Copyright © 2000 International Development Options
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Volume Two Winter 1999-Spring 2000 Numbers 1-2.
THEME: CARIBBEAN DEVELOPMENT STRATEGIES: ISSUES AND OPTIONS
GANJA AND GLOBALIZATION: A CARIBBEAN CASE STUDY
Department of Anthropology
Winnipeg, Manitoba R3T 2N2
Published Online: December 15, 2016
The opposition by an informal group of marijuana growers and their supporters to annual American-sponsored weed eradication operations in St. Vincent and the Grenadines raises a several interconnected questions about the relation between cannabis, class, and globalization in this small Eastern Caribbean country. What do elite Vincentians have to say about marijuana? How credible are their views from the perspective of Western scientific research? How do the views of the Vincentian intelligentsia correspond to the views of ordinary citizens, on the one hand, and to the beliefs and values of those who produce, distribute, and consume ganja, on the other? in this small country? What are the theoretical and practical implications of Caribbean attitudes towards and actions for and against illegal drugs for America's war on drugs?
What do these various perspectives tell us about race, class, and culture Answering these questions makes marijuana a trope for multidisciplinary global development studies: (1) it is a combined natural substance and socio-cultural construct that has had shifting, contradictory, and elusive uses and meanings for thousands of years; (2) it simultaneously bridges and isolates the private, public, and statist spheres of everyday reality; (3) it is an archetype of transnationalism; (4) it has been employed in all places and at all times to legitimize the stigmatization, harassment, and persecution of individuals and groups based on their race, class, ethnicity, ideology, or lifestyle; (5) it continues to be vigorously contested at the highest and lowest levels of global power and discourse; (6) it is an exemplar of the pervasive links and blurred boundaries between science, politics, and morality; and (7) it is an ideal springboard from esoteric scholasticism to public policy analysis.