do with the twin influence of colonization and Western international pressure.
At the onset of the Columbian era, the Spanish made permanent settlements and began to overtake indigenous lands. Rife with disease and hopelessness, many indigenous people of Nicaragua were forced into contracted labor or succumbed to disease. The Spanish enacted harsh anti-drug rule, stamping out the potential for a healthy cannabis market.
Currently, the United States has a vested interest in securing Central and Latin American countries against cannabis crime. Much of the US’ illicit cannabis is first cultivated in South America, gradually working its way up past the border.
In the seventies and eighties, the United States implemented the War on Drugs, which exported a wide gamut of anti-drug policies across the world. Any nations that didn’t adhere to the American standard could be potentially subject to tariffs, restrictions, or loss of international economic support.
There’s no signs that the Nicaraguan government is moving forward with substantive decriminalization or legalization measures. It may take decreasing international pressure and reducing power of the illicit transshipment industries for cannabis to gain the legal limelight.