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Top 10 News Stories on Cannabis Decriminalization

Top 10 News Stories on Cannabis Decriminalization
There is a pointed difference between legalization and decriminalization of cannabis. Decriminalization efforts center around social equity, reform, and progressive drug policy. While there are countless legitimate reasons to support the decriminalization of marijuana—advocates highlight the dismantling of injustices as a prime factor, as marijuana has been marked by decades of unjust enforcement, especially for people of color.  News stories highlight efforts for national reform, a shift towards more progressive drug policies, and the intricacies of approving such legislation in different states domestically and in other countries internationally.  Qredible provides industry-disrupting technology to aid in dismantling misunderstanding around cannabis and provide greater transparency for the cannabis and hemp industry.  Sign up to be notified about the Qredible for Consumers launch. Let’s dive in as we analyze decriminalization efforts across the globe.

New York Passes Historic Cannabis Decriminalization Bill

Joining several existing states in 2019, New York state decriminalized cannabis in small amounts. The new legislature reduced penalties for possession and expunged past convictions related to marijuana. The comprehensive package brought to the courts, which did not get passed, would have also fully legalized cannabis and supplied needed revenue for social programs related to drug use.

Canada Moves Closer to Cannabis Decriminalization Nationwide

In 2021, Canadian lawmakers introduced legislation aimed at decriminalizing cannabis possession and addressing social equity issues. The new legislation was motivated by a surge in overdose deaths throughout Canada, initiating a movement by mental health facilities to put pressure on the federal government to make changes. 

California Expands Cannabis Decriminalization Efforts

In 2022, California lawmakers proposed bills to further decriminalize cannabis and provide opportunities for those disproportionately affected by the war on drugs. The bills would further work to undo California’s history of cannabis prohibition, as legalization still remains far off. 

Mexico Supreme Court Rules Cannabis Decriminalization as a Fundamental Right

In 2021, Mexico’s Supreme Court declared cannabis decriminalization as a constitutional right, paving the way for possible nationwide reform. The push for decriminalization was motivated by efforts to lower drug-fueled cartel violence throughout the country. The passing of decriminalization laws follows Mexican court rulings in 2018, which made the prohibition of cannabis unconstitutional. Today, to access cannabis, Mexican citizens are required to apply for a permit from the Federal Commission for Protection against Health Risks, which operates as the country’s health regulator. 

New Jersey Enacts Historic Cannabis Decriminalization Law

In 2021, New Jersey passed legislation decriminalizing small amounts of cannabis, emphasizing a shift towards a more progressive drug policy. The new law decriminalized marijuana use and possession for anyone over 21. Establishing the decriminalization law in New Jersey sought to bring equity, economic opportunity, and safe use of marijuana. 

South Africa Takes Steps Towards Cannabis Decriminalization

In 2018, South Africa’s Parliament debated a bill that sought to decriminalize the personal use and cultivation of cannabis for adults. As a result, the Constitutional Court, South Africa’s highest court, ruled to legalize the use of cannabis by adults in private places and legalize the growing of marijuana. Following the ruling in South Africa, it remains illegal to use cannabis in public, as well as to sell or supply it.

Oregon Passes Bill to Decriminalize All Drugs, Including Cannabis 

In 2021, Oregon became the first state to decriminalize small amounts of all drugs, including cannabis, focusing on treatment rather than punishment; in addition to decriminalization, the intuitive expanded access to additional assistance, health services, and aid to drug users. With a focus on helping instead of punishment for drug users, while small amounts of drugs are decriminalized, possession of larger amounts can still result in criminal charges.

Illinois Expands Cannabis Decriminalization Efforts with New Legislation 

Illinois lawmakers introduced a bill to expand cannabis decriminalization, emphasizing social justice and equity within the industry. The passing of this legislation in 2016 made Illinois the 21st state to decriminalize marijuana, removing criminal penalties for possession of small amounts. The legislation also establishes a standard for driving, considered a concession by Illinois’ Republican governor for removing jail time for having 10 grams or less of marijuana. 

Spain Moves Closer to Nationwide Cannabis Decriminalization 

In 2014, Spain’s government considered a draft bill to decriminalize cannabis nationwide to regulate and control the market effectively. The greater objective of these bill discussions is to move toward total decriminalization of cannabis in Spain and create a clear regulatory framework for cannabis associations. 

Australia Considers Cannabis Decriminalization in New Legislative Proposal

Australian lawmakers reviewed a proposed bill that seeks to decriminalize cannabis possession for personal use, promoting a more health-oriented approach. Reports find that decriminalizing cannabis has the potential to save Australian taxpayers up to $850m a year. 

Cannabis Decriminalization: Forward Facing

Once deemed a gateway drug, the criminalization of marijuana has been largely misleading. When it comes to decriminalization, efforts seek to remove the gateway drug stigma and address the injustices around marijuana criminalization, particularly for people of color.  Steps to end the federal criminalization of marijuana means cannabis would remain illegal but initiate legal systems to obtain, possess, and use cannabis. Penalties for illegal use would also move from severe criminal charges to a range of more mild consequences, including civil fines, drug treatment, drug education, or no penalty at all. Concerns remain around cannabis decriminalization efforts, including reservations about FDA regulatory processes and routine testing for drugs sold.   Still, progressive advocates call for decriminalization as a necessary step to address deep-founded social inequities around drug use.  Offering safer cannabis, CBD, and hemp commerce, Qredible’s industry-disrupting technology increases trust and transparency to support both users and suppliers of cannabis. Sign up now to be notified when Qredible for consumers launches.

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