This year was a big one from a cannabis perspective in terms of science, industry, and politics. Below is a round-up of the top global cannabis stories from 2023 (in no particular order):
CANNABIS HISTORY MADE IN SLOVENIA
Dr. Metka Paragi, the current Secretary for Health of the Slovenian Prime Minister’s cabinet, presented at the International Cannabis Business Conference in Bled, Slovenia in September. It was the first time in history that an incumbent at that level had ever presented at a global cannabis event.
CANG INTRODUCED IN GERMANY
The biggest story of 2023 was the introduction of Germany’s long-awaited legalization measure. While the measure did not receive full approval by the Bundestag in 2023, the measure’s formal introduction and approval by Germany’s Federal Cabinet was historic, adding to the overall momentum for reform across the European continent.
RAPHAEL MECHOULAM PASSES AWAY
The cannabis community lost a legend in 2023 when internationally renowned cannabis scientist, the ‘Godfather of Cannabis Science,’ Professor Raphael Mechoulam passed away in March. Mechoulam is credited with making some of the most significant scientific cannabis-based discoveries in human history.
JAPAN VOTES TO LIFT BAN ON CANNABIS-DERIVED MEDICATIONS
Both chambers of Japan’s parliament approved a measure in 2023 that lifted the nation’s ban on cannabis-derived medications. The measure is limited in scope, however, it creates a legal path for qualifying patients to obtain medical cannabis products.
LUXEMBOURG PASSES NATIONAL LEGALIZATION MEASURE
In mid-2023 lawmakers in Luxembourg approved a national adult-use legalization measure. The new law permits adults to cultivate up to 4 plants in their homes, as well as legally possess up to three grams of cannabis.
LEGALIZATION MOVES FORWARD IN SOUTH AFRICA
South Africa’s National Assembly approved an adult-use legalization measure this year. The measure is geared towards codifying a previous court decision from 2018 that struck down cannabis prohibition for individuals, and to boost the nation’s legal industry.
MEDICAL CANNABIS TRIAL EXTENDED IN FRANCE
The 2,540 suffering patients participating in a medical cannabis trial in France received good news in 2023. The safe access trial that they are participating in will be extended for at least another year.
HISTORIC MEASURE INTRODUCED IN AUSTRALIA
For the first time in Australia’s history, an adult-use cannabis legalization measure was introduced into the nation’s parliament. Greens Senator David Shoebridge introduced the ‘Legalising Cannabis Bill 2023’ which would permit the adult recreational use of cannabis across the country.
HEMP LEAVES NO LONGER A NOVEL FOOD IN THE EU
A European Commission working group removed hemp leaves as a Novel Food under EU law in 2023. The policy change permits the sale of hemp-infused tea and tea-like products in member states.
FIRST CANNABIS CLUBS LICENSED IN MALTA
Malta became the first European nation to pass a national legalization measure back in 2021. This year, the country issued its first round of licenses to noncommercial cannabis clubs.
ADVOCATES PUSH FOR HIGHER THC LIMITS IN CANADIAN EDIBLES
Roughly five years after Canada passed its adult-use legalization measure, the amount of THC that is allowed in edibles has remained very low. Advocates started a push in 2023 to raise the THC limit from 10mgs per unit to 100mgs per unit.
CANNABIS PILOT PROGRAMS LAUNCH IN THE NETHERLANDS
Limited adult-use cannabis commerce trials finally launched in the Netherlands in December after several delays. Cannabis trials were first proposed in the Netherlands in 2017 as part of a governing coalition agreement.
PILOT PROGRAMS EXPAND IN SWITZERLAND
Switzerland launched multiple adult-use cannabis pilot programs in 2023. The pilot programs permit consumers to make legal purchases from licensed retail outlets to help the national government collect local data regarding cannabis consumer purchasing habits.
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