The Key to Legal Marijuana Is In Laws for Personal Sovereignty

When it comes to cannabis legalizations, different factors can be at work in different locations. In some places, sick kids pushed through medical legalizations, in other places, recreational legalizations were voted in by the population. In a few cases it was something else though, it came through the courts. In these cases, legal marijuana came as a result of personal sovereignty clauses in national constitutions.

It would be great if we were all afforded the right to legal marijuana due to personal sovereignty rights in our specific countries, but unfortunately, this only works in some places. Luckily, the general expansion of the industry has made it so getting many products is much easier, with much more available. Take delta-8 THC, for example. No one knew what the stuff was five years ago. And now? This alternate, less intense, form of THC, flies right off the shelves. This goes for other cannabis compounds as well. Lucky for you, we’ve got them all, so take a look at our deals on delta-8 THCdelta-9 THCTHCVTHCPdelta 10HHCTHC-O and a broad range of other cannabis related products.

What does personal sovereignty mean?

Personal sovereignty can be summed up like this: “To be sovereign over one’s self is to be free of the control or coercion of others – to truly direct one’s own life.” In other words, personal sovereignty is self-ownership, and comes with the idea that each person is their own piece of property belonging to themselves. This includes legal and/or natural rights for bodily integrity, and to be the sole controller of one’s life.

As far as what it means to have legal or natural rights, these are the two types of rights afforded to individuals. Natural rights are inalienable rights, or what some would refer to as ‘god-given rights’. These are not supposed to be specific to a particular government or set of laws, but are instead considered fundamental laws, or human rights. As inalienable rights, they cannot be taken away by a government’s laws, unless the individual is causing harm to someone else. In the US constitution, inalienable rights include “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

Conversely, legal rights are those afforded by a specific government. They are governed by human laws, and are able to be changed or repealed if the government feels the need. These laws encompass everything not related to personal freedoms, like traffic laws, gun laws, trade laws, criminal laws, and so on.

personal sovereignty

Personal sovereignty is a principal of different philosophies in politics, namely anarchism, liberalism, and libertarianism. Clauses show up in many constitutions, specifying what the government sees as inalienable rights. Now, this concept is interesting. If the idea of ‘inalienable rights’ actually existed as I just said, they would have to be consistent everywhere. After all, if they’re not related to local laws, then they should be the same throughout the world. But this isn’t the case. And, in fact, the particular inalienable rights afforded to populations, are decided within a constitution, meaning they are specific to a given government.

Even so, they are thought of as separate from legal rights. Though this detracts from them a bit, they still hold true where they’re available. While the US doesn’t have strong principals for this in its constitution, other countries do. And three times now, at least, these principals have been used to either legalize recreational cannabis, or reduce penalties to the point of practically being legal.

How Mexico gained legal marijuana using personal sovereignty

The mess of Mexico and cannabis legalization has been going on for a few years now. At the end of 2018, the Mexican Supreme Court ruled in favor of defendants in two cases involving the right to use cannabis recreationally. These two cases were really the last of five consecutive cases, starting in 2015, all if which had to do with the right of an individual to consume cannabis in their own private life.

In Mexico, five consecutive Supreme Court rulings on the same topic, ruled on in the same way, become legally binding for all lower courts, and override legislative laws. This is called jurisprudencia. As such, in these situations, the government is then tasked with coming up with new legislation to be in line with the court rulings.

So, what was the basis for these court rulings? In the Mexican constitution, personal development is a given, or inalienable right. It reflects a specific aspect of personal sovereignty afforded by the Mexican government to its people. People must, by the constitution, be able to choose their own recreational activities in life, and they must be able to do this without government intervention. In its ruling, the Supreme Court specified that the psychoactive effects of cannabis are not enough to provide justification for prohibition. The final ruling officially made the prohibition of personal recreational cannabis use, unconstitutional.

For anyone paying attention, this didn’t come and go quietly. The government has repeatedly nixed its responsibility in coming up with written legislation, first asking for extensions for 2.5 years, and then missing a deadline without even requesting an extension this past April. This move effectively gave the Supreme Court the ability to simply drop the prohibition law, which it did. Since the Supreme Court doesn’t write legislation, this was done in a small way, legalizing the personal cultivation, possession, and use of cannabis, but leaving everything else as illegal, until the government sees fit to do its job.

Mexico cannabis

How Georgia gained legal marijuana using personal sovereignty

The first thing that makes the title to this section interesting, is simply the idea that a former Eastern Bloc country, is actually weed-legal. No other truly legalized location exists on either the continents of Europe or Asia, yet somehow, a recreational legalization snuck in, in a place completely unexpected, and not in concert with the area around. But that’s what happened, when Georgia became the 3rd legalized recreational country. Here’s the story.

Up until 2018, Georgia had some of the stricter laws concerning cannabis. Users could incur up to 14 years in prison for simple possession and use, with forced drug tests being given on 100+ people a day. Georgia had a zero-tolerance policy when it came to marijuana, and the country was making a lot of money from fines, collecting a massive $11.3 million in one year alone. Cannabis activists in the country were fighting these forced tests, as well as pushing for decriminalization measures, and to have dosage calculations made by law. It was even being spoken about politically when elections came around in 2018, with a law being drafted to allow cannabis exports.

All of what was going on was blown out of the water by the Constitutional Court in 2018. That year, amid all the other cannabis talk, the Court made a ruling in a case that its unconstitutional to punish a person for using cannabis, since it doesn’t hurt anyone else. The ruling stated that a punishment for using cannabis is restrictive of personal freedoms. Once again, personal sovereignty pushed through a legalization measure. The Court went on to state in its ruling, that unless a 3rd party is being affected, or use laws are broken, no penalties will be given out for using cannabis at all.

It says something for the stance of the Constitutional Court, that a year prior to this legalization, it was already calling to decriminalize cannabis. This shows that even in its stricter days, there was already a break towards liberalism. However, a major detraction of this legalization, is that it only applies to possession and use.

Cultivation and supply crimes were not affected by the ruling, meaning Georgia has some terribly inconsistent cannabis laws, allowing for its legal possession and use, but without the ability to buy, sell, or grow it. There is also no official regulated market in place. Chances are that written legislation will update soon enough to make this a more tenable system. For now, Georgia has the designation of becoming the 3rd legalized country, the first in Europe or Asia to do so, and the first of the former Eastern Bloc countries to adopt a pro-cannabis policy.

How South Africa gained nearly legal marijuana using personal sovereignty

South Africa is a little different because the country didn’t technically legalize anything. However, due to Supreme Court rulings, the country has some of the most relaxed cannabis laws, that in many ways do resemble a regular legalization. Much like with the two countries previously mentioned, since it came through the court system, and this requires legislation to be written, the exact specifications of this new law are still unknown. Anyway, here’s the story of South Africa and cannabis decriminalization.

South Africa marijuana

Funny enough, all three of the countries mentioned, officially changed policies due to Constitutional Court decisions made in 2018. South Africa’s came in September of 2018. The court ruling in question was originally made on March 31st, 2017, but not by a constitutional court. In this case, the judge of the local court ruled that it was unconstitutional to prevent private cultivation and use of cannabis. The reason being, that such a criminalization was an infringement to inalienable rights of personal privacy, and therefore, not justifiable.

The right to privacy was the central issue in the 2017 ruling. The right to privacy is an inalienable right of personal sovereignty afforded to South Africans through section 14 of their Bill of Rights. The clause states that every individual has the right to lead their own private life, without interference by the government or other private institutions. This is what the court stated to back up its point:

“A very high level of protection is given to the individual’s intimate personal sphere of life and the maintenance of its basic preconditions and there is a final untouchable sphere of human freedom that is beyond interference from any public authority. So much so that, in regard to this most intimate core of privacy, no justifiable limitation thereof can take place… This inviolable core is left behind once an individual enters into relationships with persons outside this closest intimate sphere; the individual’s activities then acquire a social dimension and the right of privacy in this context becomes subject to limitation.”

Of course, this was just a regular court. Appeals rolled in after the decision, leading the judgement to be heard by the Constitutional Court in 2018. When the Constitutional Court upheld the lower court’s decision, the new ruling became law, and the private cultivation and recreational use of cannabis was heavily decriminalized. It is said that police can still arrest a person for private cannabis crimes, but that the person can use this ruling as a defense in court. The new bill will hopefully shed more light on this aspect. This is different from Mexico or Georgia, where the lower courts can no longer entertain such cases. An official bill is still being worked out which will specify the particulars of the new law. Technically, South Africa had 24 months to write a bill before the court ruling automatically took over. It is now 3.5 years later, and there is no bill yet, but this is likely due to corona.

Conclusion

This idea that legal marijuana use can come through court rulings on personal sovereignty, is kind of cool. Take Chile, and its endeavor to create a new constitution. Should the new constitution have a personal sovereignty clause, it would open the door for cannabis legalization.

If your next question is whether the US has such a provision, the sad answer is no. The farthest we get in the US is the guarantee for the ‘pursuit of happiness’. Now, I know cannabis sure makes me happy. And it could certainly be argued in court that not allowing legal marijuana is a detraction of personal sovereignty related to the pursuit of happiness…but as of yet, it has not been done.

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DisclaimerHi, I’m a researcher and writer. I’m not a doctor, lawyer, or businessperson. All information in my articles is sourced and referenced, and all opinions stated are mine. I am not giving anyone advise, and though I am more than happy to discuss topics, should someone have a further question or concern, they should seek guidance from a relevant professional.

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Recreational Cannabis in Colombia – Coming Soon?

In the last few years, Colombia has been shaping up its legal cannabis policies, legalizing medical cannabis and quickly joining the global medical cannabis market. Now, new legislation climbing its way through Colombian Congress, means that recreational cannabis in Colombia is one step closer to becoming a reality.

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Colombia and drugs in general

Before getting into the specifics of cannabis law in Colombia, and whether recreational cannabis in Colombia will happen, it’s important to understand the situation that Colombia is in with its drug trade.

The first thing to know about Colombia and drugs, of course, is that Colombia is the biggest global hub for cocaine production, and has been for quite some time. It’s estimated that in 2019, approximately 70% of the cocaine consumed in the world, came from Colombia. It’s also estimated that in that year, approximately 18 million people consumed the drug worldwide. Because of the constant infiltration of law enforcement, most of the coca grown in Colombia is grown in more remote areas. Law enforcement, for its part, has been attempting to eradicate fields over the years, by enforcing crop substitutions and even spraying toxic chemicals over fields where coca plants are rumored to be grown. Despite these efforts, its estimated that in 2017, 1,379 tons of cocaine were produced in the country. Efforts of law enforcement to stop the trade cripple the 130,000 families that subsist from farming and selling coca.

To give an idea how much money is made off the cocaine industry, it takes about 125 kilos of coca to produce one kilo of cocaine. This costs a local drug lab about $137.50. Once this is converted into actual cocaine, the value is increased to $2,269. Once it gets to where its going, that same kilo can bring in approximately $60,000 in revenue in a place like the US, or even more in other locations. This is a massive trade in Colombia, and its led to massive amounts of violence.

Colombia cocaine trade

When looking for the ‘all told’ measure of this violence, it’s extremely difficult to find actual death tolls. While there are a few random and varying numbers out there, none of them are direct or verifiable, and while we are all aware of the tremendous destruction of this trade, no one seems to be able to say how destructive. In fact, when questioned about it in light of the Netflix drama Narcos, and a statement made on the show about one kilo of cocaine costing six lives each, former DEA head of intelligence in Colombia, Elizabeth Zili stated, “I really couldn’t give you a number, but it was extremely high. We never totally trusted the statistics we were getting from the [Colombian] government. One never does, no matter where you are.”

The same BBC article did some math to try to figure out if the six people per one kilo made any sense even in 1992, and found the number to be extremely high, even when looking at total global deaths. It established at that time a Colombian murder rate of approximately 80 per 100,000. Even though the murder rate has been cut in half since that time, Colombia still has one of the higher murder rates with approximately 25 murders for every 100,000 people in 2019. This can be compared to the US where the rate in 2018 was 5 per 100,000.

But the funniest part about all of it? These massive cocaine trafficking networks that have been used over the years, started as pathways for the trafficking of – you guessed it – marijuana. In fact, prior to its foray into cocaine, Colombia was providing the majority of cannabis to the US in the 70’s.

Colombia and cannabis

When it comes to cannabis, much like Uruguay, Colombia has been a bit more lax than other places, but a lot of this has been directly to combat issues of drug violence. In general, cannabis is illegal for commercial sale and use, however, unless a person is committing a major cannabis crime, the punishments aren’t that dire. In 1994, around the time of Pablo Escobar’s death, Colombia decriminalized both the personal use and possession of cannabis and other drugs. This was further expounded on in 2012 when it was established that a person could have up to 20 grams without being prosecuted. It was even expanded on further with a Constitutional Court ruling in 2015 which then allowed personal cultivation of up to 20 plants.

In 2018, this was gone back on when president Ivan Duque put forth a decree saying cops could, in fact, confiscate even small amounts of cannabis, and while this didn’t apply criminal penalties to offenders, it did institute a fine of up to 208,000 pesos. It also put a ban on people being able to carry small amounts of cannabis, something that the Constitutional Court already ruled was okay. Consequently, the following year (2019), the Constitutional Court of Colombia ruled that parts of Duque’s decree were unconstitutional. This didn’t get rid of the cops being able to search and confiscate drugs, but it did mean no consequences for up to 20 grams as related earlier by the Constitutional Court ruling.

Sale and supply crimes are most certainly illegal, and having more than 20 grams is considered possession with intent to sell. The maximum prison sentence is up to 20 years, surpassing the punishment for a rape.

Colombian drug war

If it needs to be said, being caught trafficking any drug in Colombia is going to get you in some pretty hot water. Here’s the basic breakdown for what’ll happen to you if you’re dumb enough to transport illegal substances across borders:

  • 10+ kg of cannabis, 2 kg of cocaine, 60 grams poppy-based drugs (like heroin) = 10-30 years in prison.
  • 1000+ kg cannabis, 5kg cocaine, 2 kg poppy-based drugs (like heroin) = 23-30 years in prison.

Medical marijuana and how to get in on it

At the very end of 2015, President Juan Miguel Santos signed legislation for a regulated medical cannabis market. He stated, “This decree allows licenses to be granted for the possession of seeds, cannabis plants and marijuana.” On July 6th, 2016, Colombian Congress approved law 1787 to create a regulatory framework, which was itself enacted in 2017 through Decree 613. While much is written about the investment opportunities that have been opened up through this, the ability to actually obtain cannabis medications for locals seems to be hindered by supply issues, misinformation, and limitations in development and research. The four licenses that can be applied for to enter the legal medical cannabis market are the following:

  • Manufacture of cannabis derivatives – Allows the production of cannabis-derived products for use and scientific research domestically, and for exportation. Interested parties can check details and pricing here.
  • Use of cannabis seeds – Allows sale and distribution of cannabis seeds, as well as use for scientific purposes. Check links for details and pricing.
  • Cultivation of psychoactive cannabis – Allows the cultivation of cannabis as a crop, the production of cannabis derivatives (along with the first license mentioned), use for scientific purposes, storage of cannabis, disposal of cannabis, and production of cannabis seeds. Details for this license can be found here.
  • Cultivation of non-psychoactive cannabis – Allows the production of cannabis seeds for planting, the manufacture of derivatives, industrial uses, and for scientific purposes, as well as storage and disposal. If interested, check for details here.

So…what’s the deal with recreational?

What should be noticed is that Colombia is not the most stringent country when it comes to cannabis laws, and has been updating at quick speeds to allow for more freedoms. So, what about the final legalization for recreational cannabis? While it’s not quite there yet, it really doesn’t seem to be far off, with legislation already starting to make its way through the channels of government. Here’s what’s going on right now in terms of recreational cannabis in Colombia:

recreational cannabis

1st initiative for recreational cannabis in Colombia – Approved on September 16th by the first committee of the Lower House by a vote of 18-17, allowing it to move forward in the Lower House. It was, unfortunately, not able to make it past the next debate in the Lower House, and is being shelved for now. This initiative was led by opposition legislator Juan Carlos Lozada, and if it passes (in the future) it would amend Colombian Constitution article 49 which currently states, “the carrying and consumption of narcotic or psychotropic substances is prohibited unless prescribed by a doctor.” The amendment would therefore have lifted this ban and legalized cannabis for recreational use, and would actually be in line with previous rulings of Colombia’s highest court, the Constitutional Court. To become law, the bill faced eight debates, four each at the Lower House and Senate. It did not make it through this time around, but I keep it here to show what has been happening, and what could come up again in the future.

2nd initiative for recreational cannabis in Colombia – This includes 38 lawmakers led by center-right and opposition parties, initiated by two senators, Gustavo Bolivar and Luis Fernando Velasco. This bill aims to regulate the production and consumption of marijuana, in essence creating a legal framework for its recreational use. The initiative does expressly ban marijuana use for minors, its promotion and advertisement, as well as establishing specific sites for adult use. In order to become law, this bill must be approved by the end of next year, but as it is a separate bill and not an amendment to an existing law, it only requires four debates to pass. The first debate had been set for end of October, moved to Mid-November, but doesn’t seem to have happened yet. While governments have been moving slower in light of the Coronoavirus pandemic, the bill is still very much alive. Those pushing this bill point out how Uruguay diverted around 40% of business from cartels, established 500 jobs, and received €100 million in investments by 2018. They have also pointed out how prohibiting consumption has never led consumers to not be able to access the drug.

Conclusion

Uruguay had a similar problem to Colombia, though not nearly as intense. In order to cut down on the black-market trade of cannabis, it legalized it and established a government-run system to regulate it. Colombia has already done a lot to limit drug violence, decriminalizing many drugs in an effort to thwart it, and the cartels that promote it. A recreational legalization would certainly go in line with this, and I expect that if the current bill doesn’t pass, the next one to be introduced will. It might very well be that with Uruguay, Mexico’s impending legalization, and recreational cannabis in Colombia likely following suit soon, south of the border will be the place to go for legal marijuana.

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Resources

Germany Rejected Its Recreational Cannabis Bill
New Zealand Voted NO to Cannabis Legalization

German Cannabis Flower Market is Ready to Explode
Uruguay Was The First Country to Legalize Cannabis – How Are They Doing Now?

Fly with Cannabis – Which Countries Let You Do It Newest Cannabinoid Powerhouse – CBC – What Can It Do for You?
What is DELTA 8 THC (FAQ: Great resource to learn about DELTA 8THC)

Legal for a Day – The Mahashivaratri Festival and Nepal’s Changing Cannabis Laws
Will Mexico Become Biggest Legal Cannabis Market?
The CBD Flowers Weekly newsletter (your top resource for all things smokable hemp flowers)
The Medical Cannabis Weekly newsletter (International medical cannabis business report)
Paraguay Grows it, Brazil Takes it… Will New Cannabis Laws Change Anything?

The Delta 8 Weekly Newsletter (All you need to know about Delta 8 thc) and the Best Black Friday Delta 8 THC Deals 2020. Cannabis Election Results – Why Israel Is (and will continue to be) A Global Leader in the Cannabis Industry
Mexico Still Waiting on Its Promised Cannabis Legalization
How the Cannabis Industry is Saving Small Towns Across America
Argentina Legalized Medical Cannabis in 2017 – and Gives It Away for Free
Uruguay Was The First Country to Legalize Cannabis – How Are They Doing Now?

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Parallel Problems – Pot and Prostitution Law

There are quite a few parallels between the sex industry and the cannabis industry. The puritan approach of the past failed simply because both industries are made up of everyday people, not criminals. As a result, the government has tried to create realistic regulations that will protect those most vulnerable. Instead, they failed and made […]

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