Cannabis culture has experienced an explosion in popularity in recent times. The highly versatile plant has taken an upward trajectory in overcoming prohibition, which has seen the plant historically outlawed on an international scale since the 1920’s. Why it is popular and what are the potential benefits for us here it the UK medicinally, economically and socially? What is it with this Ganja fever? Gaining widespread media attention as countries start to relinquish legislative control on the plant, we take a look at places where ‘pot’ is now becoming the norm and where cannabis based businesses are thriving.
The good ‘ol USA have been taking strides in the Ganja game since 2000, as 31 states across the US have passed legislation regarding cannabis in one form or another (medically, recreational). Whilst still federally illegal, through state held referendums the general public voted to pass laws legalising the medical sales for cannabis and more recently for recreational use. The industry in the US is expected to be worth over $20.2 billion dollars in sales by 2021. Some forecasts suspect worldwide spend on cannabis to be in the region $63.5 billion dollars by 2024.
And it’s not just the economy that is reaping the benefits. Research suggests that there has been a significant reduction in violent crime across several states that have legalised cannabis, that also lie close to the volatile border with Mexico.
Canada too have passed laws both medicinally and recreationally (October 2018), Economically, one such Canadian weed based company Canopy, floated on the Toronto stock exchange and within one day had sold 24 million shares, making the company worth $943 million. In May 2018, the company had a market valuation of just under $7.5 billion.
In addition, to the USA and Canada, countries across the world are steadily starting to either decriminalise or legalise this ancient plant. Closer to home and in Europe, cannabis in the Netherlands has been decriminalised since 1976, whilst Portugal decriminalised all drugs in 2001. Further cohorts who have either decriminalised or legalised cannabis for medicinal purposes include; Germany, Denmark, Luxembourg, Belgium, Georgia, Croatia, Finland, Czech Republic, Estonia, Greece, Poland, Norway, Romania and Israel.
July 2018 marked a significant milestone for the UK with regards to its understanding of cannabis as a medicinally beneficial substance when the governments Advisory Council on Misuse of Drugs concluded that cannabis medicines “of the appropriate medicinal standard should not be subjected to Schedule 1 requirements” and should be available for prescribing”. Laws are expected to be amended this autumn as a definition for ‘medical cannabis’ is fully understood and outlined by the powers that be.
With the UK known for the largest consumption of cannabis in Europe (if not the world per capita), we suspect that if, as a nation, we were to follow suit and decriminalise legalise cannabis at a recreational level, the taxable income may afford us the possibility to pay for a few things we need in order to support our countries infrastructure; the NHS, education, housing… the list is endless. The only Cannabis related product that is legal in the UK is the CBD oil which is extracted from hemp.