Written by Ashley Priest
Cannabis prohibition is coming to an end in many places throughout the world, allowing the doors to open for international trade.
Five countries are taking the lead: Israel, Canada, Australia, The Netherlands, and Uruguay.
Amsterdam has long been known for its cannabis cafés and semilegal cannabis market. What many people don’t realize is that the Office for Medicinal Cannabis Research (OMC) has the right to export and import cannabis, cannabis resin, and cannabis extracts under the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs. Through this, the OMC hopes to prevent cannabis products from reaching the black market.
To import or export cannabis products you must do so through the OMC. You must also obtain an exemption from the Opium Act. The OMC ensures that all required documentation is completed, and arranges transportation of cannabis-derived products for a fee.
Cannabis culture in The Netherlands is robust and rooted in history.Allowing for the international importation and exportation of cannabis will only continue to enable the country to maintain a leading role in the global cannabis sector.
Canada is patiently awaiting the arrival of an adult-use market to accompany its existing medical cannabis program, which has been in place since 2001. Some of the major names in Canadian cannabis, such as Tilray, have already begun to export cannabis products to pharmacies around the world.
Tilray provides products to companies in Chile, New Zealand, Brazil, Croatia, Germany, and others. Just recently they also made agreements with the state of Victoria in Australia to provide cannabis oil for the 29 children registered with severe epileptic conditions, according to Bricks + Mortar Cannabis, an insurance and real estate brokerage agency.
Uruguay was the first country in the world to decriminalize the possession and consumption of all drugs including cannabis. In 2013, Uruguay legalized cannabis sales, and in July of 2016, over a dozen pharmacies began selling cannabis, according to The Cannabist article, “Uruguay Setting Up Dedicated Cannabis Dispensaries After Banks Scare Off Pharmacies.”
Over a year later, however, the government announced that they would be making changes to the retail system. This announcement came after banks began to refuse to work with pharmacies who chose to take part in the retail network. According to Reuters, the law allows for the legal exportation of medical cannabis with a restriction that recreational cannabis can only be sold within the country.
In January 2018, The Health Minister of Australia, Greg Hunt, told Reuters that the goal of the Australian government is clear, they wish to “give farmers and producers the best shot at being the world’s number one exporter of medicinal cannabis.”
The legislation to allow for this includes a provision that states international sales and exports can only take place after the needs of local patients have been met. As stated above, Australia currently relies on the importation of cannabis oils from Canada to meet the needs of several children registered under their medical cannabis program.
Israel has long been known for their leading role in cannabis research, science, and testing. Raphael Mechoulam, an Israeli chemist and professor, played a vital role in isolating cannabinoids and in the discovery of the Endocannabinoid System. While Israel doesn’t currently allow for the exportation of cannabis, they are working on changing the laws surrounding it. It’s easy to see why, as the profit prediction for international exportation from Israel estimates the market to be close to $1.14 billion, reports The Times of Israel.
Unfortunately, however, a plan that would have done just this was halted in early 2018. According to The Times of Israel, the plan was supported by the Agriculture, Finance, and Health ministries but was frozen by Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, after he reportedly received a phone call from President Donald Trump regarding the matter.
International Cannabis Trade is Real
The legalization of cannabis is happening internationally, and the ability to trade cannabis with countries globally isn’t an opportunity that many will want to pass up. Cannabis has significant value, and one of the biggest benefits it offers aside from saving lives is its ability to bring people together from around the world.