There’s no masking the fact that 2020 has been a tough year for many, but amongst all the lows brought about by the coronavirus pandemic, there has been one very significant high in the form of cannabis reform. A number of states, countries and regulatory bodies have embraced both medical and recreational pot over the past 12 months, and this wave of legalisation is expected to continue next year. Here’s a look at what’s in the pipeline for cannabis in 2021.
A New Approach To Cannabis in 2021
In December 2020, the United Nations finally recognised the medical benefits of marijuana, with member states voting to approve a recommendation by the World Health Organization to reschedule the plant. For sixty years, the UN’s official treaty on narcotic drugs has placed cannabis in a category alongside harmful substances like heroin, recommending that countries around the world apply the toughest measures to control its production, sale and use, while also advising against all medical applications.
Following this historic vote, however, the UN no longer opposes the medicinal use of cannabis. While this doesn’t directly affect the legal status of cannabis around the world, it is likely to remove barriers to research into the plant’s therapeutic effects while also encouraging individual nations to revise their cannabis laws. Argentina, for example, has already legalised weed in response to the UN’s new position.
Cannabis In The USA In 2021
The past 12 months have been huge for cannabis in America. Five states voted to decriminalise or legalise pot in November, meaning about a third of the population now has access to recreational cannabis, with many more living in states where medical cannabis is widely available. In addition, the House of Representatives voted in favour of the MORE Act, which would decriminalise cannabis at the federal level. While this bill didn’t end up making it through the Senate in time to become law, hopes are high for a number of significant steps forward for cannabis in 2021.
Incoming president Joe Biden has stated his support for federal decriminalisation, although whether or not he is able to achieve this will likely depend on which party controls the Senate. We should find out in the coming days who has won the two seats for the state of Georgia, ultimately deciding which party has the majority in the upper chamber.
Regardless of any changes at the federal level, another raft of states are expected to make steps towards legalising cannabis in 2021, with the likes of New York, Connecticut, Pennsylvania and New Mexico all looking like heading that way.
Cannabis In Mexico In 2021
Mexico is set to become the world’s largest legal cannabis market in 2021, after the Senate approved a landmark bill towards the end of last year. All that remains now is for the lower house of the Mexican Congress to ratify the new legislation, with this expected to occur some time in the spring.
The new law would allow for the possession of up to 28 grams at a time, while also enabling people to grow up to four plants at home. It is hoped that this will help to curtail the harms associated with the disastrous War on Drugs, which has resulted in unspeakable violence in Mexico as rival cartels compete for control of illegal trafficking routes.
Cannabis In Europe In 2021
While most European countries have been slow to legalise weed, a number of nations look like they could be about to take significant steps in the right direction. France, for instance, is set to begin a two-year medical cannabis trial, providing access to thousands of patients. The results of this pilot scheme will then be analysed in order to help direct the government’s longer-term cannabis policies.
In Spain, meanwhile, the left-wing party Podemos has repeated its intention to push for the regulation of cannabis in 2021. Podemos is currently part of a coalition government with the Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party (PSEO), which is important as it means that there is a strong pro-cannabis faction within the government.
Specifically, Podemos is prioritising the legal regulation of cannabis social clubs and medical cannabis in 2021, but is in favour of full legalisation of recreational cannabis in the long-term.
With question marks still looming over how the ongoing COVID pandemic will affect our lives in 2021, hope is growing that the coming 12 months will be better than the year just finished. And with so many advances being made in the realm of cannabis reform, there are plenty of reasons to be optimistic as we look ahead to the future.