People celebrate legalising weed in Canada.

People celebrate legalising weed in Canada.

By Chris Bovey

2018 was an interesting year for cannabis law reform, especially in the USA where it is gradually the land of red white and green. Things got off to a good start on the 1st January 2018, when California legalised the sale of recreational marijuana to adults.

The GDP of California is the 5th highest in it the world overtaking the UK after the Brexit vote and is more than 2.5 times the GDP of all previous legal recreational states put together, making it a game-changer.

Later in the year, became the tenth state to legalise marijuana after voters passed Proposition 1, making it the first Midwestern state to legalize the drug.

Map of States where weed is legal medicinally or recreationally in the USA.

States where weed is legal medicinally or recreationally in the USA.

Oklahoma, Missouri and Utah also passed initiatives to legalise medical cannabis, joining the many other states that already have medical cannabis laws on the books.

Ten states plus the capital, Washington D.C., have now legalized marijuana for recreational use for adults over the age of 21. And 33 states have legalized medical marijuana.

In the UK, despite some high-profile cases in the news of children who needed a cannabis-based medicine to treat life-threatening seizures, we have not been so lucky

Due to embarrassing media coverage, the British government promised a review of cannabis laws, but just like everything they touch, they managed to botch that up, with only very expensive medical-derived cannabis products been made available to a small number of patients to the tune of thousands of pounds on private prescription.

Home Secretary, Sajid Javid, changed the law to allow a handful of specialist doctors to prescribe medical cannabis and then when only when all other options have been exhausted.

Cannabis profits and dodgy links to the Tory Party.

The changes to the UK laws, in reality, give hardly anyone legal access to their medicine, even though the largest grow-op in Europe is in Norfolk headed by Paul Kenward, Managing Director of British Sugar and who is married to Tory prohibitionist drugs Minister, Victoria Atkins MP.

Mr Kenward’s skunk is supplied to GW Pharmaceuticals that the Prime Minister’s husband’s investment company has a 22% share in. Nearly all the weed they grow is for the foreign market, making the UK the world’s largest exporter of legal medical cannabis, despite the fact the British government have been lying to us for years claiming it has no medical value.

Apparently, according to the Tory goons in the Home Office cannabis in its raw form that can be cheaply grown in a cupboard upstairs is dangerous, yet cannabis grown and supplied by the spouses of our Prime Minister and her prhibitionist Drugs Minister becomes perfectly safe when it is put into a vastly over-priced corporate Big Phama packet.

So, cannabis only has therapeutic values when it makes an obscene profit for people with dodgy connections to the Conservative Party.

Two former leaders of the Conservative Party and Labour Party, William Hague and Ed Milliband have even came out in favour or legalising recreational cannabis. It’s a shame these politicians never say this when they are in a position to influence change in the law.

An attempt to legalise recreational cannabis in the UK by the Liberal Democrats was quickly voted down by the Conservatives.

The rest of the world has been luckier. In Canada, the Liberal government of Justin Trudeau officially legalised the sale of recreational pot at last October and the tiny Duchy of Luxembourg announced it is to be the first European Country to officially legalise cannabis. New Zealand has just effectively decriminalised medical weed and is to offer its electorate a referendum on the legalisation of recreational cannabis in 2020.

Even in south-east Asia, not known for their liberal approach to drugs, a few countries are modernising, South Korea has legalised medical cannabis, Thailand just voted to legalise medical cannabis as well as the painkilling herb kratom and neighbouring Malaysia is also considering law change.

2018 saw the usual cannabis protests, two of the biggest being London’s Hyde Park 420 Smokeout and Brighton’s Green Pride event. Both protestivals attracted record numbers, in part due to the good weather.

Other protests include the protest outside Parliament where people answered Paul Flynn MP’s call to come and break the law. Unfortunately, Bud Buddies’ Jeff Ditchfield and Callie Blackwell were arrested, since they hadn’t been informed by a couple of other Tory funded cannabis lobby groups that there was an allocated area on Parliament Green where people were told the authorities would leave them alone.

Jeff was arrested last week after he failed to appear at his Court Appearance, as they notified him by post to his address in Jamaica while he was in Europe even though he had specifically asked to be notified by email. The Courts did acknowledge the miscommunication and Jeff has opted for trial at Southwark Crown Court on 16th January 2016.

In conclusion, it’s been a good year for advocates of cannabis law reform. The World Health Organisation has taken its first steps to reschedule cannabis and the U.N. Secretary General, António Guterres, who decriminalised drugs when he was Prime Minister of Portugal, has called for harm reduction policies.

National priorities may differ, but the global community shares a common goal: to protect people’s security, health and wellbeing – UN Secretary-General

2019 should be an interesting year. We might well see a change of government, so we could see real change in the law in Britain, as soon as the Tories are out, as anybody with half a brain knows you will not get a fair legal weed market under the evil Conservatives.

Chris Bovey, writer and musician.

Chris Bovey is a businessman, writer, artist, musician and practical joker. He lives in Devon with his partner, two children and cat. You can follow him on Facebook or Twitter @ADHD_BadBoy.

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