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President’s Son Suggests Cannabis Legalization in Nicaragua

If this were the 1980s, an attack and then parry in response between two countries in Central America—specifically Nicaragua and Honduras—would be nothing of note. El Salvador was a neighboring country and the scene of an intense battle that became known as Iran Contra.

The “elevator high pitch” for those that missed it was that it was, from a North American perspective anyway, kind of like Vietnam, The Eighties version, with a few hemispheric twists. It also gave rise to loads of action movies set slightly south of Mexico’s border and featuring actors who appeared in such immortal titles, half clothed, with ripped bodies of all genders, endless ammunition, and a great deal of violence in and to a lot of delicate and hard to replace vegetation. Human lives are also at risk.

As with most such skirmishes, as well as Cold Wars that turn hot, it was bloody, and there were issues on all sides, although “atrocity” of the human rights kind happened less on the Nicaraguan one. On an international level, it was clear which side the conflict represented. The Contras were supported, including illegally and covertly, under the Reagan Administration, in part by highly “creative” and illegal deals for drugs. Daniel Ortega, Nicaragua’s current president, led the resistance in his country and survived to have grown children and to lead the country by winning a democratic election.

This is the latest update. In this unique and unprecedented piece of cannabis legalization history, one of Ortega’s sons has now announced that the normalization of cannabis should be “discussed” at the federal level.

This story is not just about the father-son relationship. There are other ironies. The wars in El Salvador and Nicaragua saw both sides accused of drug-running to get cash for what had been a regional civil conflict. While the Russians might not have so secretly funded Ortega as they claimed, no one in Soviet politics was called upon for corrupt or criminal drug trades. On the “other” side, see Oliver North. This is it.

It speaks volumes about the direction in which the Drug War is heading, and the fact that cannabis legalization has now taken root not just in Honduras but also in Nicaragua this week.

The Race to the Bottom

As has been widely predicted since Uruguay’s recreational step nine years ago, it was only a matter of time before cannabis reform began to drastically change economies (for good and for bad). While yes, the climate in this region of the world is “perfect” for cannabis, it is also equally if not more important for rapidly disappearing, highly biodiverse places called rainforests.

As has been suggested in Honduras as an option, outdoor cultivation would almost certainly lead to another round of deforestation. 

The same is true in Nicaragua—although there is one stark contrast to what is going on across the border in the other “left-leaning” government now in power in Honduras. Here, the country’s first female president, with a last name of Castro, is currently hearing conflicting advice on the issue from her husband (also a former president) and her vice president, a former CEO of Honduras Pepsi also known endearingly (or not) as El señor de la TelevisionElon Musk’s more traditional media avatar, also known as.

Juan Carlos Ortega Murillo and Rosario Murillo’s son have both publicly stated that Nicaragua would legalize their model of legalization. They also want provisions to ensure the wellbeing of the citizens. It would imply that government thinks that it is possible to have a completely regulated industry. 

Self-Sufficiency in Agriculture

The other interesting point raised was whether production of cannabis would overtake more important crops for the sake of the security of the country—namely self-sufficient food cultivation. Food sovereignty is an important mantra of the government here—as it may well become in other places as the war in Ukraine raises global prices on grain and certain kinds of cooking oil.

These questions are extremely complex in an area of the world that has such profound economic issues. While the conversation has been redirected to North America, it is still being discussed in Canada and the U.S. This starts with how much energy is required to maintain indoor pot farms, and water for certain states. California is an example.

There is no way anyone can control small-scale farmers that grow marijuana for their own personal and family use. As it is legal in most western countries, medical (or recreational) cannabis should not be prohibited.

This is an entirely different topic. In the long-term, illegal cannabis cultivation in rainforests causes more harm than anywhere else on the planet. The earth is experiencing shrinkage of its rainforests, so cannabis should not be blamed for destroying biodiversity. Cannabis is not the only thing that can destroy biodiversity.

That such questions are being raised in the middle of a global mega crisis, and by nations in this part of the world with a tragic track record so far, is notable—and rather historically apropos.

There may be ruderalis species found in both nations that could dissuade criminals from using virgin land and other resources to finance a legal trade or not. This argument was unfortunately lost many times before.

How can we make the world more sustainable?

The fight for reform in Central America and Latin America is unlike any other area on Earth right now. It has begun to raise tough questions that the global business has so far largely ignored.

Legalization of cannabis is a long-overdue global crisis. However, while it’s urgent and necessary, it is also critical that countries not only legalize cannabis, but that their economies aren’t destroyed by the growing demand for this plant.

There are many trade opportunities and more intense wars than you might think (one example is Ukraine). were fought for equally valuable resources. Cannabis, despite its many healing qualities, shouldn’t be included in this list.