History of CBD and Cannabis: The Federated States of Micronesia
The Federated States of Micronesia, also known as the FSM, is an independent republic that boasts a close association with the United States. Since the sixties, the islands have had the untenable task of fighting a surging, illicit cannabis industry.
Micronesia has had a complex relationship to cannabis, in part determined by cannabis’ recent introduction to the islands and also due to the forces of international anti-cannabis measures.
Cannabis, CBD, and the Federated States of Micronesia
Currently, cannabis is illegal for industrial, recreational, and medical use in Micronesia. However, after alcohol, marijuana is the most commonly used substance in Micronesia.
It’s believed that, in the sixties, tourists and Peace Corps volunteers first introduced marijuana to Micronesia. Students from the neighboring regions of Palau, Yap, and Saipan who were attending class in Chuuk island covertly brought over seeds, which later bloomed into healthy plants.
It wasn’t until the late seventies that marijuana became widespread among the islanders. The habit quickly spread to college students, poor youth, and other classes of young men in their mid-twenties.
With a climate that’s humid and warm year round, the FSM has the perfect climate to support a fully fledged cannabis industry. Growers, distributors, and users all benefit from the system. Most cannabis produced on the islands are consumed locally, yet small amounts are shipped to other islands in the Oceanic area.
By the eighties, the marijuana industry became so fully fledged that whole families would be involved in illicit cultivation schemes. Often, older women in the family would help to plant the crops that would later be harvested by the men. The crop would then be manually dried and then marketed in city centers, where small time dealers could expect to make in excess of $1000 a week.
Throughout Micronesia, marijuana is widely and often publicly consumed in the less populated areas. Law enforcement treat consumption and personal possession very mildly, yet alleged distribution is often penalized harshly. That said, many areas in the FSM are hard to effectively patrol, which is beneficial for small cultivators that frequently move their crops every season.
Despite being a sovereign state, the FSM is still tied to the United States through the 1986 Compact of Free Association. Like other nations in the Pacific community, the US is invested in stringency of cannabis enforcement on the islands. Over the years, the US has continually pushed for worldwide marijuana crackdowns since the seventies and eighties.
It’s unclear whether the FSM will implement cannabis decriminalization, legalization, or other reform measures in the future. Many experts believe the government could generate massive revenue through supporting a fully legal cannabis market.