Cannabis legalization isn't discussed only on north American soil. It is an actual matter all over the world. Many powerful nations are looking into the legalization of the famous plant as well. Some for recreational use some for its medical values. 2020 might be the year where cannabis makes its official come back in many countries. From Brazil to Nepal, governments are discussing and putting in place regulations for the eventual new laws concerning Cannabis. Each of those nations has specific reasons why the cannabis legalization is alluring to them.
None the less these new developments are the start of something new. Similarly, to the worldwide criminalization of cannabis, in the 1970s, this wind of change is coming from the North American continent. The 2018 federal legalization of cannabis, in Canada, and the politician's promises of its legalizations for a win in the 2020 US elections caused a lot of ink to flow.
What about the European Union and the Asian continent? What is happening over there?
Let's start with one of our "close" neighbors, Brazil. Brazilians lawmakers indeed approved regulations to allow medical cannabis use. Although, the new set of rules does not allow the Brazilians citizens to cultivate the plant. Therefore, any supplies of medical cannabis will have to be imported.
3.4 million patients are to be expected according to the New Frontier Data figures.
This new "program" will be on trial for three years and will be published in the nation's official gazette. Finally, it will officially be in effect 90 days after its publication. Patients will be able to buy cannabis products from licensed/ registered pharmacies.
Secondly, Switzerland is considering absolute legalization. In fact, three reports have been published by the Federal Commission for Addiction Issues (FCAI) in 2019: "Cannabis: knowledge updates 2019", "International Review of cannabis regulatory models" and "Cannabis policy: the questions no one asks".
Those reports have highlighted, the results of scientific researches on the risks linked to cannabis consumption. The results show little to no physical damage, and that the main hazard coming from the cannabis products is the high levels of THC. Other danger exposure can be related to the concurrent use of tobacco, childhood/ teenage years use and long-term use.
The current laws are stopping the establishment of new prevention and minimization risk measures. The goal behind the new regulations is to protect consumers.
Accordingly, to protect the citizen of Switzerland particularly its youth, the Federal Commission for Addiction Issues (FCAI) recommends:
- The legalization and decriminalization of cannabis,
- A regulated market where cannabis farming is allowed in a controlled environment.
-The introduction of new reduction of risks and damage measures.
Not too far from Switzerland, the first member of the European Union to consider adult-use legalization of cannabis is Croatia. Small cannabis possession is decriminalized since 2013. Although growing or selling the plant is still illegal. Three years minimum prison sentences are the risks of getting caught growing or selling the plant.
The new bill proposed by Mirela Holy would allow every adult to grow up to nine female plants with a high amount of THC. Ms. Holy, a Croatian politician and former leader of the center-left Croatian Sustainable Development party mentioned: "People need to be educated first and then they will change their attitudes. The addictive potential [of cannabis] is much less than the addictive potential of nicotine or alcohol. And, to my knowledge, nobody has ever died from an overdose of natural cannabis."
Croatia previously legalized medical cannabis in 2015 for the treatment of illnesses like cancer, multiple sclerosis, and even AIDS. The way is half paved for them to become the first country of the European Union to fully legalized cannabis.
Another country, we don't hear as much of, considering cannabis legalization is Nepal. For those less familiar with this small country it is located between China and India and it is where you can find the famous Mount Everest. The Communist party ruling Nepal introduced new regulations to legalize cannabis in February 2020.
Khatiwada, a member of the Communist Party said the country's soil and climate are suitable for cannabis cultivation and thus would be very beneficial for its agricultural economy. He also mentioned: "Legalizing marijuana will help the poor farmers and since most of the Western world, which was reason for making it illegal in the first place, have already ended the prohibition, Nepal should also lift the ban."
The lawmakers haven't taken any measures to implement the new legislation since it still needs to be approved by the Parliament. Although with 46 members of the communist party being pro-cannabis, the plant being illegal since 1973 will probably make its official come back in the next few months.
Lastly, New Zealand will host a referendum on September 19th, 2020 about the legalization of cannabis. If approved the new legislation would set the minimum age to purchase cannabis to 20 and the purchase limit per day would be 14 grams. Also, the home-grow limits would be of two plants per person with a maximum of 4 plants per household.
The main goal of this legalization is to get rid of the legitimatization of gangs and reduce the number of prisoners, notably for the indigenous Maori people. These new measures could also lower cannabis use by teenagers with the implementation of education programs.
The final results of the referendum will be published on October 2nd, 2020.
To conclude, five new players might enter the industry of cannabis by the end of this year. For all the cannabis lovers, those are very exciting news. Let's hope that these strong nations will keep leading the way, for a US federal legalization, and eventually a world where people aren't afraid or skeptical about the power of this wonderful pant.