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Vicente LLP Federal and International Cannabis and Psychedelics Law and Policy Update: February 2024

Feb 20, 2024

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Welcome to the Vicente LLP Federal and International Cannabis and Psychedelics Law & Policy update! In this quarterly newsletter, we will share selected insights, news and events to keep you in the loop on global cannabis, hemp and psychedelics happenings.

Learn more about our federal and international law and policy services.  

International News & Insights

Germany's Coalition Government Reaches Final Deal On Marijuana Legalization Bill, With Vote Set For This Month

Germany's governing coalition has finalized a landmark cannabis legalization bill, paving the way for a February vote and potential April implementation. Adults will be allowed to possess and cultivate limited amounts for personal use, followed by licensed cannabis clubs starting in July. Read more.

Czech Republic Unveils Cannabis Legalization Plan Without Legal Market

The Czech Republic's proposed adult-use cannabis legalization, though introducing personal possession, home cultivation, and social clubs, lacks a legal market due to political and potential EU treaty conflicts. While the government advocates for regulated market control and revenue potential, concerns linger about black market profits, addiction costs, and legal hurdles. Read more.

Colombian Senate Shelves Marijuana Legalization Bill In Another Major Setback For Advocates

Colombian Senate abruptly halted debate on the adult-use marijuana legalization bill, stalling reform efforts despite previous momentum. Misinformation and political opposition are blamed, leaving the future of legal cannabis uncertain. Advocates must now address misinformation, garner broader support, and potentially restart the lengthy legislative process if legalization is to proceed. Read more.

Ukraine Lawmakers Vote to Legalize Medical Marijuana and Help Ease Stress from the War with Russia

Ukraine's parliament has approved legislation legalizing medical marijuana, aiming to provide treatment options for individuals suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) amid the ongoing conflict with Russia. The law, which takes effect in six months, also permits cannabis cultivation for scientific and industrial purposes. Read more.

Shops in 2 Dutch Cities Start Selling Legally Grown Cannabis in an Experiment to Regulate Pot Trade

Dutch cities Breda and Tilburg have begun selling legally grown cannabis in an experiment. This shift from illegally sourced products aims to regulate the trade, address quality concerns, and potentially pave the way for full legalization. Read more.

Australia Cited as 'World's Fastest-Growing Medical Market'

Industry reports and experts are hailing Australia as the world's fastest-growing medical cannabis market, boasting impressive expansion in 2023 and predicted to continue surging in 2024. PHCANN CEO Sasho Stefanovski and Prohibition Partners analyst Lawrence Purkiss attribute this boom to patient demand and supportive regulatory measures. They see Australia as not only the global leader in medical cannabis but also a promising contender for adult-use legalization. Read more.

Thailand Seeks Public Opinion on Draft to End Recreational Cannabis Use

After decriminalizing recreational cannabis use in 2021, Thailand is considering a policy reversal. A draft law, currently undergoing public consultation, proposes prohibiting recreational use while preserving its legality for medical and research purposes. Stakeholders have an opportunity to influence the final legislation through the public engagement process, as the outcome will depend on balancing public opinion, government priorities, and economic implications. Read more.

South African Lawmakers Approve Marijuana Legalization Bill Years After Court Deems Prohibition Unconstitutional

South Africa's Parliament has taken a decisive step towards marijuana legalization by approving a bill permitting adult possession and cultivation. This follows a 2018 Constitutional Court ruling deeming the prohibition unconstitutional. While the bill doesn't include specific possession limits or address commercialization, its passage aligns with the court's decision and reflects evolving public opinion. Read more.

Malta's First Legal Cannabis Club Begins Operating

Marking a significant step in its cannabis reform efforts, Malta officially launched its first legal cannabis club, KDD Society. Following its 2021 legalization, the club received an operating license last October and, after satisfying regulatory testing, has begun distributing cannabis to registered members. Operating under strict regulations for membership, purchase limits, and quality control, KDD Society attracted over 150 members within its first two days, suggesting potential for a growing regulated market. Read more.

Spain’s Medical Cannabis Law to Be Ready ‘In the Coming Months’ Says Health Minister

Spain's Health Minister, Mónica García Gómez, has pledged to finalize the long-awaited medical cannabis law "in the coming months," addressing previous delays. Reengaging with stakeholders and leveraging existing work aims to expedite progress. Despite delays, Spain already boasts a robust medical cannabis production sector. The finalized law is expected to solidify regulations, potentially improving patient access and ensuring quality standards. Read more.

Federal News & Insights

Moving Marijuana To Schedule III Would Not Violate International Treaties, Legal Opinion Says

A recent treaty memo co-authored by Vicente LLP challenges the DEA's claim that international treaties prevent rescheduling marijuana to Schedule III. HHS recommended this due to its accepted medical use, but the DEA cited treaty obligations as an obstacle. Lawyers state that the US can meet treaty requirements while rescheduling, citing the DEA's prior downgrading of CBD as an example. This opinion adds weight to the argument for rescheduling, potentially easing research restrictions and tax burdens for state-licensed cannabis businesses. However, the DEA still holds final authority on the matter. Read more.

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