The legalization of cannabis for medicinal use has been the subject of controversy worldwide for decades. Although in many countries the therapeutic use of cannabis is proving to be effective, there are still some countries that are reluctant to use medical cannabis. However, the last UN General Assembly on drugs, opened up the subject for a more favourable position regarding the medicinal use of the Cannabis Sativa L plant.
Within the framework of the United Nations Assembly, Canada announced its intention to legalize cannabis in 2017. With this decisions, it joins the lisst of countries that have already legalized cannabis. In America, Uruguay was the first country to pass the legislation to legalize marijuana for commercial and recreational purposes in 2013. It was was shortly followed by Colorado and Washington in 2014; now, 23 states have approved the medical use of cannabis.
The use of medical cannabis in Latin America
Mexico is also opening a debate on the legalization of cannabis. In fact, the government has a web platform for the national debate on marijuana and President Enrique Peña Nieto endorsed the regulation of medical marijuana at the UN Assembly on drugs last April. Columbia legalized the therapeutic use of marijuana by means of a decree. In May, the country became the fourth country in Latin America (after Uruguay, Peurto Rico and Chile) to legalise medical cannabis by approving a bill authorizing the cultivation and use of marijuana for medical and scientific purposes.
In the rest of Latin America cannabis is still illegal, although its consumption is decriminalized in Brazil, Argentina, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Mexico, Peru and Venezuela. Other countries have a more restrictive policy where the consumption of marijuana for recreational or therapeutic use is still illegal. This is the case for Bolivia, Cuba, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay and the Dominican Republic.
These are just a few of the cases that have changed their stance on the legalization of cannabis and have opened their doors to the medical use of marijuana plant. While policies which are favourable to cannabis are taking off in America, in Europe the situation is more diverse.
The regulation of medical cannabis in Europe
Since 2008, Germany has been granting licenses for cannabis for therapeutic purposes. However, in May, Germany gave the green light to a bill to regulate the medical use of cannabis for those who desperately need it. The new regulations will benefit those patients with chronic or terminal illnesses.
In the Netherlands the purchase and consumption of cannabis is authorized in small quantities through registered coffee shops, but the authorities want to regulate the supply from the coffee shops. In Copenhagen, Berlin and Cologne the local authorities are trying to promote the supply of marijuana based products in the forms of food supplements. Meanwhile in Spain and Switzerland the regional and local authorities want to allow the existence of Social Cannabis Clubs. In fact, San Sebastian is the first Spanish region that has regulated the use of cannabis clubs. The campaigns in favour of these types of social clubs have become increasingly popular in Belgium, Portugal, France and United Kingdom .
Medical cannabis in other countries.
Last December in Macedonia a bill was drafted to legalize cannabis therapy. The Macedonian government has now announced that they will approve the use of medical cannabis for those people suffering from serious diseases.
Little by little in different places across the world, countries that have previously been confined to the strict regulations surrounding marijuana are now passing legislation’s that will allow people with illnesses and diseases to use marijuana as a medication.