It stretches the imagination, but from 1655 to 1776 Jamaica and the US were contemporaneous colonies of the British Empire and Jamaica, rich with West India planters, considered the more prosperous of the two. Fast forward to 2016 and Jamaica’s overregulation of its nascent cannabis industry is reminiscent of the British stamp tax on tea that so inspired Boston’s sons of liberty to throw the very same tea into the harbor. Not so much, because it represented a “taxation without representation” as taught in American History classes, but rather, the stamp tax prevented the sons from selling their own unstamped tea. Freedom to make money without or with limited government interference has been the essence of the free enterprise system of American politics ever since. Hence the prodigious efforts made to design the US government as a system of checks and balances between its executive, legislative and judicial branches–no room for tyranny, arbitrary or capricious power over the right to conduct business in these united states. Similarly, states and the quality of live of their constituted populations were acceded jurisdiction over their health, education, welfare, employment, banking, elections and insurance. As such, 50 states, 50 different sets of state laws governing the quality of ones life within the boundaries of that state.
States rights, therefore, and powers reserved to the people where not expressly enumerated by the Constitution are fundamental principles of American democracy or mythology depending on which way you look at it.
Therefore, when the people of 25 American states respectively voted to decriminalize/ legalize the sale of cannabis for both recreational and medical purposes, they did not violate any international or federal drug laws. The growth of marijuana beyond the five plants for personal use is still if not illegal then highly regulated in many states and constitutes a gray area of both state and federal law. To clarify, by example, the sale of alcohol has been legal in all fifty states since the end of prohibition in 1933, but there still exists today, “dry towns” that prohibit the sale of alcohol in accordance with the will of the citizens of that particular town. A continent provides the history, scale and room for legal expression that small islands may not have cause to appreciate.