As the first European country to legalize cannabis, Luxembourg has called on other European countries to relax their drug laws, specifically cannabis production and consumption. According to the European state, the continent’s drug policy has not worked over the last few decades, and forbidding everything made it more attractive for people to find new ways of skirting laws.
The country’s relaxed laws will see residents over 18 years old able to buy cannabis for recreational use starting from 2020. The state will establish a cannabis agency to regulate all production and distribution. What’s more, minors between ages 12 and 17 will not face criminal charges if caught in possession of five grams or less of the drug. However, those who break the law will receive harsh penalties.
Other European countries like Switzerland are following suit by making access to medical cannabis easier. Luxembourg will join other countries like Canada, Uruguay, Jamaica, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, the Czech Republic, and up to 33 American states in legalizing medical cannabis use.
The move flaunts the UN convention on the narcotic rugs control that commits signatories to limit the exclusive medical and scientific production, manufacture, trade, employment, and possession of hard drugs.
Why Countries are Saying Cannabis is Okay
Several things have led different countries worldwide to relax their hard stance on cannabis use for medicinal and recreational purposes. The primary reasons include:
- War on drugs
Uruguay was the first country to announce it would legalize recreational cannabis use within its borders. The move was motivated by its war on illegal drugs and replacing organized crime links within the cannabis trade with accountable state regulation.
Before the end of the year, the US states of Washington and Colorado followed suit and supported legalizing cannabis for non-medical use. What’s more, President Obama’s administration saw the government step back from enforcing federal laws, which effectively gave states the green light to explore alternative legislation.
As a result, Washington DC and eight more states supported the legislation of recreational cannabis use and softened penalties. Today, 33 states have allowed cannabis use for medicinal purposes.
Canada also legalized the sale, possession, and use of recreational cannabis. Today, it has some of the leading cannabis companies in the world.
2. Sick Children
In Canada and the US, sick children in need of potentially life-changing medication softened public attitudes to the drug. Images of sick children circulated the media and led to legislation for medicinal purposes.
The same occurred in the UK, which saw the government change its law to allow doctors to prescribe cannabis products. However, the UK government maintains its ban on recreational cannabis products, despite senior public figures having second thoughts.
The Mexican government also heard the cries of sick children and legalized medical cannabis. However, the decision was also motivated by the extraordinary violence in its drug wars.
3. A Lucrative Cannabis Market
As countries worldwide continue legalizing medical and recreational cannabis use, corporations have expressed interest in the lucrative trade. For instance, Altria invested $1.86 billion in a Canadian cannabis company.
Over time, experts expect a boom in the US cannabis trade as the country demonstrates against the ban. If this happens, the present medical cannabis trade could morph into recreational sales and open up a bigger market.
However, one obstacle facing the trade is that the recreational cannabis trade is illegal across borders. Countries can only export and import medical cannabis under a licensing system from the International Narcotics Control Board.
It means that farmers in countries like Jamaica and Morocco with large cannabis production capacity cannot access international markets that domestic recreational cannabis producers sometimes struggle to supply, such as Canada.
Developing Cannabis Rules
There are some rumblings of change within international legal systems concerning cannabis production and sale for medicinal and recreational use, but complete change is still far. Governments that want to speed towards legislation face several challenges, including steering a course between rigid prohibition and uncontrolled legislation.
However, it’s a virtual certainty that more countries will continue to change their approach to cannabis production in the coming years. African countries like Malawi are ready to embrace legalizing cannabis for medicinal purposes. Other African countries that have changed their stance include Lesotho, Zimbabwe, and South Africa.
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