History of CBD and Cannabis: Saint Kitts and Nevis
Located in the West Indies, Saint Kitts is an island nation that remains one of the smallest sovereign states in the world. In the country, cannabis use is very popular among locals and the government has made recent moves towards legalization.
The islands’ recent shift in policy is reflective of a worldwide trend favoring decriminalization and cannabis reform. In order to understand these changes, it’s important to explore how Saint Kitts and Nevis were affected by international pressure and colonization.
Cannabis and CBD: Saint Kitts and Nevis
At the turn of the eighteenth century, Saint Kitts became one of the richest sugar producing colonies for the British. African slaves were routinely shipped to the islands while indigenous sources of labor were also exploited. During this time, some slaves covertly transported cannabis seeds into the region.
After achieving independence, much of the same anti-drug policy established by the British remained.
Legal Status of Cannabis Today in Saint Kitts and Nevis
Currently, cannabis is illegal for recreational, medical, and industrial use in Saint Kitts. That said, cannabis remains one of the most popular illicit substances on the islands.
Despite being illegal, cannabis use is technically decriminalized. Now, users caught possessing small amounts of cannabis will merely receive a small fine, rather than incurring any jail time or recurrent fees. Private users with up to fifteen grams are punished with a solitary $50 fine, while public use near children can result in a $1000 fine.
In late February of 2019, the Prime Minister formally announced that Saint Kitts government would introduce legislation to further legalize cannabis on the islands. This followed extensive cooperation with the National Cannabis Commission, which found that cannabis carried medically beneficial properties.
Spurred by the decision, the high court later decided that Rastafarians and those over the age of eighteen can legally possess, use, and cultivate personal quantities of cannabis.
Overall, the islands have been amenable to cannabis reform due in part to a small Rastafarian influence and the cannabis culture that permeates the country. Most cannabis grown is consumed locally.
Cannabis Crime, Decriminalization and the Future of CBD Oil
Before decriminalization, illicit cultivation in the hard to reach mountainous interior was very popular. Some cultivators sought out abandoned sugar cane fields in order to conduct marijuana growth as well. As marijuana prices are expected to fall on the islands, illicit cultivation schemes have fallen into disfavor.
Although cannabis never presented a major problem for the islands, the area still experienced international pressure that called for a shutdown on all forms of drug-related crime.
Throughout the seventies and eighties, the United States introduced War on Drugs policy that was subsequently exported to the rest of the world.
Saint Kitts and Nevis were no exception. For decades, cannabis restrictions tightened in response to threats of trade sanctions, economic penalties, and more.
As cannabis law softens around the world, it’ll be interesting to see how island nations like Saint Kitts and Nevis react. Already, we’re witnessing a peeling back of decades old drug policies. It is likely we will start to see a revolution in CBD as well as the years go on and the word of its alleged positive properties spread through the islands.