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How These Countries Regulate Recreational Cannabis [Cannabis Insight 2021]


The legalization of cannabis varies significantly from country to country.

When it comes to smoking cannabis, the first thing you think of is maybe the "Coffee shop" in the Netherlands. In fact, the use of cannabis in the Netherlands is only "decriminalized" and is not yet legal. Although people and tourists can go to the cannabis shop to buy and use 5 grams and smoke on the street, people may still be targeted by the local police.

Although the United States is the initiator of the stigma of cannabis, states have also begun to reconsider the necessity of a ban on cannabis after half a century. Although the federal law still maintains the "cannabis ban," California has opened up the use of medical cannabis since 1996. Until 2021, 18 states in the United States, including Washington, DC, have legalized recreational cannabis.


Canada is the only country in the world that legalizes recreational cannabis. In 2018, Canada passed the Recreational Cannabis Act. The Associated Press reported that the "Cannabis Business Opportunities" created would be estimated to make an annual output value of 22.6 billion U.S. dollars for Canada. However, it took nearly 20 years for Canada to move from "legalization of medical treatment" to "legalization of recreational use."


Before discussing the legalization of cannabis in other countries, we might look at the regulations and legalization process of cannabis in these three countries and then think about where other countries might go next.


The struggle between U.S. federal law and state law.

In 1970, the United States Congress passed the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act, which listed cannabis as a first-level controlled drug equivalent to heroin, still influential today.


Twenty-six years later, California passed the Compassionate Use Act in 1996, allowing patients with severe illnesses and related chronic diseases to purchase medical cannabis products on their own after evaluation by professional physicians. California became the first in the United States to open cannabis. (For medical purposes), but it also gives rise to the strange status quo that state laws override federal laws.


Therefore, the former U.S. Attorney General James. In the "Cole Memorandum" issued by James M. Cole on August 29, 2013, it was stated that the federal government will not control and intervene in policies related to cannabis for states that recognize cannabis legally. And measures.


In 2014, referendums on the legalization of cannabis in Oregon and Alaska were passed, which began to arouse the concern of the United Nations. The main reason is that the United States, as a signatory of the International Anti-drug Convention, has taken the lead in allowing state governments to enable people to vote on cannabis, which violates international law. However, then-Secretary of State William Brownfield (William Brownfield) pointed out that the time and space background of the United Nations' previous law formulation is different from the current one and should be revised according to the changes of the times.


The Biden administration has a positive attitude towards cannabis and supports gradual liberalization. When Vice President Kamala Harris was a California senator, she also co-sponsored the "MORE Act", advocating that cannabis should be removed from the "Controlled Substances Act (CSA)" and also related to cannabis should be removed. The form of conviction is expected to go further towards full legalization.


In July 2021, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer introduced a draft federal law on the decriminalization of cannabis, the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act, advocating that cannabis be removed from the Federal Controlled Drug List. And give states the power to implement cannabis control laws on their own. The latest progress of the bill is that at the end of September, the bill was passed by the House Judiciary Committee with 26 votes in favour and 15 votes against it.


At present, 37 states in the United States have legalized medical cannabis, and more than 18 states and Washington DC have legalized recreational cannabis. This also means that most Americans have the opportunity to obtain cannabis for medical or recreational purposes.


United States-One Country, Two Systems for American Cannabis

Almost all states in the United States gradually promote the legalization of cannabis. The first stage is from the illegal state to the decriminalization of cannabis to the approval of cannabis-related drugs by the Central Food and Drug Administration. The second stage is the legalization of medical cannabis products, allowing people holding "cannabis cards" to purchase related essential oils, lozenges, ointments and other products containing cannabidiol (CBD) ingredients at designated pharmacies (Dispensary).

The third stage is to enter the legal location of medical cannabis flowers. People can buy real cannabis flowers in designated pharmacies through certification documents such as cannabis cards.