Asia and Cannabis: Road to Cannabis Legalization

Asia and Cannabis: Road to legalization, marijuana, weed, pot
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First step to Decriminalising Cannabis in Asia

Cannabis reform appears to be making a move around the world, but there are still plenty of pockets where the proposal faces formidable opposition, particularly in Asia.

Recreational cannabis has been legal in Uruguay since 2013, the first complete legalization in the new age, and Canada since 2018. In the U.S., entertainment cannabis is legal in the District of Columbia and 11 states, beginning in 2012 with Colorado and Washington, and most recently with Michigan this week. Medical marijuana is legal in a variety of U.S. states and several other nations.

At this point,  as of March 2, it was reported that The International Narcotics Control Board (INCB), responsible for overseeing compliance with global opioid treaties, has acknowledged that it will need to damp down its hardline approach to cannabis control to stay relevant.

The Dea published its annual study on Thursday, and with the current administration in power, it now can respond to the rest of the country on the legalization of cannabis. When delivering the paper, President Cornelis P. de Joncheere claimed that, despite their generation, concerns must be raised regarding the importance of current treaties.

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Key issues concerning use

“In addition, he said that they do have some key issues with the caucuses that state parties will need to start looking into,” he said. “We must note that the conventions were formed 50 to 60 years ago.” He further added,  “Now is the perfect time to start rethinking the rules, such as the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Substances, which will be 60 next year.

The INCB has stated that national governments might continue to assume responsibility for implementing the treaties less stringently.”The political conventions provide federal states with the option of introducing alternate solutions to sentences, penalties and incarceration rates, including schooling, recovery or social reintegration,” de Joncheere mentioned.

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As for Asia, it has only 2.7% compared to the highest rate of use, in young people aged 15-16, is in Europe (13.9 percent), followed by the Americas (11.6 percent), Oceania (11.4 percent), Africa (6.6 percent).

That said, so far the first country to legalize cannabis use in any form in Southeast Asia is Thailand and it can be later recalled that earlier this year, equally restrictive South Korea has approved medicinal marijuana and other CBD drugs, but in that case, the substance would be tightly controlled and dispensed only in specific government-run facilities.

Malaysia and China's Cannabis Journey

Throughout Malaysia, where cannabis crimes have accounted for the highest number of executions for a long time, the death penalty has now been eliminated and the medicinal benefit of weed is being recognized by the government.

In July 2019, 19 international teachers and students in China were detained after being found positive for substance use in China’s eastern province of Jiangsu, contributing to a national uproar on Chinese social media, some calling for a ban on “unqualified” and “immoral” teachers from overseas.

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This incident accompanied a policy statement in 2018 that it will increase its anti-cannabis position by releasing a formal letter warning Chinese residents warning to prevent interaction with cannabis in view of the growing surge of leisure and medicinal cannabis legalization that has expanded through Canada and through many U.S. states.

The government then blamed these countries for the recent increase in opioids through their borders, identifying it as a “new liability to China.”

What's in store in the future?

Furthermore, the foreseeable future of the medical cannabis industry in Asia is encouraging and the country is hinting at further changes that will ensure legal stability and economic trust in the market. Take, for starters, Malaysia and the Philippines. Malaysia is poised to decriminalize certain types of cannabis possession – a big move forward for a nation that just a few years earlier enforced harsh death penalties on marijuana dealers. 
Recently, Malaysian Health Minister Dzulkefly Ahmad said that substance decriminalization “is also a crucial move towards a comprehensive substance strategy that places research and public safety before deterrence and imprisonment.”
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Last thoughts

In the end, specialists familiar with Asia said that the countries in the area are not expected to legalize recreational herb in next to no time.  But there are still hurdles ahead for medicinal use. For a fact, the expense of constructing the manufacturing and delivery system may be large and it may be a while until the commodity becomes completely adopted.

General tolerance of ‘legal cannabis usage could be sluggish in Asia, because cannabis usage rates are far smaller there than in North America, Australia, and the EU, and laws regarding the consumption of synthetic substances have historically been draconian,’ said Wayne Hall, Professor of Opioid Abuse at Queensland University.

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