Legality of Cannabis by U.S. Jurisdiction

Cannabis in Guyana is illegal for all uses, but is both grown and consumed in the nation. Possession of 15 grams or over can result in charges of drug trafficking.[1]


Indian community[edit]

As in other parts of the British Caribbean, arriving indentured laborers from India brought the custom of smoking ganja with them, but this habit had fallen from fashion by the early part of the 20th century.[2]

Early legislation[edit]

In 1861, British Guiana passed a law entitled An Ordinance to Regulate the Sale of Opium and Bhang.[3]

Indian Hemp Ordinance[edit]

British Guiana passed its Indian Hemp Ordinance in 1913.[4]

Rastafarian usage[edit]

In the 1970s, the Rastafari philosophy gained popularity in Guyana, and along with it came an increased interest in cannabis.[5] In 2015, Guyanese Rastafarians staged a demonstration at the Attorney General's office calling for the decriminalization of cannabis, spurred by the recent arrest of former football star Vibert Butts.[1]


The 2006 UN World Drug Report estimated that 2.6% of Guyanese age 15-64 had used cannabis that year, and as of 2009 it was reported as the most prevalent drug in the country.[6]


Cannabis is generally sold within Guyana, rather than trafficked abroad.[6] Its cannabis grows year-round, and is of a high grade, but is largely consumed locally rather than exported.[7]


Anti-cannabis operations are conducted by both the drug enforcement unit (founded in 1975) of the Guyana Police Force and by the Guyana Defence Force.[8]

In 1987 a Guyanese Member of Parliament was arrested in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, for possession and sale of cannabis.[9]


  1. ^ a b "Rastafarian community protests against 'unjust' marijuana laws". Stabroek News. Retrieved 2015-12-06.
  2. ^ Ansley Hamid (1 January 2002). The Ganja Complex: Rastafari and Marijuana. Lexington Books. pp. 41–. ISBN 978-0-7391-0360-9.
  3. ^ The Laws of British Guiana. H. Hart. 1895. pp. 88–.
  4. ^ James H. Mills (11 September 2003). Cannabis Britannica: Empire, Trade, and Prohibition 1800-1928. OUP Oxford. pp. 139–. ISBN 978-0-19-155465-0.
  5. ^ Vibert C. Cambridge (21 May 2015). Musical Life in Guyana: History and Politics of Controlling Creativity. Univ. Press of Mississippi. pp. 273–. ISBN 978-1-62674-644-2.
  6. ^ a b Graeme R. Newman (19 October 2010). Crime and Punishment around the World: [Four Volumes]. ABC-CLIO. pp. 1–. ISBN 978-0-313-35134-1.
  7. ^ William R. Brownfield (1 May 2011). International Narcotics Control Strategy Report: Volume I: Drug and Chemical Control. DIANE Publishing. pp. 315–. ISBN 978-1-4379-8272-5.
  8. ^ Perry Mars; Alma H. Young (2004). Caribbean Labor and Politics: Legacies of Cheddi Jagan and Michael Manley. Wayne State University Press. pp. 205–. ISBN 0-8143-3211-0.
  9. ^ "Guyana Politician Arrested On Drug Charges". Sun Sentinel. 1987-12-18. Retrieved 2016-11-26.