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Medical Cannabis – Trends In Europe And Around The World

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The legal cannabis industry is one of the fastest-growing in the U.S. In 2016 alone, the industry brought in $6.9 billion – a 30 per cent increase over the previous year, according to Arcview Market Research. Right now, about 700,000 people in the USA alone are arrested for cannabis violations every year. Lastly, officials realise that they can save billions of dollars that are wasted on the drug war should cannabis become legal.

What are the most likely countries to either outright legalise cannabis or allow for the legal use of medical applications? Well, it turns out there are several countries in the EU that are pushing for cannabis reform.

CZECH REPUBLIC

The Czech Republic has already passed a medical cannabis bill in 2013. In addition, they have broadly decriminalised possession. Czech citizens can legally grow up to 5 plants. Experts predict that full legalisation is just around the corner. It’s no coincidence that Prague is being called ‘New Amsterdam’.

SPAIN

Spain is also being called ‘New Amsterdam’. This is mostly due to the proliferation of legal, private cannabis clubs. Technically, it’s still illegal to manufacture and sell cannabis, although it’s a grey area legally speaking. The private cannabis clubs are so successful that soon, Spain may take the reins and totally legalise recreationally.

Only time will tell but, based on the ease at which cannabis clubs have sprouted up, and Spain’s liberal, permissive attitude toward the plant, many think that Spain will be the next to legalise cannabis.

In Serbia possession is punishable by a fine or by imprisonment of up to three years. Sale and transport are punishable by imprisonment from three to twelve years. Cultivation is punishable by imprisonment from six months to five years. Higher penalties for organised crime

NETHERLANDS

One cannot speak of ‘New Amsterdam’ without referring to ‘Old Amsterdam’. It is here where the enlightened people of this fascinating country have long ago accepted cannabis into their culture. The Amsterdam cannabis trade has been a huge success.

People from all over the world flock to this city to experience the cannabis culture first hand. So much so that government officials in Holland have attempted to cut back somewhat in an effort to slow down the proliferation of ‘coffee shops’.

Right now Dutch authorities, in an effort to appease unhappy nationals, have passed a law which has made it illegal for foreigners to buy cannabis unless they purchase a ‘weed pass’.

GERMANY

Not only does the German government subsidise organic foods so that everyone may eat healthy without being charged extortionate amounts of money, but they are also now paying for sick people to access cannabis since 2017:
Health Minister Hermann Groehe said; “Our aim is that seriously ill people are treated in the best possible way.” First the very sick, then the sick and then those who don’t want to get sick will be legally allowed cannabis. The German government will grow cannabis themselves at a secure location. They will join a growing number of European countries that have a medical cannabis program.

ITALY

Italians have had it a bit harder than some other countries in the EU but finally, things seem to be moving in a favourable direction. An Italian research group produced a study suggesting that legalising cannabis could boost Italy’s GDP by between 1.30 and 2.34 per cent.

In January, Italy officially decriminalised a number of minor crimes, the most important of which had to do with medical cannabis cultivation and cannabis research.

In the recent past, approved growers who violated the country’s strict regulations — even in minor ways — could be imprisoned or pay a hefty fine. This no longer will happen. Any violators will now receive only a minor fine and no prison time.

SWITZERLAND

Small amounts of cannabis have been decriminalised in Switzerland, allowing the growing and cultivating of up to four plants per person. Liberal and relaxed, there is little threat to recreational users but no plans to legalise in the near future.

SERBIA

In Serbia possession is punishable by a fine or by imprisonment of up to three years. Sale and transport are punishable by imprisonment from three to twelve years. Cultivation is punishable by imprisonment from six months to five years. Higher penalties for organised crime.

RUSSIA

Russia has one of the world’s most intolerant drug policies, with no distinction between soft and hard drugs, and lengthy prison sentences for dealing and trafficking. Called a “dangerous gateway drug” by Russia’s Federal Drug Control Service, the authorities made it clear that there are no plans to legalise marijuana.

LEGAL CANNABIS INDUSTRY
LEGAL CANNABIS INDUSTRY

Medical cannabis has been projected to become a $1 billion business in Canada by 2020. The legalisation of recreational use could push the industry into a $7 billion business by some estimates

MEXICO

Recently, two bills were introduced in Mexico City, one for decriminalisation and one allowing medical use of cannabis following a Supreme court ruling.

The Supreme Court’s Ruling leaves Mexico’s current drug laws untouched, which are among the most conservative and retaliatory in the world. However, it does pave the way toward total reform by allowing archaic laws to be removed and progressive legislation to be enacted.

Another interesting development is the predicable drop in drug cartel revenue after Colorado and other states legalised cannabis.

INDIA

The Times of India has gone on record supporting the idea of cannabis decriminalisation in the country. It’s already widely used in many religious ceremonies among the Hindu population, and its use is not enforced as stringently as many might suspect. Not only that, but wild cannabis grows in abundance in many states.

CHINA

In 1985, the People’s Republic of China joined the Convention on Psychotropic Substances and identified marijuana as a dangerous narcotic drug, and illegal to possess or use it. The penalty for marijuana possession in China is disputed from various sources, but according to the Law on Public Security Administration Punishments, marijuana smokers shall be detained for 10 to 15 days and fined a maximum of $ 260.

THE PHILIPPINES

Even the new president of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte, signalled his support of the use of cannabis for medical purposes, possibly opening the door to significant new business opportunities in Asia. He openly opposes recreational cannabis but is in favour of constructing a medical cannabis program.

CANADA

Medical cannabis has been projected to become a $1 billion business in Canada by 2020. The legalisation of recreational use could push the industry into a $7 billion business by some estimates. Recently, a law was passed that allows licensed producers to grow and ship cannabis to medical patients anywhere in Canada, thus allowing store-to-door purchasing.

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