The Associated Press reports that the current situation regarding the island’s mostly illegal market is the worst it’s ever been. Unrelenting storms from last year’s hurricane season battered marijuana fields, which was followed by an intense drought. Ultimately, tens of thousands of dollars were lost during that time, according to farmers who illegally grow weed.
The pandemic made matters worse with a strict 6 p.m. curfew preventing farmers from caring for their fields at night, which is customary. The global health crisis coupled with decriminalization has meant growth in local consumption, which has also added to the shortage.
However, the government’s Cannabis Licensing Authority said there isn’t a scarcity of marijuana in the country’s regulated industry. However, product sold through legal dispensaries—called herb houses—prove to be expensive with marijuana costing five to 10 times more than street prices.
In 2015, the government approved a regulated medical marijuana industry and decriminalized small amounts of the substance. People who are found with two ounces (56 grams) or less of weed have to pay a minor fine but won’t be arrested or have a criminal record. Individuals are permitted to grow up to five plants, and Rastafarians are legally authorized to smoke for sacred reasons.