Cannabis in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
Cannabis in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is illegal, but cannabis is widely grown illicitly on the island and is the nation’s most valuable agricultural product. Saint Vincent is the most prolific producer of cannabis in the Caribbean, other than Jamaica.
Commercial cultivation of cannabis in SVG began in the 1970s; the island’s inaccessible hilly volcanic interior, rich soil, and wide array of often empty islands proved to make it an excellent place to cultivate and traffic cannabis. Prior to the 1970s, most cannabis in SVG was the product of Colombia or Trinidad. A large portion of the cultivators were youth who had previously worked on banana farms, until price downturns led to a collapse of the banana industry.
In the 1980s, the United States greatly increased cannabis interdiction in the Caribbean, which led to the unintended consequence of stimulating domestic cannabis cultivation in the United States. By the 1990s, SVG’s advantage in the regional cannabis market had faded, but with supply still steady, they began increased exports to neighboring island nations. Cannabis had become the island’s major cash-crop, and cannabis cultivators grouped themselves into alliances mirrored after the familiar Banana Growers’ Association. By the year 2000, the cannabis crop was estimated (even after 10% eradication) at US$40 million, outpacing even bananas.
In 2010, SVG’s cannabis production was assessed:
- 50% Caribbean market
- 15% United States
- 23% UK and Europe
- 10% Canada
- 2% local consumption
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