Issues of CBD Legality 2019

Photo from: Wellcome Collection

Although measures have been taken in order to clarify the issues around CBD’s legality, there is still considerable uncertainty in most of the legal systems that approve it. What effect does the legalisation of CBD have on a society and the legislative bodies as a whole?

WHAT IS THE BASIS OF ITS ILLEGAL STATUS?

Back in the 19th century Victorian England (and in many more places), drugs which we now consider illegal, such as cocaine or opium, were legal. People consumed them often, and they were even sold in pharmacies as standard practice.

As years passed, there was a realisation that the benefits of their use were quite scarce compared to the problems derived from it. This quickly lead to the banning of thousands of substances, as well as the beginning of the Prohibition Period in the United States.

1914 Congress passed the Harrison Act, banning opiates and cocaine. Alcohol soon followed in 
1918.

We can assume that the illegality of any drug was caused by the fear of the potential damage it could cause to society.

However with medical advancement, we’ve discovered that there lie plenty of cures, and commercial solutions within CBD and hemp as a whole. 

CBD IN SOCIETY TODAY

As we all know, the two most important cannabinoids are CBD and THC

Public outrage occurs about the fact that the actual psychoactive component is THC and that CBD’s medical potential is undermined by its “evil brother.” THC should therefore be banned (if it is approached like any other psychoactive drug) separately to the marijuana plant, or CBD based medicines. 

This is contested with the fact that other drugs such as alcohol and tobacco are perfectly legal.

Alcohol and tobacco have no known health benefits, and cost the United States $60 Billion in 
excess medical fees. Yet it is more legal than CBD and Hemp is globally.

The truth is that CBD and THC are associated, both scientifically and culturally, to hemp/marijuana. This association between hemp, THC, CBD, and marijuana are fine lines that will require years of social engineering to overcome the boundaries of.

However recent legislation movements are causing the catalysation of awareness and acceptance. The state of Texas, for example, having legalised low-THC and CBD oil remedies in 2015.

WHAT IS CBD’S CURRENT  SITUATION AROUND THE GLOBE?

In the US

In 1970, Richard Nixon signed the Controlled Substances Act, in which Cannabis and Cannabis extracts (also known as concentrates) were illegal to possess, use, manufacture and distribute.

In 2018, something changed:

Legal hemp is about to enter the American scene in a big way. The 2018 Farm Bill, which includes language that legalizes hemp across the U.S., was signed into law this week by President Trump. The stroke of that pen unleashes a potential economic dynamo for American farmers.

Forbes
Legalised Cannabis United States | Bitneni

Photo from: Quartzy

The legalization of hemp has brought joy to many but has also created new problems. As a federal country, each state can pass its own, different, laws concerning CBD

There is a clear lack of understanding between the federal government and the individual states but most importantly, among the citizens. There have been reports of trouble derived from the actions of local authorities, which try to follow state laws that do not match the federal ‘type.’

Most states, though, have yet to change their laws to match the new federal rules, leaving local police and prosecutors in a quandary over what is legal and what is not.

The New York Times

In Europe

European Union | Bitneni

In February 2019, a new resolution passed by the European Parliament encouraged European countries to make cannabis accessible for medical purposes. The action was triggered by the WHO, which pledged in favour of CBD and medical marijuana. 

Forbes

Although it doesn’t go as far as encouraging the use of CBD derived products, it is a big step towards its recognition in the rest of the world. 

In this case, the debate is not about the legalization per se but about providing the necessary resources to carry out intensive and reliable research on the topic. This is a great step in the right direction, because it is precisely the lack of reliable data that makes CBD and medical marijuana not justifiably legal.

Some countries like Italy, the UK, Greece and Germany have legalized extracts that help with symptoms of different diseases like AIDS or Cancer. However, there is a lot of bureaucracy behind it and that makes these prescriptions very rare. Doctors don’t usually have the time to treat patients with medical marijuana.

The further legalization of CBD will help ease all the procedures involved and will surely increase the number of patients treated with medical marijuana.

WHAT DOES THE FUTURE OF CBD LEGALITY HOLD?

Cannabis Farm | Bitneni

The future of CBD is quite related to that of hemp and its industrial production. In fact, although hemp represents a big part of the agricultural production of some countries, especially in the US, it is CBD that fuels the interest in this specific plant. 

CBDinc

Keeping this in mind, we can assume that as long as there is a business opportunity around it, CBD will continue to be in an interesting position for states and its legislators. Sooner or later things are going to change around the globe and everything points to a beneficial change for CBD. 

Moreover, the interest behind CBD has been lead by significant medical research, proving it to be an adequate, if not substantive approach to rare and uncommon diseases. This is still a very seriously debated field, and will continue to have heated debate for some time.

Summing all arguments above, it seems like legislators are going to have a hard time voting against CBD’s legalization. It might happen in a few months or it might take longer, but there is no doubt that change is coming and the economy will certainly be ready for it.

SOME  ADDITIONAL THOUGHTS

While CBD is the main character in a fast-evolving world, we must not forget there are boundaries that must not be crossed by either prohibiting it or legalizing it. More specifically, in the health context, we must remember that there are some principles that need to be respected.

Beneficence — The ethical mandate for physicians to help their patients.
Respect for Autonomy — The ethical right of every patient to direct his or her own health 
choices.
Non-maleficence — The ethical mandate for physicians to avoid harm to their patients, or to 
maximize benefit relative to harm where some degree of harm is unavoidable.
Justice — The ethical consideration of distribution of health resources in light of relative 
scarcity, fairness, and equality.

This is just one example of the problems that legislators face when making decisions of this calibre, but there are many more.

If, by any chance, the legalization of CBD affects any of those principles we will find ourselves stuck in another dilemma which might postpone the resolution of the debate for another decade.