Recent Significant Changes in Marijuana Law You Want To Know
Most of the buzz out there describes 2020 as a difficult year. For marijuana, there were rough patches, wildfires, arrests in prohibited areas, and delays. However, there were prosperous times, new innovations, exports across international waters, and increasing market revenues. Governments enacted favorable laws to allow use, possession, and cultivation for medical reasons. There were so many wins for marijuana, but none were as determinative for the future of the industry as these three.
ECJ Rules CBD is NOT a Narcotic
In November 2020, the European Court of Justice issued a judgment stating CBD is not a narcotic. The ruling came as a result of a case coming out of France. A businessman was prosecuted due to his sale of CBD extract made from the entire plant. The extract was made in another EU member state with favourable laws.
“A Member State may not prohibit the marketing of cannabidiol (CBD) lawfully produced in another Member State when it is extracted from the Cannabis sativa plant in its entirety and not solely from its fibre and seeds.’ And that: ‘the provisions on the free movement of goods within the European Union (Articles 34 and 36 TFEU) are applicable since the CBD at issue in the main proceedings cannot be regarded as a ‘narcotic drug”.
According to the Court CBD of this kind is NOT a narcotic drug within the meaning of the United Nations 1961 Single Convention of Narcotic Drugs.
In addition, the ECJ ruled:
“CBD, extracted from the Cannabis sativa plant in its entirety, cannot be regarded as an agricultural product, unlike, for example, raw hemp.”
The exclusion of CBD extracted from the entire plant from agricultural products enables the “free movement” of CBD products of this kind within the EU so long its production occurred in a member state where it is legal to produce.
Now EU member states may not prevent the sale of CBD produced from the entire plant in another EU state where it is legal to produce. The ruling has opened new doors for CBD products in the EU, allowing them to be classified as food. Hello CBD gummies.
The UN Reclassifies
In late November, around the same time as the ECJ ruling on the French case, the United Nations member states voted to declassify marijuana. After nearly two years of deliberation, member states passed the measure with a vote of 27 to 25. Now, marijuana will be removed from Schedule IV of the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, where it sat alongside highly addictive and dangerous substances such as heroin.
Several UN member states were eager to get the vote passed. Reclassification of marijuana opens doors in countries in need of both medical treatment and a promising revenue from the cultivation, production, and exportation of the marijuana plant.
Ambassador Khan @ambmansoorkhan, @CND_tweets Chair, opens the 63rd reconvened session – starting with the voting on @WHO scheduling recommendations on cannabis and cannabis-related substances @UNODC @UN_Vienna. Webcast: https://bit.ly/3nZRh0a
What Happens as a Result?
The UN’s decision has no immediate or foreseeable implications when it comes to international controls on cannabis. Governments across the globe are still responsible for the cannabis laws in their own jurisdictions. However, the reclassification is a symbol of victory for cannabis supporters. It stikes down almost a century of international prohibitions on the beneficial plant.
No longer is the drug classified as a dangerous substance alongside heroin effectively dispelling old pot stigmas. The declassification from the most dangerous drugs category may even open new research opportunities and certainly lights the path for more legalization.
The MORE Act
Across the pond, in the U.S. the House of Representatives passed the MORE Act.
The Act, if enacted into law ends U.S. prohibition and criminalization of marijuana. While the states may still pass their own laws with respect to cannabis, under the U.S. constitution no state can pass any legislation that supersedes the federal law. In other words, states may not make possession of marijuana criminal if marijuana is legal at the federal level.
Before the prohibition on marijuana ends, the Act must be passed in the Senate. The MORE Act is sponsored in the Senate by Kamala Harris, the country’s newest Vice President. If the MORE Act is passed in the now liberal-dominated Senate it would completely remove marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act and authorize a 5% tax on marijuana to fund community programs and small business grant programs with the aim of helping those most impacted by the prejudiced war on drugs.
These three outcomes will shape the marijuana markets in the coming year and beyond. While I do believe these are three separate events, it’s difficult to discard the idea they were connected. Perhaps it is the developing nature of the cannabis markets to be international. Or perhaps it’s just coincidence. Whatever it is the timing is uncanny.