Hello there, cannasseurs! As always, July has brought us a whirlwind of cannabis news from around the globe. Whether it’s groundbreaking legislation, innovative products, or compelling studies, we’ve got your need-to-know cannabis updates. So, get cozy, spark up some inspiration, and dive into the latest from the world of cannabis with us.
Canadian Government to Randomly Test Cannabis Products Nationwide
The Canadian government recently announced it will conduct random tests of authorized retailers’ cannabis products. The program is part of Canada’s Cannabis Data Gathering Program, which is included in the country’s cannabis laws.
According to the Canadian government, these random tests will “support Health Canada’s efforts to ensure that legal cannabis products available on the Canadian market meet the requirements set out in the act and the regulations. If the program identifies deficiencies with legal products they analyze, we’ll take appropriate compliance and enforcement actions to mitigate health and safety risks if necessary.”
Canada’s Regulatory Operations and Enforcement Branch Cannabis Laboratory will conduct the tests. Available information indicates authorities will examine the products’ THC and CBD levels, look for chemical or microbiological contaminants, and study any “specific analytes of interest.” Once the tests are complete, regulators will share their findings with the general public, law enforcement, and other interested government agencies.
Luxembourg Legalizes Possession, Cultivation of Cannabis
As of July 21, adults in Luxembourg can own and cultivate marijuana, albeit in small amounts.
According to a statement from Luxembourg’s Ministry of Justice, a cannabis legalization law passed in June 2023 went into effect on July 21. In 2021, the country’s ministers of justice and homeland security initially proposed the law, which allows adults to possess up to three grams of cannabis and grow four plants within their homes.
While the new law does allow adults to possess cannabis in limited quantities, people could still face stiff penalties if they break the law. Possessing more than three grams of cannabis carries a jail sentence of up to six months, and public consumption of cannabis products remains illegal.
Luxembourg is now the second country in the European Union to end cannabis prohibition. Malta legalized cannabis in 2021, and several other European countries are considering legalization measures in various forms.
German Health Ministry Releases Proposed Legalization Bill
Cannabis legalization is making its way into the heart of Europe. On July 5, Germany’s Ministry of Health unveiled a draft bill to regulate cannabis for personal use and home cultivation, as well as establish growers’ associations.
Under the proposed bill, adults aged 18 and older could possess up to 25 grams of cannabis and grow a maximum of three plants for personal use. However, strict regulations remain: consumption near minors and within a 200-meter radius of schools, youth facilities, and other designated areas during certain hours is forbidden.
The draft also establishes guidelines for cannabis growers’ associations, limiting membership to 500 and allowing each member to receive 25 grams per day or 50 grams per month, as well as a monthly quota of cannabis seeds or plant cuttings. Consumption within associations and advertising or sponsorship of their activities will remain prohibited.
Notably, the proposed legislation seeks to remove cannabis from the Narcotics Drugs Act. This move should grant the medical cannabis industry more leeway and improve patient access to medicinal cannabis.
Asian Tourists Flock to Thailand to Try Cannabis
Thailand has emerged as a pioneer in Asia’s cannabis scene after effectively legalizing marijuana last year. This move has triggered a surge in tourists from across the region keen to experience the once-forbidden leaf, despite the risk of potential legal consequences upon returning home.
The Asian continent is known for its strict drug laws, with many countries imposing severe penalties for drug offenses, including the death penalty for certain cannabis-related crimes. However, Thailand’s stance on marijuana diverges from its regional counterparts, attracting a wave of curiosity-driven visitors.
While several Asian countries, including Singapore and China, have issued warnings about possible legal repercussions for nationals consuming cannabis abroad, it has not deterred many from partaking in Thailand’s burgeoning weed scene. As a result, Thailand’s cannabis industry has grown rapidly, with nearly 6,000 licenses for cannabis-related businesses approved by February 2023.
UK Home Secretary Rips SNP’s Legalization Proposal
UK Home Secretary Suella Braverman has vehemently criticized the Scottish National Party’s (SNP) proposal to decriminalize drugs for personal use. The proposal also encompasses plans to establish safe consumption rooms and explore the regulated supply of drugs. However, Braverman asserted that such steps would cause “untold damage to our neighborhoods” and insisted that the UK government has “no intention” of decriminalizing illegal drug use.
Scotland’s Drug Minister, Elena Whitham, announced these proposals, but they have drawn criticism from several quarters, including from a spokesman for Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.
During a meeting with Scottish Social Justice Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville, Braverman doubled down on the Prime Minister’s condemnation of the proposal.
While Braverman urged the SNP to focus on improving health outcomes for Scottish people and combating drug deaths, a spokesman for Somerville expressed disappointment at the UK Government’s refusal to consider the proposals. They argued for treating drug misuse as a public health issue and criticized Westminster for being “out of touch with the general public.”
In 2020, Scotland recorded the highest rate of drug misuse deaths in the UK and Western Europe.
Ukraine Legalization Bill Passes First Reading in Parliament
Ukraine’s parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, has approved a draft law legalizing medical cannabis in its first reading. The bill, supported by 268 of the 405 deputies, now needs to go through a second reading, during which the bill might change. If Ukrainian lawmakers approve the bill on second reading, it will go to President Volodymyr Zelensky for his signature.
The draft law allows for the licensed cultivation of hemp for medical, industrial, and scientific purposes. These purposes include providing pain relief for Ukrainian war veterans with PTSD, cancer patients, and people with other serious diseases. Under the proposed law, the circulation of hemp would be under strict state control, with cannabis-based drugs only available to those with a doctor’s prescription. Zelensky has previously expressed support for the law, urging the legalization of cannabis-based medicines and the creation of a robust mental and physical rehabilitation system in Ukraine.