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As the snowball of cannabis progress continues to roll down the mountainside, it has now departed U.S. shores for various international destinations.

This will be our first recap of all the hot happenings in cannabis policy reform abroad and just the current state of how people around the world feel about pot. Part of this progress is surely a result of the U.S. driven narrative on the issue has been crumbling state by state for some time, it’s hard to convince other nations to take you seriously on pot when so many Americans have a dispensary not far from home. We’re seeing the results of that progress in most of these stories.

So with all this cannabis enthusiasm going strong, here are some trending tales that took place last month from around the globe.

EUROPE

The Swiss Are Ready to Experiment with Recreational Cannabis

As Switzerland preps for its recreational cannabis trial program, officials have dictated there will be strict rules on the pot Swiss consumers will be able to get their hands on.

All of it will have to be organic and grown local. The local part shouldn’t be too difficult given that Switzerland is a little over a quarter the size of California.

In the process of all this, we should see the Swiss cannabis industry and all the ancillary services required around it kickstart. It will be interesting to see how local markets play out in the sense there is already so much international capital in the country, but how local do they want the operators to be? Does grown local mean by the farmers of Switzerland or other interests coming into the hills and opening up shop?

All of Switzerland’s biggest cities have volunteered to take part in the trial. Researchers will be studying the distribution model to see its local impact and how it hits the underground market.

The Swiss decriminalized marijuana possession up to 10 grams in 2012. The fine for getting caught is about $85 USD.

AFRICA

South Africa Reschedules CBD

As the CBD movement continues to take off across the African continent, officials in South Africa are in the lead on bringing some regulation to the industry by rescheduling CBD.

The decision comes following a year-long suspension of the nation’s drug scheduling laws around CBD products. They are now essentially on the cusp of being a mainstream thing in South Africa. Some South Africans who were critical of the previous setup are glad to see the change because the new scheduling to an over the counter medicine listing will help clean up the industry of bad actors via regulatory requirements.

Herschel Maasdorp, CEO of CannAfrica, told Cape Talk 567AM, “Cannabis patients and lifestyle consumers need to know how their medicine was grown, processed, and formulated. They need assurances that we’re able to identify and discern between what is illicit and what is an effective product.”

With the domestic cannabis market in South Africa now worth about  $1.5 billion USD some entrepreneurs have taken to training the budding industry’s workforce. South Africa’s IOL called the Boogaloo Africa Academy the first cannabis school to Africa.

ASIA

Pot Smoking Cop Ring is National News in Japan

There are few places they still hate weed as much as Japan, so a group of four police officers getting caught up in a pot-smoking ring is a big deal with coverage in every major media outlet across the nation.

So how did it all happen? For some unfathomable reason, unless he was attempting to invite him to the rotation, Officer Ryota Kurakawa put himself in a situation where his supervisor was able to see some sweet nugshots on his phone.

Kurakawa was then arrested after he confessed the photos on his phone were weed. They searched his apartment and found some. This created a snowball effect that raised suspicions about the three other officers. All of them would eventually confess to smoking weed. The craziest thing is the other three didn’t even work at the same police station as Kurakawa.

One thing that has helped soften the cannabinoid hardliners in Japan is CBD. CBD was first introduced to Tokyo in 2011 according to Japan’s largest English language magazine Metropolis. But it’s mostly still seen as a supplementary ingredient for skincare and beauty products, and any real pot progress is likely still a long way off.

In 2019, pot arrests in Japan were up for the sixth year in a row with over 4,300 arrested. Japan even surveyed 631 of the people they arrested for pot last year. To the officials’ dismay, only 15.4 percent of them thought marijuana was dangerous.

Latin America

The First Man to Grow a Legal Crop in Uruguay Talks The Future

As Costa Rica weighs its own future on legal cannabis, University Professor turned businessman Gastón Rodríguez Lepera explained what it was like to work with the Uruguayan government on the groundbreaking move and where things are heading to the Costa Rica News.

He explained as the industry developed over the last five years, the nation of Uruguay now finds itself with almost 30 companies ready to export their product abroad.

“The Cannabis industry, in its different forms, currently has helped reverse the economic recession Latin America is going through. It has a giant potential and the Cannabis Revolution questions economic interests versus traditions and breaks with that barrier of prejudice,” Rodríguez Lepera wrote.

In addition to believing various Latin American countries will begin to make big strides in hemp production, he noted some of the countries in the region with the biggest potential for cannabis include Mexico and Brazil.

On Mexico, he said, “it is a country that has a high potential for cultivation, a formidable agricultural development and if Mexico quickly — as it has always done — manages to establish an executive path of operation, it has enormous potential.”

He believes one of the biggest things holding back a potential booming industry in both countries is dated social misconceptions.