Germany

The German coalition government has begun progressing plans to legalise recreational cannabis later this year.

German chancellor Olaf Scholz

The health ministry will start holding hearings on the subject this week, with more than 200 representatives from the medical and legal fields taking part, alongside government officials and international experts.

The commitment to legalise controlled sales of adult-use cannabis in licensed shops formed part of last year’s coalition deal between the three socially liberal parties that make up Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s government.

It said the legislation will ensure quality control while protecting young people, and agreed the “social effects” would be reviewed after four years.

Last month, health minister Karl Lauterbach said he planned to draw up draft legislation in the second half of 2022 following the hearings, which will be held throughout June 

Spain

The Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party has introduced a bill to legalise medicinal cannabis in the country.

If passed, the bill will allow patients to access medicinal cannabis in hospital pharmacies via a specialist prescription to treat conditions including chronic pain from multiple sclerosis, some forms of epilepsy, and chronic non-cancer pain.

Eventually, it would strengthen the role of the Spanish Agency of Medicines and Medical Devices, giving it powers to regulate medicinal cannabis and create a database of patients.

If approved, the bill is expected to become law by the end of the month.

Although Spain has decriminalised recreational cannabis for personal cultivation and use, it has yet to enact a medicinal cannabis law. 

Currently, only Epidiolex and Sativex can be prescribed for a restricted number of medical conditions and, while the production of medicinal cannabis for research and exports is allowed, it is not available as a treatment to the local population.

Oregon, US

Oregon is banning the sale of synthetic cannabinoids, including delta-8 THC, from July 1, blaming a lack of regulation for the decision.

Although the federal government has banned or temporarily banned synthetic cannabinoids like K2 or ‘spice’, others remain unregulated at the state level. Oregon is the first state to ban them.

Hemp and processing compliance specialist with the Oregon Liquor and Cannabis Commission (OLCC) Steven Crowley told The Oregonian: “We have testing for pesticides. We have testing for residual solvents from the extraction process. We don’t have any testing for any of the whole universe of chemical reagents that you could use to synthetically turn one cannabinoid into something else, or for any of the byproducts of that reaction.” 

According to Crowley, the influx of lab-made cannabinoids is related to a surplus of CBD. He added: “The people who had CBD on hand were looking for other ways that they could market it. People started working on different products that they could convert the CBD into. This is where you get the delta-8 THC products.”

Those selling synthetic cannabinoids will have to apply to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) if they want to keep their products on sale in the state. And after July 2023, approved synthetic products will only be sold at OLCC-sanctioned stores after rigorous testing and approval by the FDA.

Cannabis compnay Wyld, which sells gummies containing synthetic cannabinoid CBN, has filed a petition to stop the ban.

Colombia

Left-leaning Colombian presidential candidate Gustavo Petro has pledged to bolster the production of legal cannabis should he emerge victorious over rival candidate, construction magnate Rodolfo Hernandez, on June 19.

The pair are currently tied in the polls ahead of the vote to replace President Ivan Duque, who cannot run again.

Brazil 

Brazil’s Superior Court of Justice has given three patients permission to grow cannabis and extract its oil for pain relief in a move that could be applied nationally in similar cases.

Medicinal cannabis is currently restricted to imported goods in Brazil, with the country’s health ministry yet to approve home cultivation.

Last year, President Jair Bolsonaro said he disagreed with any authorisation for Brazilians to grow cannabis at home, regardless of its intended purpose.

Judge Rogério Schietti said the court acted because the government has failed to take a scientific position on the issue. Its decision follows recent protests in favour of medicinal cannabis in the country.

Kentucky, US

Democratic Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear has announced the members of the state’s Medical Cannabis Advisory Committee, a panel set up to help provide patients with access to the medicine.

Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear

Beshear appointed 17 initial members with experience in healthcare, opioid use disorders, law enforcement, criminal justice and medical advocacy. They will travel across the state to gauge the population’s views on medicinal cannabis, then report their findings to the governor.

Beshear said: “A poll suggests 90% of adults in Kentucky support the legalisation of medical cannabis, while at the same time, far too many people in our state who could benefit from it are hurting. It is simply time for something more to be done.

“I want to make sure every voice is heard as I assess executive action that could bring medical cannabis to the Commonwealth.”

In March, the House of Representatives passed a bill that would have legalised medicinal use for specific conditions and created a regulatory framework for its commercial production and sale. However, it stalled in the Senate, prompting Bashear to consider executive action.

Prior to launching Cannabiz, Martin was co-founder and CEO of Asia-Pac’s leading B2B media and marketing information brand Mumbrella, overseeing its sale to Diversified Communications in 2017. A journalist...