2017 Summary: As the year draws to a close, we look at what’s been going on around the world of cannabis.
At the beginning of the year, we saw Germany pass legislation to make cannabis legal for certain medical purposes. Severely ill patients will be able to access prescribed medical cannabis treatment. The new law went on to come into effect this March.
In February Ireland’s health minister Simon Harris announced Ireland would allow cannabis use for specific medical conditions. This has seen opposition and has been slow to come into practice. Harris said the compassionate access programme for medical cannabis will be available later on in the year, and so far 3 cases have had success now in Ireland in receiving medical cannabis products in the country.
In March the Cayman Islands held their first ever cannabis conference. Here campaigners argued that the Islands should grow and produce their own supply of medical cannabis products. Dr’s have been permitted to prescribe cannabis extracts and tinctures to patients since November last year. Currently the country imports it’s cannabis-based medicines
Also this month in Tunisia laws also changed to enable first-time cannabis offenders to avoid prison sentences.
Justin Trudeau, Canada’s prime minister unveils a bill that will allow the sale and use of recreational cannabis across the country. Canada legalised medical use back n 2001 and the new bill would allow recreational users to carry 30 grams of dried herb legally. Trudeau has promised these changes to come into effect originally in July 2018. Justin has recently confirmed everything is looking to plan still for the legislation to happen summer 2018.
German scientists discovered early signs cannabis could be used to treat dementia in elderly patients. Cannabis was seen to reverse the cognitive decline that comes with old age although further testing is still required.
In June Mexico passed a bill to legalise medical cannabis with president Enrique Pena Nieto changing to make cannabis more widely available for health and science purposes. This bill had previously been voted in Congress back in April with 371 votes in favour to 19 against.
Also this month in Greece the government announced it would adjust current laws to allow for medical use.
Catalonia passed laws enabling a network of cooperatives to overlook the legal cultivation and distribution of cannabis through the Cannabis Social club networks. The law got to parliament thanks to citizens providing 67,500 signatures in favour, far more than the 50,000 required to get the proposal debated.
In August South African couple Myrtle Clarke and Julian Stobbs, referred to by the press as the dagga couple (with dagga being a south african slang word for cannabis), campaigned to the court for changes to cannabis laws. the Dagga Couple has raised R823,000 (£48,000) through fundraising projects and donations from supporters in the country. The money is being used to pay for expert witnesses and other expenses, such as organising the country’s first Clinical Cannabis Convention, a meeting held August 5 to keep the public informed of the latest developments in cannabis policy and research.
The state is appealing against a finding in March‚ in the high court in Cape Town‚ that the cultivation and private use of dagga should be legalised‚ and in her affidavit to the ConCourt Clarke said she and Stobbs wanted to intervene in the interest of the public. The case is scheduled to be heard later in 2018..
In September Australian Senator Richard Di Natale introduced a bill to allow medical cannabis to be imported easier into the country. Australia legalised for medical reasons in 2016 but the government threatened suppliers with legal action if they imported goods. Natale said ” the government had defied the will of the senate and had no authority to do so”
In October Peruvian law makers voted overwhelmingly in favour to allow medical use of cannabis in Peru at a vote of 68 – 5.
In the UK on October 10th Cannabis patients gathered outside parliament to support Paul Flynn’s bill to allow patients access to medical cannabis within the UK. The bill was granted submission and is scheduled for another reading on 23rd February 2018.
Also in October and again in London Canna Tech, a business based conference was held. Scientists, investors and entrepreneurs gathered to discuss business opportunities legal medical cannabis products could bring should laws change.
In November the republic of Georgia decriminalised cannabis, stating it was unconstitutional to criminally prosecute someone for consuming cannabis.
In December, 8-year-old Ava Barry was granted special permission to use medical cannabis in Ireland. Ava returned to Ireland from the Netherlands where they had been forced to go last summer to find treatment for Ava who has a catastrophic form of epilepsy.
Ava’s parents had undergone a long campaign to reach this stage. Vera said ” We are delighted to have a normal boring Christmas” she also stated Ava ” now had her freedom back.”
Written by Aaron Nacci, owner of the Aztech Smoke Shop
There have probably been more positive stories this year that we didn’t cover, so what else should have made the list? Tweet us and have your say @ISMOKEMAG