While Cuba and the United States are working closely to combat the small country’s ongoing problem with drug trafficking, Cuban officials have said that the legalization of marijuana in nearby countries is actually adding to the trouble, dispelling the prospects of Cuban marijuana legalization.
On June 22, 2017, Antonio Israel Ibarra, Cuba’s Sec. of the National Drugs Commission, proclaimed Cuban authorities have confiscated 1.8 tons of drugs in 2017, as reported by The Washington Post.
Though the number is small compared to surrounding countries, it is triple the amount confiscated within the first six months of 2016.
According to Ibarra, one of the main reasons for the rise in drug seizures is because of Cuban and American teamwork to stop marijuana deliveries within waters surrounding Cuba.
“Cuba is facing a very difficult situation at the moment with regards to drug trafficking,” Ibarra said, as reported by Reuters. “Firstly because in Latin America and the Caribbean, there is a group of countries trying to legalize, or that has legalized, the use of marijuana.”
Ibarra made it clear that the country will not be taking the same steps as its neighboring countries and that Cuban marijuana legalization will never be.
“We have not legalized it, nor will we,” he said.
Last year, Cuba and the U.S. agreed to law enforcement teamwork in regard to pursuing drug traffickers. Though tensions are rising under the Trump administration, Ibarra said he hopes the two countries can continue to work with one another.