Last Week in Weed (Issue 1)
This is a new blog series on TheSimpaLife.com that we will be releasing weekly that focuses on a few of the biggest cannabis news stories from the preceding week. We will attempt to collect and correlate the most important cannabis news from around the world into one handy easy to digest weekly blog.
In this inaugural blog, we will take a look at some of the news of the last month or so to catch up and lay a good foundation of knowledge moving forward in future issues of Last Week in Weed blogs. This week we’ll be looking at the removal of cannabis from schedule 4 of the Single Convention on narcotic drugs, The launch of Cancard, and Mexico’s plans to legalise cannabis.
United Nations removes cannabis from schedule 4 of 1961 Convention
The last few weeks have been historic in many ways but by far the biggest news is the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs marginally (27 – 25) voting to remove Cannabis from schedule 4 of the 1961 UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs (CND)
Cannabis does however still remain schedule 1 of the CND convention but its removal from schedule 4 will make researching and studying cannabis a lot less complex and far more commonplace. It should also make the attempts of various nations around the world to “legalise” cannabis a lot easier.
This change in classification is a long-overdue acceptance of what millions of people have known for decades. Cannabis has a plethora of medicinal benefits and a great deal of potential in the treatment and prevention of many conditions and diseases and can also be used to enhance the joy and pleasures of one’s life.
So while I applaud this decision, I cannot help but feel as though this will predominantly benefit the “big boys” and leave the little guy out to dry. Industry and investors will reap far more of the rewards than the individual consumer and cultivator. I fear that the continued criminalisation of cannabis consumers that do not fit into the maladaptive modern medical model is going to go down in history as one of the most mortifying mistakes of our times.
Since cannabis remains schedule 1, alongside cocaine and heroin – “substances with addictive properties that present a serious risk of abuse” the stigma and persecution of “recreational” consumers will remain while the “Medical Cannabis” community continues to gain evermore acceptance in today’s society.
The update to the 1961 convention does nothing about the scheduling of THC as schedule 2 and its double-bonded isomers and stereoisomers as schedule 1 under The Convention on Psychotropic Substances 1971. I suspect this will be the next convention that the industry will seek to change in the coming years. This would further allow for corporate dominance while the “recreational” grow your own consumer continues to be criminalised.
Cancard launches in the UK
The end of November saw the delayed launch of the Cancard system. A discretionary card that “legitimate medical users” can apply for to help protect them from prosecution for consuming “street weed” medicinally.
The project fronted by Carly Mayer (Carly’s Amnesty & UPA) hopes that its negotiations with the Police Federation will allow for officers to use their discretion when dealing with “legitimate medical users” who present the plastic holographic credit card sized card when stopped. The idea behind the scheme is that if they could afford it they would already have a prescription for “medical cannabis” and thus not be breaking the law by possessing it.
The system isn’t an attempt to stop criminalising individuals who choose to consume cannabis for medicinal purposes. It is simply trying to divert them from facing possession charges as cultivation, caregiving, and driving under the influence are not protected by the card.
Without a prescription, there is no legal protection for possessing raw cannabis for either “medicinal” or “recreational” cannabis, as they’re still in possession of a schedule 1 drug. The police may not arrest you if you have a Cancard but you are still very much a criminal in the eyes of the law as it stands today.
A prescription for “medical cannabis” means that the raw cannabis flowers provided by various clinics in the UK to some now 2,000+ consumers are exempt from being classified as schedule 1 but technically doesn’t fit in the newly created “medical cannabis” schedule 2 slot either.
The creation of the schedule for “medical cannabis” in 2018 created somewhat of a paradox in legal terms. The wording of the schedule makes it very clear that schedule 2 “medical cannabis” is to constitute a “cannabis-based product for medicinal use in humans”
In order to be classified as a “medical cannabis” product, the government requires that it “satisfy three requirements: It needs to be a preparation or product which contains cannabis, cannabis resin, cannabinol or a cannabinol derivative; It is produced for medicinal use in humans and; Is a medicinal product, or a substance or preparation for use as an ingredient of, or in the production of an ingredient of, a medicinal product” – Savid Javid
The above wording and the continued classification of raw cannabis as schedule 1 means that all raw cannabis possession for medicinal purposes is still illegal under the Misuse of drugs act 1971 as “recreational” cannabis. This in my opinion means that if a raw flower consumer with a prescription can have discretion then so should all consumers regardless of the context of their consumption.
Although I applaud this small step in theory, until I see it in action I cannot give a fair summation of the project. If the police play ball and actually cease targeting “medical” consumers then perhaps I could support such an endeavor. The question then is will the legitimate “medical cannabis” community/industry then support the development of a so-called “recreational” one?
Mexico set to “legalise” Cannabis
Mexico set to become the third country to “legalise” cannabis joining Canada and Uruguay. Although Canada is 4 times the size of Mexico its population density means that the North American nation would become the largest population to have legal access to cannabis – with 125 million people making up the world’s single largest cannabis marketplace.
Mexico has always been a drug corridor to the US, one of the world’s largest illicit drug markets. During alcohol prohibition, Mexican bootleggers would smuggle alcohol over the border to quench the tireless thirst of the United States population. After the relegalising of alcohol smugglers slowly began to change products. It was during the 1960s that the first wave of organised gangs started smuggling some serious weight across the border.
The country has been on the path to legalisation for sometime now as back in 2009 the country decriminalised possession of all drugs for personal consumption. This legislation change meant that you could possess 5 grams of raw cannabis flower or equivalent. For example, you could also possess up to 500mg of cocaine – with the limits applied to other drugs by the legislation being substantially lower.
Instead of facing a fine or prison an offender caught in possession would be advised to seek drug rehabilitation services, until the third occasion when the visit would become mandatory. Anything over these low thresholds would automatically be deemed a “small trafficking” offense regardless of any other evidence – potentially incurring a rather heavy prison sentence.
Then in 2018, the Mexican supreme court made two rulings that triggered a “binding precedent”. In Mexican law, if the supreme court votes the same way on any given subject five times it becomes a “binding precedent” that then becomes the precedent used by all Mexican judges. This effectively decriminalised cannabis in a similar fashion to Washington DC – as commercial sales were still prohibited but sharing was allowed.
The new legislation would allow all adults to purchase and possess up to an ounce (28grams) of raw flowers. The model also allows for personal cultivation of no more than 4 plants. There is still some finer detail to be worked out like whether or not the government deems it necessary to track homegrown.
Although there still remains several steps to be taken to federally legalise cannabis in Mexico, the bill has now been approved by the senate and the extended deadline of December 14th is about to pass. So barring any unforeseen events America will soon find itself firmly sandwiched between to legal countries – begging the question, how long till America goes federally legal?
The passing of this bill would be a huge step towards ending the bloody and barbaric war on drugs in Mexico – which has now claimed the lives of an estimated 120,000+ individuals.
I hope you enjoyed this first issue of Last Week in Weed, our new weekly news blog. If there are any stories you want us to highlight in future issues then please get in touch Info@TheSimpaLife.com