The Struggle For Legalization Of Marijuana In SVG

By Conley Rose

The poor and working people, farmers, unemployed, dreads and Rastafarian brethren and sistren, of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, have had a long history of struggle for the legalization of cannabis in this blessed country.

The “War on Drugs” as outlined by the US Anti-Narcotics Bureau and agreed upon by international agreements and treaties and implemented by governments around the world for over 100 years, has had devastating consequences for small developing countries such as St. Vincent and the Grenadines, in terms of “Prohibition” and the “Dangerous Drug Act”, the prosecution of individuals for cannabis.

From the early 60s, cannabis was smoked discreetly by Vincentians, but by the early 70s, with the rise of consciousness and the “Black Power” Movement in the Caribbean and North America, cannabis was openly smoked by youths and adults on various blocks and ghetto communities as recreation and a form of protest and rebellion against the status quo, dress code and hairstyles followed.

This rebellion mushroomed into the birth of Rastafari and several black conscious and revolutionary organizations in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. The establishment did not take kindly to this apparent, new found freedom by the youths in both the urban and rural areas of the island, clamouring for change and legalization of cannabis on the island.

The police cracked down on cannabis use, sale and trafficking with force and depression, the “War on Drugs” and in particular, cannabis growing and cultivation became brutal, and hundreds of Vincentians have suffered the persecution, prison, count fines, denial of opportunities, and death, in the mountains and on the high seas trying to smuggle cannabis into neighbouring countries.

The struggle for legalization was becoming intense and several political organizations and intellectuals were agitating for law reform and removal of the prohibition laws for cannabis.

Pickets, demonstrations, marches, leaflets, pamphlets, posters, T-shirts, flags and the African Drums were used for rallies and public meetings to highlight police brutality, victimisation and injustice to cannabis growers and users among the lower-class people.

Cannabis farmers, traffickers and supporters begun protesting against the Marijuana eradication exercises by the US military and the regional security services (RSS) over consecutive years of operation.

The growth and spread of the Rastafarian Movement have been a consistent factor in the struggle for legalization of cannabis in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Rastafarians organised a regional conference in St. Vincent to highlight that criminal prohibition of cannabis has failed and that the “Holy Herb” must be legalized.

Several local organizations and individuals have written in support of legalization and today there is more tolerance and acceptance of cannabis in the society. Too much money is spent on prosecution and to little on prevention and rehabilitation.

Decriminalization is not a magic solution that solves all our problems of cannabis, but it is a step in the right direction with introducing medicinal cannabis.


  1. The growth of the Rastafarian Movement in SVG was the only reason why some Vincentians found that they had a good justifiable reason to smoke some dope feel nice and make a little money, since Vincentian Rastafarians have no understanding of whatsoever this “false Jamaican religion” Rastafarianism is!

    Our immoral Government on the other hand, is just playing dirty politics as usual! Using whatever means that they can to bolster their vote banks. However, illegal growers of Cannabis here please be warned. I as one, do not condone your activities, but I am indeed most concerned for you.

    Be warned, do not get too over excited yet, read the proposed Parliamentary Bills and ask yourselves these questions, are our past activates exempted from government actions? Is our assets and past earnings exempted from confiscation in the future? Will our future open field growing of Cannabis be protected from harassment and destruction and confiscation by Government agencies?

    Be therefore wholly distrustful of Government and their crony capitalist friends. Being allowed to smoke dope in your church and religious gatherings is one thing, but being free of Government agencies to your hurt, is quite another.

    • The corporatization be of weed is not going to help poor people, so wake up ! . And by the way , they don’t want vincy weed , they will import Monsanto Genetically modified plants under the guise that their weed meet medical standards. And do not allow GMO WEED TO CROSS POLLINATE WITH LOCAL WEED as GMO WEED may produce sterile seeds . Oh and poor people will still be going to prison because the criminal injustice system and the war on drugs was designed to transfer wealth from the poor to the state and those who provide professional services to the state judiciary. That’s not about to change . You are all being duped .

  2. And another thing, we really have to ask has anybody in the medical profession here had a look into these matters. With all the talk about the bags of money that are to be made does anyone care to take note of potential harm?

    “Could medical cannabis be the new THALIDOMIDE? Fears of a crisis as doctors consider doling marijuana-based medicines out to pregnant mothers despite evidence the drug can damage foetuses. ( )

    In the UK pressure to loosen NHS guidelines on medical cannabis use is growing. The British Medical Journal warned that widespread use could lead to disaster and that the potential crisis was compared to the thalidomide scandal of the 50s and 60s.”

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