The cannabis industry is booming
Governments across the world are finally catching up with public opinion and starting to de-regulate the cannabis sector for both medicinal and consumer products. However, when you take a closer look, the picture is extremely complex.
Where in the world is cannabis legal?
At a national level, only Canada, Uruguay, South Africa, Georgia and Portugal have totally decriminalized their cannabis markets, joined by a selection of more liberal US states. Other US states, South American and European countries along with the likes of Australia, New Zealand and Thailand have a sliding scale of de-regulation. Some allow for medical cannabis products, others for the public to grow a limited number of plants or possess a small amount of end product.
In the United Kingdom we see just how messy things can get: the UK is the world’s largest exporter of medical cannabis, while doctors are unwilling to prescribe cannabis based products without further medical trials. GW Pharma (UK) has the license for a ground-breaking cannabis based epilepsy treatment – Epidiolex, while families trying to obtain cannabis oils for epilepsy sufferers can still be treated like criminals, or at least have it confiscated (as cannabis is technically still a Schedule B drug with a theoretical sentence of 5 years in prison!). However, CBD products with less than 0.2% THC are legal for sale. Confused? So are we!
Politically motivated cannabis laws
One of the reasons for the current global mess is that drug laws and specifically cannabis regulation has been politically rather than scientifically motivated. In the UK, the government consistently ignores advice from public officials, be they: police, social services or mental health professionals – with regard to cannabis regulation. This seems to be driven by a fear of contradicting previous statements, or more likely – appeasing the right-wing media and avoiding an adult debate.
At MBC we want to highlight the range of health and social benefits from a universally deregulated cannabis industry:
Cannabis derived products have been strongly linked with providing relief to the following conditions: insomnia, anxiety, depression, anti-inflammation & pain-relief, multiple sclerosis (MS), Parkinson’s & epilepsy – and now even pioneering cancer treatments are using cannabis molecules! What’s missing are gold-standard, double blind clinical trials to inform governments, health professionals and the general public about what they should be taking for each condition. Cannabis in non-addictive (unlike opioids), is well tolerated by the human body and in low THC formats has very limited side effects in comparison with other medications.
Incarceration has created a huge burden on the taxpayer (that’s you and me); cannabis prohibition in the US alone costs an estimated $20bn per year, while the annual ‘cost per prisoner’ in the UK is over £38,000. This is a huge and unnecessary waste of money, when we could be using tax revenues for social and environmental initiatives. A legalized and regulated cannabis industry could, in the United Kingdom alone, net as much as £3.5bn through taxation. This is a real opportunity to turn a massive loss into a massive win.
Small indoor grow-ops are extremely damaging to the environment due to the massive carbon footprint. A fully legalized and regulated industry will allow for optimal environmental production, which is a critical part of building green industries for the 21st century.
Tens of thousands (predominantly young, low-income men) languish in prisons for the non-violent crime of possession or small-scale distribution of cannabis. The personal, social and economic effects of this have been catastrophic to the fabric of societies the world over. Supporting progressive legislation could change the lives of millions.
Tens of thousands (of predominantly young, low-income men) languish in prisons for the non-violent crime of possession or small-scale distribution of cannabis. The personal, social and economic effects of this have been catastrophic to the fabric of societies the world over. Supporting progressive legislation could change the lives of millions.
Farmers, especially in developing countries, have also been deprived of a valuable cash crop that would help to provide sustainable economic activity. This can provide a huge range of benefits for poorer countries. We believe that creating sustainable jobs is a better solution for economic development than charity.
At MBC we are putting our money where our mouth is. A minimum of 10% of our profits will be allocated for the support of initiatives supporting cannabis deregulation.