Evaluation 2020: The liberalization frenzy that drastically modified the marijuana trade


2020 was a challenging year for many people, companies and industries. There’s no way around it. Basically, we all just want to forget about it and move on. For the marijuana industry, however, it was exactly the opposite.

The year turned out to be significant for drug liberalization. The winds of legalization and decriminalization that have blown at every level – from the United Nations to the US to Ghana – have changed and accelerated the marijuana industry significantly. To wrap up 2020, we’ve covered some of the key drug reforms of 2020. Let’s briefly summarize each of these events.

UN removes cannabis from the list of dangerous drugs

In the main development at the end of the year – in December 2020 – the United Nations classified cannabis as a less dangerous drug and voted to remove it from the list of the most dangerous narcotic drugs (Appendix IV of the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs 1961), which includes heroin and Cocaine.

This historic move will support marijuana research, medicinal uses, and legalization efforts around the world. It is believed that this long-belated and eagerly awaited decision was made on the recommendation of experts at the World Health Organization (WHO).

While this move will have no immediate impact, it will definitely serve as a catalyst for the legalization of medical use for many countries, using global conventions as a guide. In addition to the positive financial impact, reducing the dangers of cannabis can have the greatest impact on countries with conservative policies.

Fifteen states legalized recreational marijuana and 38 allowed medical marijuana

Drug reform was one of the most influential issues in the US election. On Election Day 2020, five more states – New Jersey, Arizona, Mississippi, South Dakota, and Montana – were added to the list of states that legalized marijuana. With this move, there are now 15 states plus Washington, DC that have legalized recreational marijuana.

The 2020 election also helped the number of states that have approved medical marijuana hit 38. In 38 states and Washington, DC, it is legal to buy and consume medicinal weed, although laws of ownership, distribution, and cultivation vary from state to state.

The reform winds in the US moved a month later in December through another historic step – for the decriminalization of marijuana at the federal level.

US House Votes to Decriminalize Marijuana at the Federal Level

In early December, US house lawmakers voted historically for the first time to decriminalize cannabis at the federal level. After the drug was listed as a “controlled substance” in 1970, Congress voted for the first time to end the federal ban.

Even after 15 states and districts of Columbia legalized recreational marijuana and over 35 states allowed the use of medicinal marijuana, the federal drug ban remains in place. This bill is believed to be a step forward in bringing federal laws into line with state laws.

If the bill goes through the republic-ruled Senate and goes into effect, the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act (MORE) will overturn previous convictions and release weed criminals from jail for offenses related to marijuana. The bill will also invest the 5% tax levied on cannabis products in communities hardest hit by criminalization laws.

Oregano becomes first state to decriminalize hard drugs for personal use

Drug reform in 2020

In November, Oregon became the first state to decriminalize all forms of drug use. Measure 110, an election initiative, was passed with more than 58% of the vote. This law allows the possession of heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine, and other hard drugs for personal use. Possession of any of these drugs is not considered a criminal offense in Oregon.

However, it is important to know that the law allows consumption, not sale. Selling is still illegal, but personal use is not. Oregon’s new decriminalization policy will also use tax revenue from cannabis sales to rehabilitate people with drug addictions and educate communities that are affected by federal laws.

Ghana decriminalized all drugs

Many African countries are opening up the lucrative marijuana market and legalizing and relaxing the cannabis laws on the continent. The newest name on the list is Ghana.

In March the government of Ghana passed the Narcotics Control Commission law. The bill allows the use and cultivation of marijuana for medical and industrial purposes. The bill also limits THC content to 0.3% in any hemp product – the same level allowed in the 2018 U.S. Agriculture Bill.

Before Ghana, another African country – Malawi – also legalized marijuana for medical purposes in February 2020. Another four African countries that have legalized medical marijuana are South Africa, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Lesotho.

In New Zealand, illegal drugs can be tested at festivals

In early December, the New Zealand government passed a law allowing companies to test illegal drugs at the festival and in town centers so that pill users know their strength and properties.

The law on drug and substance control was passed in parliament with a large majority. With the exception of the New Zealand National Party, all other parties, including the New Zealand Labor Party, ACT New Zealand, the Green Party, and the Maori Party, supported the law.

The drug control practice operated in New Zealand for years but was illegal and considered a criminal offense. With this bill, the drug testing service will become legal during the 2020-21 Summer Festival.

However, the possession of illegal drugs and substances by public members remains illegal and is considered a criminal offense.

In addition to these important developments, there is also good news from other countries and states.

Argentina, Switzerland, Thailand, Australia, Colombia and Israel have decriminalized the use of medical marijuana or recreational marijuana. In addition, the Vancouver City Council – Vancouver – unanimously voted to decriminalize drugs.

With all of this positive news, it’s no exaggeration to say that 2020 was an incredible year for the marijuana industry – we can certainly call it a year of drug liberalization! Let’s hope that the winds of liberalization and decriminalization will continue to blow worldwide in 2021.

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Beth Edmonds