What a year its been for Cannabis/CBD reform! Heres how it has played out……

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Well it’s certainly been a big year for the Cannabis Industry and for, what some consider to be, antiquated laws surrounding Cannabis and CBD.

Whilst the UK CBD industry will still have to contend with the FSA requirements to gain a Novel Foods license to sell products from March 2021* there have been substantial steps forward for the industry as a whole.

As the illustration outlines above there have been some momentous decisions crammed into the last quarter of 2020.

The New Zealand Referendum on making recreational Cannabis use legal (Oct 17th)

Back on October the 17th the citizens of New Zealand were given the opportunity to vote on whether they wanted to legalise Cannabis use for recreational purposes. The government provided the Citizens with a balanced argument for both sides of this debate in the form of a website.

Sadly New Zealand has voted no to legalising cannabis, but it was close: 48.4% voted in support of the Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill and 50.7% voted against. The mere fact that a countries politicians put it to the public vote and gave their citizens a chance to vote on this highly contentious point of law is a huge step forward. The Prime Minister even made it clear that she would have voted yes. 

Bi-den his time to seek reform – the US election!

Biden had always been a great advocate for the ‘War On Drugs’ and in his early career had been outspoken about it however his opinion started to change, in the years leading up to this election, and one of his electoral promises was to decriminalise Cannabis and ex-punge the records of those people caught in possession of this ‘drug’.

On the date of the election (Nov 2nd) 5 states voted to legalise Cannabis for recreational use and Oregon also went the way of Portugal and decriminalised all drugs allowing for treatment with Psychedelics to become an option for those with depression, PTSD and Anxiety.

Then on the 4th of December Biden was true to his word and put the decriminalisation of Cannabis to the House of Representatives and this was passed by a majority of 228-to-164. Although it is argued that this won’t mean much as it is unlikely to pass in a Senate vote – but for those with criminal convictions for possession etc this means their records with be expunged and many thousands of citizens will get a second chance to move on with their lives. Only time will tell if the US are willing to legalise Cannabis at a federal level.

Why was the European Court of Justice ruling so important? – 19th November

This ruling was more important for CBD than Cannabis specifically however it was a key ruling that CBD is not deemed to be a narcotic and is not scientifically proven to be harmful to humans. This was a landmark case involving a vape company however it has wider implications for the whole CBD industry and we all breathed a sigh of relief at Canni Family HQ.

The UN voted to reschedule Cannabis based on the WHO recommendations

Probably the most important of all these key changes that have been made in relation to Cannabis is the UN acknowledgement that it has a Medical benefit and is not harmful to humans, in the same way Heroin is and it was therefore removed from schedule I. 

This vote will now legitimise other countries decisions to consider legalising Cannabis but the true impact of this vote won’t be know for a while however it is a clear indication that the 60 year old stigma is starting to decline and more people will have access to the plant without the fear of criminalisation as a result.

What will 2021 hold for the Cannabis and CBD industry?

Well in the UK all CBD suppliers will be required to have applied for a Novel Foods license for the FSA by March. You can read more about this in our recent blog entitled Will I be able to buy CBD from April 2021?

In terms of further legalisation for the medical and recreational use of Cannabis we are seeing many more countries reviewing the evidence and recognising the financial/taxation opportunities the Cannabis industry brings. Plus all countries are now seeing the true extent of the economic impact of Covid and will  countries be looking to plug the gap – and with this mind Cannabis is clearly a contender!

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