South Korea Becomes the First Country in East Asia to Pass Legislation for Medical Cannabis
In an unexpected move last week, South Korea’s National Assembly approved the proposed amendments to the Narcotics Control Act, to allow for medical cannabis. This incredible turn of events is not only significant for the country itself, but it also marks a turning point in how the perception of the drug has changed globally, even in more conservative societies.
The details about the qualifying conditions and the procedure are the responsibility of the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety. Experts believe that regulations will be extremely tight, but even the law’s approval was a huge breakthrough in a country that’s not exactly open to drugs. In fact, many believed that South Korea would be the last -and certainly not the first- country in the area to approve the use of cannabis.
However, there is still some work to be done before the bill comes in power, as it has to be approved by the State Council, the cabinet and then the president. A spokesman for the MFDS said that the import of medical cannabis products could begin as soon as the first quarter of 2019, even though nothing’s set in stone just yet.
Industrial Hemp Legalization Included in the Farm Bill
After months of speculation, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and the top officials on the House Agriculture Committee confirmed that the 2018 Farm Bill will indeed include a regulation to legalize industrial hemp.
“Thanks for your hard work, Senator Pat Roberts, for our farmers, rural communities and all Americans. Pleased that my provision to legalize industrial hemp is included in the Farm Bill,” McConnell said in a Tweet last Thursday.
The Farm Bill is currently scored by the Congressional Budget Office and is expected to go up for a vote in both chambers of Congress. If all goes well, lawmakers are hoping to pass the bill in the next few weeks.
According to the amended Farm Bill, hemp will be legalized in its entirety, including seeds and extracts, as long as they contain less than 0.3% THC. The plant will also be removed from the Control Substances Act, opening the door to investors and cultivators. It is worth noting that hemp legalization was among the few aspects of the bill that enjoyed bipartisan support.
Marijuana to be Legalized in Michigan by Next Week
Michigan is going to be the next US state to legalize marijuana, as the Board of State Canvassers confirmed the results of the Midterm Elections. In the Nov. 6 election, Proposal 1 (the marijuana legalization initiative) passed with 56% and under state law, it will take effect in ten calendar days.
On December 6, adults over the age of 21 will be able to purchase and use cannabis both privately and in public. Michigan officials have a year to draft regulations for the state’s cannabis industry, by which time they will have to accept the first business license applications. Although the law is not yet in effect, some Michigan prosecutors have been dismissing minor marijuana cases since the results of the election were announced.
Luxembourg to Legalize Recreational Cannabis
The newly re-elected Prime Minister of Luxembourg Xavier Bettel announced a series of measures that will probably make him among the most likable political figures in Europe. Among other initiatives, such as the increase of minimum income and free transportation, the government announced the legalization of recreational cannabis. “When the country is doing well, people must benefit from it,” said Bettel in a press conference.
In doing so, Luxembourg will be the first country in Europe to implement a clear legalization policy. Even in the Netherlands, which for many years was the Mecca of the cannabis industry, cannabis exists in a legal maze, so this is a groundbreaking decision for the tiny nation of just over 500,000 inhabitants. Luxembourg’s larger neighbors (France, Germany, and Belgium) has not yet reacted to the decision.
Massachusetts Rakes In Over $2 Million in Pot Sales during First Week of Legalization
Just five days after recreational cannabis was legalized in Massachusetts, the two licensed dispensaries of the state made over $2 million in sales, according to the state’s Cannabis Control Commission. Legal sales in Massachusetts started Tuesday the 20th, with Black Friday being the busiest day (12,000 units of product sold, generating $480,000 in revenue).
One of the dispensaries in Leicester reportedly drew so much business, that city officials called an emergency meeting to alleviate traffic congestion in town. “We have cars outside of our house seven days a week,” said Gauthier. “We have no life, it’s like living in a fishbowl,” said Dawn Gauthier, a nearby resident.