Cuba Stands against Legalizing Marijuana

Cuba considers that legalizing marijuana would be tantamount to a “historical irresponsibility” that could lead to “irreparable damage.” According to, the Secretary of the National Commission on Drugs Israel Iván Suárez made this statement after being asked his opinion by representatives of a United States bill to legalize marijuana, the first of its kind in the U.S. Suárez stated that trying to decriminalize marijuana “is not rational” and argued legal, health and social reasons, as well as the problems that this can cause to other countries in the region.

He recalled that a decision like this would break international agreements of the United Nations Convention signed in 1961. He stressed serious damage from the point of view of health, and the major social problems that marijuana use entails. In addition, Cuba’s National Commission on Drugs is very uncomfortable that a decision of this kind might be taken in a country so close geographically to the island. Suárez reminded people that the southern coast of the U.S. is the main producer of the “super-marijuana.”

Carmen Borrego, who is representing the Ministry of Public Health in the National Drug Commission, said that this move would be very negative for the most vulnerable social sectors adding that eliminating certain prohibitions is not going to solve serious health issues as well as problems with violence and crime.

According to the National Commission on Drugs, the prevalence of addiction and drug use in Cuba is very low, at a rate below 1.5 per cent. This fact emerges from a survey conducted in the largest cities of the island between 2003 and 2006, which is being updated now with new research. Although the Commission members did not have available data as to the number of people currently receiving treatment for substance abuse, they insisted that the number of drug users on the island is so low that “it does not constitute a health problem.”

With regard to drug trafficking, the Cuban authorities seized 3.023 kilos of drugs, especially marijuana, in 2010, representing 163 pounds less than the previous year. In the last case, 22 traffickers, 20 of them non-Cubans, were arrested on the island when trying to get drugs into the country, a total of 41 kilos. Cuban legislation is very severe with drug trafficking, a crime punished by sentences ranging from 15 years to life in prison.

For full article (in Spanish), see

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