Current Legal Status of Cannabis Worldwide

source: Wikipedia


The legality of Cannabis for general or recreational use varies from country to country. Possession of Cannabis is illegal in most countries as a result of the agreement on Indian Hemp in the International Opium Convention, 1925, and the UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, 1961. However, many countries have decriminalized the possession of small quantities of Cannabis; see the full list at Wikipedia.


The History of Cannabis Criminalisation

Cannabis first became illegal in the UK, and most of the rest of the world, on 28th September 1928 when the 1925 Dangerous Drugs Act came into force. There were no British domestic reasons, no lobbying for or against prohibition, and no Parliamentary debates.


The Act controlling 'Indian Hemp and all resins and preparations based thereon' had been passed after Britain signed the 1925 Geneva International Convention on Narcotics Control, organised by the League of Nations. Asked what it was all about on a slow day in Parliament, a junior Home Office Minister explained that the Convention could not be ratified without an 'important but small' law being passed. 'What it does is include coca leaves under a former Act. They are the real basis of cocaine - we place them in the same category as raw opium.'


Cannabis itself was never mentioned aloud.


Respect State Marijuana Laws Act, 2015

To amend the Controlled Substances Act to provide for a new rule regarding the application of the Act to marihuana, and for other purposes. SEC. 710. RULE REGARDING APPLICATION TO MARIHUANA. “Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the provisions of this subchapter related to marihuana shall not apply to any person acting in compliance with State laws relating to the production, possession, distribution, dispensation, administration, or delivery of marihuana.”


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Compassionate Access Act, 2015

The Compassionate Access Act sets up a process to reschedule marijuana from its current position as a Schedule 1 drug under the Controlled Substances Act, which asserts the drug has no medical use and limits the ability of researchers to study the drug’s safety and effectiveness as a treatment.  The bill provides protections and access to patients, parents of minor children, other caretakers, pharmacies, producers, and testing labs in states where medical marijuana is legal when the treatment is prescribed by a physician.  The legislation also exempts CBD from the federal definition of marijuana in recognition of CBD’s unique ability to treat and prevent epileptic seizures, especially in children.


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US Supreme Court: Colorado's Brief in Opposition to Motion for Leave to File Complaint

Colorado’s voters, as well as those in nearly half the States, have made a policy decision to legalize and regulate marijuana at the state level. Marijuana-related activities, of course, remain illegal under federal law. Gonzales v. Raich, 545 U.S. 1 (2005); United States v. Oakland Cannabis Buyers’ Coop., 532 U.S. 483 (2001). But this case does not concern questions the Court settled a decade ago in Raich and Oakland Cannabis. No one contends that Colorado law trumps the federal marijuana ban or immunizes anyone from federal prosecution. Instead, the question here is whether a State that chooses to legalize marijuana is then prohibited from regulating the market for it.


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Compassionate Access, Research Expansion, and Respect States Act of 2015

To extend the principle of federalism to State drug policy, provide access to Medical Marijuana, and enable research into the medicinal properties of Marijuana:

  • Downgrade Cannabis from a Schedule 1 substance to Schedule 2, which allows doctors to prescribe it.
  • Remove low-THC, high-CBD Marijuana from the schedule altogether.
  • Remove federal penalties for production, possession and distribution of Medical Marijuana when State Laws are followed.
  • Facilitate Marijuana research.
  • Allow doctors at the Department of Veterans Affairs to prescribe Marijuana to veterans.
  • Prevent banks from rejecting Marijuana businesses.

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Texas: House Bill 3785 - Medical Cannabis for Debilitating Medical Conditions, 2015

A BILL TO BE ENTITLED AN ACT relating to authorizing the possession, use, cultivation, distribution, transportation, and delivery of cannabis for medical purposes; authorizing fees.


"Debilitating medical condition" means: cancer, glaucoma, acquired immune deficiency syndrome, infection with human immuno-deficiency virus (HIV), Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, agitation of Alzheimer’s disease, or post-traumatic stress disorder; a chronic medical condition that produces, or the treatment of a chronic medical condition that produces: cachexia or wasting syndrome; severe pain; severe nausea; seizures, including those characteristic of epilepsy; or severe and persistent muscle spasms, including those characteristic of multiple sclerosis; or any other medical condition or symptoms caused by the treatment of a medical condition approved as a debilitating medical condition by department rule.


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Rhode Island: Marijuana Regulation, Control, and Taxation Act of 2015

The general assembly hereby finds and declares that:


(1) Prohibiting the cultivation and sale of marijuana to adults has proven to be ineffective, unfair, and costly policy for the state of Rhode Island. In the absence of a legal, tightly regulated market, an illicit marijuana industry has thrived, undermining the public health and safety of Rhode Islanders.


(2) Virtually every objective, scientific study has found marijuana to be less harmful to the consumer and society than alcohol. There is no evidence that marijuana use contributes to criminality or violence, but the policy of marijuana prohibition, which leaves criminals in control of the market, does.

(3) Colorado, Washington, Oregon, and Alaska have each enacted measures to regulate marijuana in a manner similar to alcohol. These states have chosen to replace illegal marijuana dealers with legitimate, tax-paying businesses.

(4) In Colorado, after more than a year of allowing licensed retail stores to sell small amounts of marijuana to adults, there is little evidence that regulating marijuana like alcohol has caused any significant, adverse social harms. Colorado is as healthy and safe today as it was before enacting laws to regulate and tax marijuana.

(5) Recognizing that a majority of Rhode Islanders support ending the failed policy of marijuana prohibition, Rhode Island joins Colorado and other states in replacing marijuana prohibition with regulation and taxation.


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Massachusetts: Bill to Legalize, Tax, and Regulate Recreational Use of Marijuana, 2015

Acknowledging that a century of criminal prohibition has failed to stop the production, distribution and use of marijuana, and that sustained enforcement efforts reasonably cannot be expected to accomplish that aim; and

Determined to protect the public health and the public safety, to eliminate the black market in marijuana by licensing sufficient legal retail outlets and allowing marijuana producers to participate within a lawful system of production and distribution, and to reasonably suppress the availability of marijuana to persons under the age of 21; and …


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New York: An Act in relation to Medical Use of Marihuana, 2014

An Act to amend the public health law, the tax law, the state finance law, the general business law, the penal law and the criminal procedure law, in relation to medical use of marihuana; and providing for the repeal of such provisions upon expiration thereof.


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