An Overview of the Year's Highlights in Cannabis Science, Industry and Policy
This year has been significant for cannabis, scientifically, industrially and politically. Here's a recap of the top global cannabis stories in 2023.
HISTORY OF CANNABIS WRITTEN IN SLOVENIA
Dr. Metka Paragi, current Secretary of Health in the Slovenian Prime Minister's Office, presented to the International Cannabis Business Conference in Bled, in Slovenia, in September. It was the first time in history that a holder of this level spoke at a global cannabis event.
CANG INTRODUCED IN GERMANY
The biggest story of 2023 was the introduction of the long-awaited legalization measure in Germany. Although the measure did not receive full approval from the Bundestag in 2023, its formal introduction and approval by the German Federal Cabinet were historic, reinforcing the overall momentum for reform on the European continent.
DEATH OF RAPHAEL MECHOULAM
The cannabis community lost a legend in 2023 when internationally renowned cannabis scientist, the “Godfather of Cannabis Science,” Professor Raphael Mechoulam, died in March. Mechoulam is credited with some of the most significant scientific discoveries in human history related to cannabis.
JAPAN VOTES TO LIFT BAN ON CANNABIS-DERIVED MEDICINE
Both houses of Japan's parliament have approved a measure in 2023 lifting a nationwide ban on cannabis-derived medicines. Although the measure is limited, it creates a legal avenue for patients eligible people obtain medical cannabis products.
LUXEMBOURG ADOPTED A NATIONAL LEGALIZATION MEASURE
By mid-2023, legislators in Luxembourg have approved a legalization measure for adult use. The new law allows adults to grow up to 4 plants at home and legally possess up to three grams of cannabis.
THE ADVANCE OF LEGALIZATION IN SOUTH AFRICA
The National Assembly of South Africa approved a legalization measure for adult use this year. The measure aims to codify an earlier 2018 court ruling that overturned the cannabis ban for individuals and boost the nation's legal industry.
EXTENSION OF THE CLINICAL TRIAL ON MEDICAL CANNABIS IN FRANCE
The 2 suffering patients participating in a clinical trial on medical cannabis in France received good news in 540. Secure access to this trial will be extended of at least one year.
HISTORICAL MEASURE INTRODUCED IN AUSTRALIA
For the first time in Australia's history, a measure to legalize cannabis for adult use has been introduced in the national Parliament. Greens senator David Shoebridge presented the “Legalizing Cannabis Bill 2023“, which would allow adult recreational use of cannabis across the country.
HEMP LEAVES ARE NO LONGER A NEW FOOD IN THE EU
A working group of the European Commission removed hemp leaves from the list of Novel Foods under EU law in 2023. This policy change allows the sale of hemp-infused herbal teas and similar products in member states.
FIRST CANNABIS CLUBS LICENSED IN MALTA
Malta became the first European nation to adopt a national legalization measure in 2021. This year, the country issued its first licenses to non-commercial cannabis clubs.
ADVOCATES CALL FOR HIGHER THC LIMITS IN FOOD PRODUCTS IN CANADA
About five years after Canada passed its adult-use legalization measure, the amount of THC allowed in edibles has remained very low. In 2023, defenders have launched a campaign to increase the THC limit from 10 mg per unit to 100 mg per unit.
LAUNCH OF CANNABIS PILOT PROGRAMS IN THE NETHERLANDS
Limited trials of adult-use cannabis commerce were finally launched in the Netherlands in December after several delays. Cannabis trials were first offered in the Netherlands in 2017 as part of a government coalition agreement.
EXPANSION OF PILOT PROGRAMS IN SWITZERLAND
Switzerland has launched several pilot programs on cannabis for adult use in 2023. These pilot programs allow consumers to make legal purchases at authorized retail outlets, helping to collect local data on the purchasing habits of cannabis consumers.