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The Globalization of Cannabis
Author: Seshata  08/08/2018 - 11:30:00

Cannabis as a Universal Resource

The Silk Road in the 1st Century AD (© Kaidor)

Globalization is also far from a new phenomenon. For millennia, humans have travelled vast distances, and have set up many lasting trade networks covering huge areas around the world. The Silk Road is an example of a historical and practically global network, stretching for thousands of miles across Asia, deep into Europe and Africa – and lasting for over a thousand years.

The Silk Road is also relevant as it almost certainly

Prices have crashed in California & Oregon (© Rick Obst)

In both

Cannabis eradications (© North Cascades National Park)

Contraventions of international treaties are not to be taken tightly for many countries around the world, some of which have faced repeated economic and military sanctions or international ostracization for breaking UN conventions. The recent breast milk controversy at the UN is a particularly egregious example of how easily powerful countries can bend others to their will with the threat of withholding military aid.

With regards to cannabis specifically, policies to control illegal trade, such as forced eradication programs, still continue in various countries. In general, control of illegal drug production and trade falls on national governments, and drug-producing countries are obliged to carry out eradications or other programs, at the risk of facing punitive measures at the international level – perhaps in the form of withholding military aid.

The upshot is that there are many cannabis-producing countries that are extremely cautious of breaking any international treaties due to past punitive measures. Simultaneously, other more powerful countries are able to break treaties with impunity, setting up industries and profiting from a commodity that traditional producer countries are still restricted from.

Efforts to Address the Imbalance in the Global Cannabis Industry

Of course, the situation remains complex. For example, Colombia has suffered for decades under the most invasive, violent tactics the global War on Drugs has ever been responsible for, and is about to resume its deadly aerial spraying campaigns to destroy a particularly large coca harvest this year – in response to US pressure.

However, Colombia has also pushed forward with efforts to legalize medicinal cannabis and create a legal, regulated market (thus far with a grand total of fourteen license-holders). It also plans to begin exports in 2019 – although by this time, it will be up against powerful, established competition.

Many other traditional producer countries are now rushing to implement modern cannabis industries. India, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Turkey, Lesotho, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Greece, Mexico, Jamaica and several other nations have introduced some form of cannabis legislation in recent years.

However, looking more closely at the ownership of license-holding companies shows that this does not necessarily represent a potential redress of any global imbalance. For example, in Lesotho, the five existing licenses are held by (partly or wholly) US, British and Canadian companies. Three companies are 100% foreign-owned, the remaining two are 30% and 10% foreign-owned respectively.

The Future of Cannabis Around the World

There may be some hope for less economically-developed nations to catch up to their Western competitors on the global market. Many traditional cannabis-producing countries are in the Global South, with favourable climatic conditions for cannabis cultivation and the potential for far lower production costs.

Colombia has highlighted its year-round 12/12 light cycle and stable temperatures as key advantages for cannabis cultivation, as they allow year-round flowering and multiple harvests. India, of course, is one of the world’s ancient heartlands of cannabis – home of possibly unparalleled genetic diversity, and the ideal conditions for dozens of different landrace varieties to thrive.

In comparison, Canada, the UK and the Netherlands are northern countries with short, cool summers and little natural potential to produce cannabinoids. Much of the medicinal cultivation is done indoors, at a prohibitive cost both in financial and environmental terms.

Even so, for traditional producer countries to gain an edge in the global market, it will almost certainly necessitate a war between gigantic corporations. In that situation, small-scale, artisanal producers will be increasingly threatened by the rise of corporations the world over.

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Original article from sensiseeds.com: The Globalization of Cannabis


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