Cannabis Laws: Status and Recent Developments Around the World
The legalise medical and recreational cannabis movement has made consistent progress in the last few years. Some countries have already legalised medical and recreational cannabis, while others are working on overturning prohibition. Revising the regressive cannabis laws is one of the few hot topics with widespread support.
Medical cannabis is a plant-based medicine derived from hemp plants such as Cannabis sativa and Cannabis indica. It contains a chemical called cannabidiol (CBD), which has no intoxicating properties. It’s used to treat various conditions, including epilepsy, glaucoma, insomnia, nausea, anxiety, and chronic pain. As more and more studies continue to find medical cannabis to be beneficial, governments are starting to revise their restrictions. Here’s a guide on cannabis regulation in Australia and the rest of the world.
Cannabis Legalisation in Australia
Australia’s cannabis laws have recently received a facelift. Although federal law states that the possession of cannabis is a criminal offence, different parts of the country are lifting restrictions on the use of marijuana for certain purposes. 2016 was a special year in Australia’s cannabis history as politicians agreed to allow the use of medical cannabis products.
In September 2019, new legislation was passed in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) that permits residents who are over 18 years to possess up to 50 grams of recreational marijuana and cultivate 2 plants per individual or 4 per family. The law came into effect on January 31st this year.
Studies have played a big role in shaping the attitudes of Australians towards cannabis. The revelation of the health and economic benefits of cannabis has led to more favourable opinions.
New Zealand appears to be headed in the right direction when it comes to cannabis and CBD laws. Here, cannabis products can be prescribed by a doctor for certain conditions. In 2018, an act was amended to allow terminally ill patients to access medical marijuana in the last months of life.
Although recreational cannabis is currently criminalised in New Zealand, this may soon change. In September this year, during the general election, voters will be given the opportunity to say yes or no to cannabis legalisation. In the proposed bill, the herb will be legal for people over 20 years, sales will be done on licensed stores, and use in private residences. The revenues collected from taxation of the product will be pumped into various health programs.
Cannabis is currently legal in some form in 46 US states. 10 states have legalised recreational cannabis, while 33 allow medical cannabis. Although over 60% of Americans support marijuana legalisation, the federal government continues to act as a barrier to change.
Illinois is the latest state to allow recreational cannabis sales, and other states are hot on its heels. Governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo, recently renewed his pledge to push for legalisation, while the Kansas governor also wants to revise cannabis laws. Other states that could soon make positive progress include South Dakota, New Jersey, and Arizona.
In Canada, medical cannabis has been allowed since 2001, and in 2018 it made history by becoming the second country to fully legalise recreational cannabis. The country has an excellent system for regulating the product and supply chains.
Europe and Asia
In the last decade, many European countries have relaxed their cannabis laws. The UK’s marijuana policies may soon be reviewed as public opinion change. Medical cannabis is currently legal in the UK if you have a special license. In Germany, medical marijuana is legal since 2017. For recreational use, you can’t be prosecuted if found with an amount less than 6 grams. In the Netherlands, marijuana is decriminalised, and citizens can buy it in coffee shops. In Asia, South Korea, Japan, and Thailand, the use of medical cannabis has been legalised.
Across the world, regulations around cannabis are being tweaked to allow people to access the plant’s health and economic benefits. Although more work needs to be done to make cannabis more accessible, the progress being made is exciting. If you would like to boost your health and wellness with a CBD product, contact Down To Earth, and we will help you make the right choice!