History of CBD and Cannabis: Samoa
Made up of two main islands, Samoa has one of the richest ecological and historical settlements accounts out of any other island nation. Thousands of years ago, ancient Samoans developed a rich cultural identity, seafaring skills, and a complex societal framework that mimicked modern republics.
The country’s dispersed islands, moisture-rich climate, and strategic geography all contribute to the state’s growing precedence of cannabis crime. Since the twentieth century, Samoa’s relationship to cannabis has been largely determined by international pressures.
Cannabis, CBD, and Samoa
Currently, cannabis is illegal for all medical, recreational, and industrial uses in Samoa. In 1967, the Narcotics Act formally classified cannabis a scheduled substance, which stated that the compound didn’t have any medicinal properties. Rather, cannabis was put in league with heroin, cocaine, and opium.
Since the Narcotic Act’s creation in the sixties, it’s only been amended twice in the 2000s. Many officials are unwilling to reconcile current cannabis policy with the world’s shifting attitude towards cannabis consumption.
Both possession and cultivation carry heavy sentences in Samoa. Anyone caught cultivating seeds, regardless of the size of the plot, could receive a prison sentence of up to fourteen years. Additionally, mere possession of trace amounts could also lead to a fourteen year sentence.
The Narcotics Act Came Out as a Reaction to a Global Anti-Cannabis Trend
In the sixties, Western Hippie culture pushed cannabis into both the public and governmental eye. In order to combat the rising trends of youth drug use, the United States implemented the War on Drugs in the seventies and eighties. Subsequently, American officials pushed anti-cannabis policy onto the rest of the world, threatening economic sanctions for non-compliance.
Samoa, which just recently became a member of the United Nations after achieving independence from New Zealand in 1962, necessarily had to comply with American demands. Cultivation, possession, and trafficking were all blanket banned and non-violent drug offenses became high criminal offenses.
As Western powers soften their domestic stance towards cannabis use, it’s unclear whether or not Samoa will scale back current regulation. Most regulation that was determined in the sixties has stuck, leaving small time possessors and nonviolent drug offenders at constant risk of recurrent incarceration.
Additionally, some experts believe that re-embracing the cannabis and hemp industry could provide great economic benefits to Samoa. Hemp is reaching higher and higher peaks of global demand, which could help to revitalize the country’s agricultural sectors.