Cannabis prohibition is a harmful public policy both inside and outside of the United States. Fortunately for two European nations, momentum for cannabis reform is picking up steam.
England’s top medical officer came out this week stating that cannabis has therapeutic benefits which provides a huge boost for medical cannabis efforts in the UK.
In Switzerland, the seven-member Federal Council announced plans to allow local governments to conduct studies on new ways to regulate cannabis.
Both countries are part of a growing movement in Europe to change outdated, harmful cannabis policies across the continent.
No European countries have legalized cannabis for adult-use yet, but every country that moves away from full prohibition helps build support for full legalization.
England moves closer to legalizing medical cannabis
Professor Dame Sally Davies, Chief Medical Officer for England and Chief Medical Adviser to the UK government conducted a study on cannabis therapeutic benefits.
The results of the study were released this week and what Professor Davies found was incredibly exciting.
Professor Davies concluded that ‘cannabis-based medicinal products should be moved out of a Schedule 1 classification.’
Schedule 1 classification is reserved for substances that are determined to have little or no therapeutic potential.
“There is clear evidence from highly respected and trusted research institutions that some cannabis-based medicinal products have therapeutic benefits for some medical conditions.” Davies said.
The effort to legalize medical cannabis now goes to the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs for review and a recommendation on a law change, with the review expected to conclude in 3 weeks.
Will Switzerland legalize cannabis for adult use?
Currently, in Switzerland sales of low THC cannabis is permitted. The cannabis has to contain less than 1% THC.
Switzerland also allows medical cannabis, but the program is limited with only an estimated 3,000 participants.
That could change with the newly proposed scientific pilot studies. The studies will involve different regulation models in different parts of the country with the hopes of finding one that works best.
It will be extremely interesting to see which models are proposed, which ones work, and why.
The results could create regulatory frameworks that could be used successfully across the globe.
How much does Canada’s legalization vote factor into global reform efforts?
Reform efforts have been underway in the UK, Switzerland, and many other countries, and those efforts are extremely commendable.
Momentum for reform has increased across the globe since Uruguay moved to legalize cannabis for adult use in 2013.
However, it seems to have increased dramatically this year with legalization occurring in Canada.
Canada already has a national medical cannabis regulatory model in place, and with adult-use coming soon, Canada is rapidly showing other nations that legalization works.
It’s quite possible that Switzerland (or another nation) could come up with a better model but regardless, Canada has really moved the needle for reform efforts worldwide.
The Green Flower team is hopeful that all nations get on the right side of history sooner rather than later!