History Of CBD And Cannabis: Singapore
Located in Southeast Asia, Singapore has maintained one of the strictest anti-drug policies throughout the entire world. That said, the nation still suffers from high rates of non-violent cannabis drug crime, trafficking, and distribution.
Officials’ attitude towards cannabis is largely the result of colonial history and a powerful strain of cultural conservatism.
Cannabis, CBD, and Singapore
Currently, cannabis is completely illegal for all medical, industrial, and recreational uses. In fact, mere possession or trace amounts can land an unlucky user ten years in prison with recurring fines – alleged trafficking may even result in the death penalty.
It’s believed that cannabis was first introduced by immigrant laborers and indentured servants in the early nineteenth century. Poor Indians would bring cannabis seeds tucked between their clothing during travel, later planting the seeds along naturally moist regions in Singapore.
At the end of long days, Indian servants would treat minor aches and relax by using the marijuana or “ganja”.
Soon enough, cannabis consumption spread from servants to other social and economic classes in society. Young people and indigenous residents quickly adopted cannabis use for both recreation and relaxation. During this time period, British colonial rulers soon recognized that cannabis use was a growing problem and sought to root it out. Cannabis was believed to interfere with the productivity and pliancy of Indian servants.
Growing rumors that the compound caused violence, laziness, and family problems soon materialized into legal action. By 1870, cannabis was banned by the British colonial rulers, making Singapore one of the earliest adopters of restrictive regulations on the substance.
Even today, the colonial lessons have stuck. Singapore officials widely believe that legalizing or reforming cannabis policy would be a major social and economic mistake.
“[The] cases of young people influenced by growing acceptance of drugs overseas is a worrying trend,” Christopher de Souza, the chair of the Gov. Parliamentary Committee for Home Affairs stated. “To decriminalize the recreational consumption of cannabis is foolish. It [causes] a higher tolerance for drugs in the [rest of] the community.”
Surprisingly, there have been some shifts towards growing acceptance in recent years. The National Research Foundation (NRF) announced it would develop synthetic cannabinoids as part of a broader economic investment of S-$25 million.
For those who don’t know, cannabinoids are the active compounds found in strains of cannabis. Ultimately, officials hope the initiative will grow the medical and bio-based economies in the country. For many officials, it all comes down to economics. If more officials grow convinced that a viable cannabis market could truly thrive in Singapore, it’s likely that there would be legal acceptance of the compound.
It will be interesting to see how the country continues to react to increasing cannabis acceptance around the world.a