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Industry Insights & Developments for Cannabis in the Caribbean

While the use and cultivation of cannabis in the Caribbean isn’t new, its legalization is a much more recent development. Several Caribbean islands still outlaw cannabis use of any kind, but others are making progress towards reform, and the region as a whole has potential to become the perfect environment to advance the cannabis industry. Here’s what you need to know about new and upcoming developments for cannabis in the Caribbean.


Consumption of cannabis in the Caribbean likely began in Jamaica in the mid-1800s. After the slave trade was abolished, indentured servants were brought over from India, bringing cannabis, or ganja, with them.

While there has long been widespread, if typically illegal, use of cannabis in the Caribbean, especially in places like Jamaica, there are now increased movements toward decriminalization and acceptance of cannabis throughout the region. 

In 2018, the Caribbean Community and Common Market (CARICOM), which serves to craft policy for 15 member states and 5 associate members in the Caribbean, released its Report of the Caricom Regional Commission on Marijuana. The report pushed for decriminalization of cannabis in the Caribbean, setting the stage for future legislation.

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Since its introduction to the country, cannabis has played an important role in Jamaican culture, most famously through the Rastafarian religion and reggae music.

Although the use of cannabis was illegal in Jamaica for decades, the country decriminalized possession of small amounts in 2015 and saw the first legal sale of medical cannabis in the Caribbean in 2018.


The cultivation, sale, and use of cannabis in any way is currently illegal in Haiti, and there is little information available about when or if these laws might change.

The Bahamas

Although cannabis is not yet legal in the Bahamas, legislation is in the works to allow for medical use. The legislation is backed by cautious but supportive attitudes from the general public.

Trinidad & Tobago

In December of 2019, legislation was passed decriminalizing small amounts of cannabis in Trinidad and Tobago. The country’s Cannabis Control Bill has since passed the House of Representatives, establishing provisions for medical and religious use of cannabis.

Costa Rica

In March of 2022, Costa Rica legalized cannabis for medical use. The bill also legalized the cultivation of hemp for industrial purposes. Although adult-use cannabis is still illegal in Costa Rica, legislation has been proposed to make it fully legal as well.


With some exceptions, the Caribbean as a whole is a perfect environment for cannabis growth. Due to its proximity to the equator, the region is hot, humid, and enjoys abundant sunlight.

While some islands have soil issues that could hinder growth, there is still huge potential for growing cannabis in the Caribbean.

In addition to the ideal growing environment, labor and costs of living in the Caribbean are cheap enough that it’s possible to both pay good wages and save on production costs.

Over time, as cannabis becomes a commodity, products for extracts, isolates, hemp, etc., will likely move to being produced in the Caribbean. From there, these products will be exported throughout the world, bringing more wealth and stability back to the Caribbean in return.


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