How Do The Most Powerful Economies In The World Like Their Cannabis, Legal, Illegal Or Medically Approved? Read More To Find Out!
What are the G7 Countries?
The Group of Seven (G7) is an international intergovernmental organization which has a specific focus on economic growth of the world. It comprises of the seven most powerful economies of the world. The IMF describes member countries as advanced economies which regulate a lot of the global money. They set trends and the rest of the countries follow. Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States; between 1998 and 2014, the group also had Russia and was known as the Group of Eight, and had for a year been known as the Group of Six after Russia was removed. In 1976 Canada was included and it became the Group of Seven (G7).
As of 2018, the seven countries involved represent 58% of the global net wealth ($317 trillion) and more than 46% of the global gross domestic product (GDP) based on nominal values, and more than 32% of the global GDP based on purchasing power parity.
Now that the facts are out of the way, what exactly do they mean? Imagine this, if all the world’s wealth was included from different countries, these countries together would own more than 50% of that wealth. In the current situation they can be dubbed as the trendsetters in the economy and powerful in terms of stature and immense wealth. They set trends which the other countries follow and their policies have major effect on the way other countries do them business. For instance, if America was to change its law of trade in a certain facet while doing business in the Middle East, it would have a huge effect on the economy of the Middle East. The countries have strong economies and stringent economic policies which help them maintain their place in the G7 of the world.
So what happens when the strongest economies in the world are faced with the age old riddle? They see a potential business opportunity like the cannabis industry- they see the social stigma attached to it and the reprehension that users have faced in the past- they are faced with the ultimate question, should it be legalized or not? Let’s find out where each G7 state stands when it comes to the cannabis industry and its many offerings.
Canada: When it comes to people Canada is known to be home to the friendliest and ‘nicest’ of people. They are universally adored and admired because of their inherent politeness. Canada is also one of the countries with the largest consumption of cannabis and its recreational use. It is the only country from the G7 which has legalised cannabis at a nationwide level as of October 27th, 2018. Now Canadians should be able to buy cannabis, cannabis oil and seeds from local licensed produces and retail stores. A fun fact is after legalization, Canadian cannabis pharmacies out sold their organic food chain, Wholesome Foods.
What caused this governmental policy was the fact that the cannabis black market was booming and thriving in Canada, in 2017 Canadians spent an estimated £3.5bn on medicinal and recreational use- this amounts to almost 910 pounds!
This amounts to huge sums of money in the cannabis black market which the government could not regulate. They had two options, either they could make the drug legal and regulate usage while taxing it or they could increase implications to try to ban the industry for good. Canada did the smart thing and they legalised the drug nationwide. After this they laid down certain laws which anyone using cannabis needs to abide by, Outlets are restricted to selling fresh or dried cannabis, seeds, plants and oil however, so baked infused with cannabis are still illegal. It is illegal to possess more than 30 grams of cannabis in public, grow more than four plants per household or buy from an unlicensed dealer. Anyone caught selling the drug to a minor could be jailed for up to 14 years. Provinces will dictate where a person can consume cannabis so residents and locals have the final call in localities.
Canada has managed to make billions from the legalisation, what’s more is that they have placed themselves in the forefront of medical cannabis research and interventions happening all over the world. With the legalisation they have professionals wanting to study and develop careers in the industry. Many have dubbed medical marijuana the next up and coming field in Canada!
Japan: Japan’s take on cannabis is a polar opposite to its fellow G7 country, Canada. In Japan, cannabis is deemed an illegal drug and possession is considered crime. It is punishable by up to 5 years in prison and a fine of almost $17000. If found using cannabis for commercial purposes the jail time could increase to 10 years.
According to National Police Agency data, 3,578 cannabis-related cases were recorded in 2018, increased by 507 cases from the year before. Eighty percent of the individuals arrested were suspected of possession and the rest were suspected of harvesting the crop for commercial purposes. What’s interesting is the demographic of the individuals being held in jails. They are all young adults ranging from the age bracket of 20-30 years. With the exposure provided through social media and the global culture portrayed through it, the youth in Japan also want a taste of what the rest of the world is having!
Japan however prides itself on its strong value system and stringent policies when it comes to drugs. The lawmakers would much rather try to curb the cannabis industry rather than partake in kind of activities involving drugs.
Italy: Cannabis is ‘technically’ legal in Italy, you can find it in local dispensaries but the Italians have gone about the legalisation in a clever way. It is a form of cannabis allowed so that local hemp farmers and their businesses could be supported by the government. Italy being a big time producer of the crop at one time and now with the cannabis added edge it is an encouragement for farmers to grow and reap benefits from it.
Do bear in mind though that Italian cannabis is very light, with lesser than 0.5% THC content it won’t be the strongest high. Hence Italy’s stance is not very strict or anti cannabis, they just have regulations in place for a certain kind to be produced and available easily.
Germany: Cannabis is illegal in Germany but there many loopholes in the law which bans cannabis. For starters, cannabis is described as an Appendix III drug, which means it hasn’t been dubbed too dangerous for consumption or recreation by the government. In contrast to LSD and heroine which are strictly prohibited and fall under Appendix I drug categories.
Even though in Germany, cannabis falls under a comparatively less serious category of drugs, the law prohibits the growing, sale and distribution of it due to its effect on the brain, particularly regarding addiction. There is however no clarity on the punishment if one would face if one is found consuming cannabis.
According to a study conducted in 2018 about the cannabis consumption habits of Germans it was found that nearly 18 % of 18 to 25-year-old German youngsters had smoked pot at least once over the course of the past year. Around 5% reported using the drug regularly. It must be noted that medical cannabis is legal in Germany and the drug being used for recreational purposes is banned.
There is talk of legalizing cannabis in Germany and the parliament is not entirely opposed to the idea- particularly due to the growing black market. When the legislation takes place is a question that remains unanswered but as of now Germany’s stance on cannabis is not a very friendly one.
France: France for many epitomizes the feeling of love. It is the place where smoking is not considered taboo and food and wine are intricately intertwined as the social fabric of the country. France has recently given the green light of legalization of cannabis for two years- but only if usage is prescribed by the doctors.
If trends are to be studied then in no way does the French government support the local cannabis consumption for recreational purposes. The medical cannabis might also be imported for the initial few years before they start growing their own and it is considered criminal activity to grow and sell cannabis privately in the country.
United Kingdom: It must be duly noted that the UK has been home to some of the most notorious cannabis smokers in the world. Being the creator of rock and roll the drug has made its rounds in the UK quiet openly in the past but it has never been accepted as part of the country’s main stream fabric. Thus it is no surprise that cannabis to date remains illegal in the United Kingdom. It is now allowed to grow, distribute, possess or sell cannabis in the UK without facing at least 5 years in prison and an unlimited fine. If the gravity of a case is considered high then the convict might face both charges.
It has been dubbed a class B drug and if caught supplying or producing it one risks around 14 years of jail time with unlimited fine. It is completely illegal to consume cannabis in the UK even on your own property. If neighbors suspect that someone is smoking cannabis in their vicinity they are encouraged to call the police and notify them.
Prosecution rates for cannabis possession are as low as 15% in Cornwall and Devon, while Durham Police have said they will no longer target recreational users at all.
Cannabis is extremely popular amongst the youth and among those aged between 16 and 24 there is a 15.8% population which consumes it daily! Still it doesn’t seem as though laws are looking to change any time in the UK when it comes to cannabis consumption. Medical usage is allowed and strictly regulated and recreational consumption is absolutely prohibited.
United States of America: Legalisation of cannabis is at its most interesting stages in the USA. In certain states such as California and Illinois, cannabis is legal for recreational purposes and is consumed openly and freely. The cultivation is taxed and so is the selling which ensures that these states are well on their way towards contributing to the overall economy through substantiating the cannabis industry.
In certain states there are degrees being introduced where cannabis management, growth and selling are being taught as a mainstream undergrad course. Due to the sheer size of the country and the number of states it has it is difficult to place a census on each state and it’s feeling towards cannabis but as far as an economic standpoint, state are legalizing the drug even for recreational purposes to reap benefits through it. Laws differ from state to state I terms of possession, cultivating and selling the drug.
Overall in the G7 countries, there is no set pattern when it comes to the cannabis industry, while some countries have an extremely futuristic approach when it comes to cannabis others still possess very orthodox opinions on the matter.
It will take time to change the attitudes and opens but the fact of the matter remains, cannabis is being consumed in all these countries, legally or illegally. Countries like Canada have jumped on the bandwagon of making it legal to regulate and tax production and selling while in countries like Germany and Japan the laws are very restricting.
Most countries allow legal usage for the drug medically though which means research in these countries will be on going to discover more miraculous medical benefit of the cannabis plant. Wouldn’t be wrong to say though that the G7 are not entirely unanimous on their cannabis policies and while some still wage war on drugs, some are playing for the ‘other side’!