Former National Leaders Call For Global Cannabis Reform
Nick Clegg, the former Liberal Democratic leader, calls for legalization in the UK, following global trends
Citing the German and American cannabis market reforms, Nick Clegg, the former British Prime Minister, has now gone public with his support for cannabis legalization in the UK. In doing so, he is joining other public figures globally including four Nobel Laureates, in calling for a radical overhaul of not just British but global cannabis policy. Indeed, leaders from countries including New Zealand (former PM Helen Clark), Columbia (former president Juan Manuel Santos), Switzerland (Ruth Dreifuss, former president) and others have also added their voices of support in a new report called Time to End Prohibition.
Clegg’s comments come not only just after the momentous news that Germany’s new government will move forward on recreational reform as early as next year and as the UK unveils a new Ten-Year Strategy to combat drug crime and related issues that will target users and dealers with a hefty price tag of about $330 million.
Time For a Global Change
There is clearly a renewed call for such reforms now that Germany, Europe’s largest economy has announced a forward motion on the legalization topic as of next year.
Further, as the debate continues to escalate (including at the UN level), there is a clear trade-off emerging in policy approaches to reform. Many countries, now cash-strapped because of Covid, are looking at the cannabis sector to create economic development opportunities.
The UK, while behind other countries is unlikely to sit this one out for the long term. Starting with the fact that despite onerous cannabis policies, the UK is still a cannabis exporting country.
International vs. Sovereign Reform
For the last ten years, cannabis reform has been very much a sovereign discussion. However, with Europe now entering the fray on a regional level and multiple countries around the world putting at least medical reform on the front burner, the conversation has clearly shifted. Further, the Covid Pandemic has also clearly shown the industry is an essential one – and further one that so far, has proven to be, if not Pandemic Proof, growing despite the global health crisis.
It is undoubtedly easier for those out of office now to lead the call for political change – but as Germany has shown this is also beginning to shift – particularly as new governments come into power. Indeed, Germany is not the first coalition government to enter office on the promise of cannabis reform. See Luxembourg in 2018.
However, the fact that so many former leaders are now calling on those who replaced them to move the conversation forward is just another sign that the globe is moving in a green direction and will certainly not turn back.
The International Cannabis Business Conference returns to Europe in 2022! Stay tuned.