Will Boris Johnson’s Departure As Prime Minister Speed British Cannabis Reform?

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The controversial politician was forced to announce his resignation last week. How will this affect the pace of British cannabis reform?

Through the lens of history, the passage of Boris Johnson through the country’s top political job may become forever associated, for good or for bad, with Brexit. How that plays out when it comes to forwarding cannabis reform in the now separated from EU regulations on the same is still unclear.

That said, on the CBD front, it appears that it’s full speed ahead. The Food Safety Authority (FSA) just announced that 12,000 CBD products are now legal for sale in the UK. This puts the country far ahead of the discussion in Europe, where Novel Food regulations have yet again put applications (and legalization) discussions on hold. However, one thing is also clear. The EU may have ruled that CBD is not a narcotic, but this change, along with any other decisions taken at this level, now has to be incorporated into national law in every EU country.

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Far more influential than anything the UK does right now is what is happening in Germany. The government has formally committed to recreational reform, formal hearings have been heard, a white paper will be issued and there is, more or less, a timetable of reform that is now being refined as necessary. The passage of recreational reform will also finally normalize the CBD conversation in Germany.

Beyond this, the normalization of cannabis in Europe’s largest economy – and the fourth largest in the world, will certainly move the needle not only in the EU but in the UK too.

From a medical standpoint, the issue has essentially stalled in the UK so far. That said, both Brexit and Covid – and now the tumult of British national politics – are not likely to be fertile ground for forward-thinking politics on this (or many other issues) until things become a bit less chaotic in the UK.

In the meantime, it is clear that limited cannabis reform is in the offing in special trials (see the mayor of London’s proposal on decrim).

For now, at least, as a result, “Global Britain” is following, not leading, on the cannabis discussion. And right now, all eyes are looking to the Bundestag, not Whitehall, to move the stakes if not the goalposts forward.

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