Reefer Report: Episode 2

Global Change is on the Horizon in the World of Cannabis.

Legalization Bill Takes an Important Step in Congress.

On Wednesday November 20th, the House Judiciary Committee approved a bill to remove cannabis as a schedule 1 narcotic. This would legalize marijuana in the United States.

In all, there are five different designations or schedules of drug; Schedule I drugs are considered to have no accepted medical use in the United States. They are also likely to place a person at high risk for developing a substance abuse disorder. Very few studies, however, assert that marijuana puts people at a high risk for developing a substance abuse disorder.

If the bill were to pass, it would allow states to decide their own cannabis policies. Moreover, it would give the state’s incentives for clearing criminal records for low-level marijuana offenses. This bill would also include a 5% tax on all cannabis products.

Currently, there are 11 states that have legalized the recreational use of marijuana. Not to mention the many more that have legalized the medical use of marijuana. Some states have chosen to avoid legalization and have instead begun a path to decriminalize recreational marijuana.

The Battle Rages in Michigan.

On December 1st, 2019, Michigan joined 11 other states that have legalized recreational marijuana use for its citizens. In 2018, the voters of Michigan passed a bill with a margin of 55.9% that legalized recreational marijuana. However, despite there being more than 50% of the Michigan voters approving, the law was not without its detractors.

One of the most vocal opponents to the law was the NAACP who strongly advocated against the recreational use legislation. Camila Landrum of the Detroit NAACP stated that the legalization bill, “supports the very issues that are harming our neighborhoods and killing our families.” 

However, the legislative process was not the only impediment that the recreational industry has faced. 79% of Michigan communities refuse to let any part of the recreational marijuana industry operate within their city limits. In addition, more than 1,300 communities will not allow the sale of marijuana in their cities.

The controversy between the voters and the local municipalities granting permits is going to be one that will likely end up in court.

Medical Marijuana gets a Serious Look in Australia

In Australia, a senator has launched a formal inquiry creating an investigative body known as the Community Affairs References Committee. The C.A.R.C. has a mandate to investigate various issues regarding medical marijuana patients’ access to cannabis.

The committee is charged with investigating issues such as the status of the domestically regulated medical cannabis industry, financial barriers to accessing medical cannabis treatments, the suitability of the pharmaceutical benefits in relation to the subsidizing of patient access to medical marijuana businesses and what if any regulatory overlap there is between government programs. The committee is set to report its findings on February 12th, 2020.

Asian Progress

Last year, Thailand became the first country in Southeast Asia to make medical marijuana available to its citizens. However, due to significant regulations and heavy fines for possession, the citizens of Thailand are advocating for legalization of marijuana across the board.

China has indicated interest in expanding marijuana cultivation for the international market. Currently, China criminalizes marijuana cultivation, possession, and consumption. However, industrial hemp has been a cash crop in China for centuries. Due to the recent federal deregulation of CBD and China’s enormous industrial hemp manufacturing, the country is poised to control a major share of the CBD market. As more countries decriminalize and legalize the medical and recreational use of marijuana, China may expand its production to meet the demand.

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