Home Opinion Featured Articles The World Is Legalizing: The Story of a Global Change

The World Is Legalizing: The Story of a Global Change

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cannabis
cannabis

Ghana has taken a significant step towards harnessing the industrial potential and medicinal advantages of cannabis these days. This offering the country a great chance to assume a leading role on the continent in this important. But also globally, the trend towards a liberal cannabis policy is unmistakable.

The liberalization of cannabis is far more than just a small trend from the United States. Modern countries worldwide are reorienting themselves on this issue, and the wave of liberalization is growing in Europe as well. After Portugal took the first steps in the early 2000s, Spain, Italy, and the Czech Republic quickly followed. Surprisingly, the Netherlands, which was considered the most liberal country in the world for decades, has been falling more and more behind and losing its pioneering role. Recently, Luxembourg legalized personal home growing of cannabis, and the next steps is already incoming.

In July 2023, the Swiss Supreme Court strengthened consumer rights and confirmed that quantities of cannabis below 10 grams cannot be confiscated by the police. Across the continent, there is an increasing movement towards legalization, even in bordering countries like Switzerland, which is not a member of the EU and is considered relatively conservative.

Also in Australia, there are significant developments, and there is already a debate of a cannabis tax, while Thailand, Uruguay, and Canada have already fully legalized it. In Africa, only one country has taken a major step towards a modern cannabis policy, South Africa. It is even more impressive and important to see that strong strides are now evident in Ghana.

 

Similarly, the situation is in Germany. Until now, the country has been known for a very restrictive cannabis policy and was considered one of the laggards in the European Union. However, this might soon change. Even the most important country in the EU appears to be on the verge of fully liberalizing cannabis. Currently, a law is in its final stages that will largely legalize private use. We had an exclusive interview with an expert on-site.

We talked to Chief Advisor and insider from the houses of Parliament in Berlin, the Bundestag, for his assessment of the situation.

Question: Mr. Seiter, what is currently the subject of the debate in case of the new cannabis law?

Michael P. Seiter: “The administration, along with the clear majority of parties, fundamentally agrees that liberalization is necessary. The main challenge lies in navigating EU laws and international agreements. Therefore, they have now agreed on 2 intermediate steps to reach this goal. This first step should at least set the right direction. The details are currently in debate. As it looks at the moment, there will indeed be some significant changes upcoming soon. Specifically, trading will remain illegal, but private cultivation of up to 3 plants will become legal. Also, there will be ‘social clubs.’ This move aims to dry up the black market, minimize risks in quality, protect consumers, and make legislation more liberal, modern, and open. Also, the economic and medical possibilities have been gradually recognized.”

Question: How likely do you think this law will come into effect, or do you expect further changes that cut off any relevant innovation in the end?

M.P. Seiter: “I guess the current draft of the law will not be dramatically weakened much more. Such a move would not be forgiven by many voters. All three leading parties had promised complete legalization before the election. Moreover, there is widespread approval within the other parties. Only some outsiders of the far-right party (AfD) are strongly against the idea. Among the established parties, six out of six parties have no or just in parts problems with the idea. At least four of the six parties are in favor of complete legalization, while the other two parties have mixed opinions about it. Approximately 70% to 90% of the representatives are in favor of liberalization. Due to these reasons, it is not expected that there will be significant compromises on this matter. Currently, one of the government parties (FDP) has even expressed a clear intention to make the current bill draft even more liberal. So, the odds are good this bill will become even a bit more progressive than it is right now.”

Question: So, do you believe it will definitely pass? What is your estimated timeframe?

M.P. Seiter: “You can never know for sure in cases like this. Laws always change during this process, and it will likely be the case here as well. However, the odds are high that there will be no fundamental changes anymore. The three governing parties wouldn’t do themselves any favors by making substantial concessions now. This would cause great dissatisfaction among many voters. A timeframe is hard to tell. If you ask for my personal estimation, I currently suspect it will come soon, within the next 5-12 months. Chance – about 90%.”

According to the expert from Berlin, Germany seems to be on the road to legalizing cannabis for sure. The upcoming law would allow personal cultivation of 3 female plants and carrying up to 25 grams of cannabis legally. This would be one of the most liberal Cannabis laws in the EU and would elevate Germany to a leading role in this matter. Clearly, it is an amazing development, especially considering Germany’s strong role within the EU. Then, a majority of the people in the European Union would live under a liberal cannabis law, comparable to the development of the last years in the USA. This could be a tipping point not just for the EU but for global change as well.

 

It seems that Ghana has taken the right path with its first move towards legalization and become a leading part of this global development. The economic and medical benefits are evident. In addition, cannabis will play an increasingly significant role in tourism and the investments sector in the upcoming years. It is, therefore, very encouraging to see that Ghana has seemingly recognized this and is taking the first important steps in this direction. This could lead to a crucial competitive advantage, being a pioneer in Africa along this topic. A good sign for Ghana and a good sign on the international stage.

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