30 November 2016

Thankyou for taking time to drop into Cannabis Law Journal to read some of the most active legal minds in the cannabis industry and their thoughts on the latest developments at a national and state level in the USA as well our writers from Australia, Canada, Costa Rica and Jamaica.

This last month has certainly proved to be another hair raiser on the roller coaster of cannabis legalization in the USA.

In California proposition 64 means that the world’s sixth largest economy is finally on the path of fully legalized recreational and medical marijuana.

Meanwhile nationwide we are looking at 28 /29 states considering some form of operating medical marijuana program by the end of 2017.

28-states-map

Source: ProCon.org

Yet, in the same breath, the elephant in the room is the incoming administration and some of President elect Trump’s nominations being placed in cabinet positions that could really cause the industry some serious headaches.

Everybody is aware of Senator Jeff Sessions (AL) views on cannabis. Will he start to act on them on becoming Attorney General?

For the industry to grow it also needs to engage the full spectrum of the medical community & industry.

Yet again a nomination for the incoming administration has seeded further doubts.  Tom Price (R-Georgia) tapped for Health and Human Services secretary has only very recently received a D rating from NORML because of his repeated voting against congressional measures to prevent the Department of Justice from interfering with state-legalized medical and recreational marijuana industries. He has also, on a number of occasions,  voted against measures that would allow Veterans Affairs doctors to recommend medical marijuana for veterans.

And there are still quite a number of appointments to come, from Agriculture to Veterans Affairs, Sarah Palin is a front runner for the latter!  These appointments when they come through should  give us a clearer image of which way the wind is blowing.

Meanwhile internationally the movement on discussing cannabis legalization has progressed far more rapidly than anyone might have thought in 2015.

Australia has a nigh on fully legalized environment for medical marijuana moving into 2017, although, being Australia the odds are stacked in the favor of the big end of town. Loren Wiener explores this in his piece  Global Media Ignoring New Australia Laws As Big Pharma Begins Moving in

Canada is having a few birth pains but if their regulatory environment is managed with a little common sense they will have a market that may well end up being as large as the US’s if there is pullback south of the border.

In Europe countries like the Netherlands, Denmark and Portugal are beginning to define and regulate in order to move away from the standard decriminalization model and instead towards a regulated industry.

Germany is also picking up the slack, Berlin and Bremen being two examples of cities that have decided that regulation is now the path to follow.

Even the UK, usually notoriously slow with adopting changes in this field, is having a conversation and under a Tory government too.

We’ve not yet mentioned discussions in Ireland, France, Spain, Italy and Croatia. All countries looking at regulating a medical marijuana market.

In South and Central America discussions and regulation in Mexico, Columbia, Costa Rica, Argentina, Chile and a non-commercial regulated environment in Uruguay illustrate a desire to create stability sooner rather than later.

Finally we’d like to mention the activity in the Caribbean. A number of these small and conservative nations are looking at cannabis use for medical, recreational and religious reasons. From Jamaica to Bermuda to the Cayman Islands.

We half wonder whether the latter two jurisdictions are looking at medical marijuana as an outside investment opportunity as a result of the kickback from the Mossack Fonseca debacle and the tightening of regulations on offshore financial centers.

I know one thing for certain.  If  I were the Bermudan Prime Minister i’d be praying for the new US Attorney General to come down on the industry like a ton of bricks so i might just have the opportunity capture a percentage of that VC heading towards California.

Whatever 2017 brings in the cannabis industry , it certainly won’t be dull and CLJ believes it’ll be a very busy one for cannabis lawyers and law firms in many jurisdictions worldwide.

Thankyou again for taking time to read the latest issue of the Cannabis Law Journal

Sean Hocking
Editor