The US Election May Have Been Legalisation Inspiration.
A few weeks ago, four states in the USA legalised cannabis for adult recreational use, while four more states voted to approve medical-only use. We considered this to be a big win not only for personal freedom, but also for the hemp industry, as this wave of legalisation could also change attitudes towards hemp. This wave doesn’t seem to be over yet, as other regions look keener to legalise cannabis after the results of the election.
One of these states, unexpectedly, is Texas1. Soon after the nationwide election
, lawmakers submitted five proposals on changing cannabis laws. Three of these were about reducing the penalties for cannabis use, one would allow voters to decide on medical-only use and another would allow a vote on legalisation for recreational use. The most liberal of these2, House Bill 2165, would regulate cannabis as if it were “tomatoes, jalapenos or coffee”. Whether or not any of these will pass is unknown, as Texas is still a very conservative state. New Jersey3 has been another unexpected state, because of their very anti-cannabis Governor, Chris Christie. As he will no longer be governor from January 2018, looming loss of the “only impediment” to legalisation has led some lawmakers to Colorado for fact-finding. Senator Nick Scutari, like many others, is interested in the economic benefits, such as more jobs, and social benefits such as fewer people in prison.
Additionally, Washington DC has also eased restrictions on medical dispensaries1. The District of Columbia Council voted to allow patients with permission to use medical cannabis in other states to visit dispensaries in the district. The now-approved Act also allows patients to visit more than one dispensary and removes the limit on the number of plants that cultivators can grow. The possession limit has been increased too, from two ounces every 30 days to four.
Change may also be coming internationally. In Italy4, there has been a recent campaign to allow cannabis social clubs and to decriminalise possession and cultivation. The last days of the official campaign saw 17,500 petition signatures collected, which sends a strong message of support to the government. This included the mayors of Parma, Torino and Naples; meanwhile, the council of Sicily’s capital approved a motion to send a strong message to all MPs in support of the possible new laws. Much of this support comes from a desire to cut down the power of the Mafia. Things are looking up for Germany and the Czech Republic too5. In Germany, the Green and Left parties have secured an agreement with the Social Democratic Party to have legalisation and drug policy revisions included in the next coalition agreement. In the Czech Republic, a campaign by two minor parties has been launched to fight for legalisation. Once their petition reaches 10,000 signatures, it qualifies for presentation to the Chamber of Deputies. During the Cannafest weekend alone, it obtained 1,500 signatures.
Around the world, cannabis laws are changing for the better at a rapid pace, which can also change attitudes towards hemp. While none of these possibilities are yet certain, it looks like a bright future is ahead for those whose health depends on legalisation.
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