What Is Legal Cannabis and Where Does It Apply?
Even if many countries have not yet legalised cannabis, there is already a great deal of activity in the legislative framework of the world. The worldwide “war on drugs” is being waged with unprecedented vigour, and it is probably inevitable that in the future many other countries will also legalize the use of cannabis. As such, when discussing the scope of cannabis law the legislative framework, we must first consider what constitutes legal cannabis.
Legal cannabis, according to some definitions, means only the possession, cultivation, manufacture, supply and distribution of cannabis. In this, legality does not merely pertain to the use of cannabis by the possession of the drug but also the distribution of the drug. In other words, these two elements of cannabis law may well overlap; however, the use of cannabis is not simply limited to these two aspects.
In general, the substance, whether legal or not, is still illegal unless explicitly decriminalized in the legislative framework. At least one principle aspect of the cannabis law is that cannabis is still illegal regardless of the intentions of its users. So cannabis is still illegal, unless it is explicitly exempted from the prohibition. An example of this principle can be found in several countries, where both medicinal and recreational use of cannabis is still illegal.
Most countries, particularly developed ones, are concerned about the level of consumption of alcohol and tobacco and how these levels affect the financial systems of their countries. Alcohol is used by many people in many different ways; as a substitute for food, to relax and make oneself better, as a social drink and more recently, as a luxury item. As such, alcohol law has been amended in a number of countries to permit the consumption of certain types of alcohol by adults but not other types.
In the same way, cannabis law is considered to be different from alcohol law as it makes allowances for personal use of cannabis but not for the purchase or supply of cannabis. Cannabis law even goes as far as to prohibit the sale of cannabis to anyone under the age of eighteen years old. For people under this age, it is illegal to buy or sell cannabis, and if caught using the drug, they can be imprisoned.
To some extent, the uses of cannabis are driven by the concept of the ‘legislative framework’. This is the set of principles, legal precedents and institutions which shape the processes of legislation and the official rules of behavior of a nation’s citizens. By applying these principles, a country can bestow rights, privileges and responsibilities on its citizens; it can also limit or extend the rights and privileges of its citizens.
Considering these aspects of the legislative framework, we can see that legal cannabis will only be lawful, according to the principles which define the framework itself, if it conforms to certain universal and basic principles. These principles are typically set out in the texts of international conventions and treaties, which may refer to prohibitions against the use of drugs in different circumstances.
First of all, it is illegal to use drugs for personal gain. Therefore, an individual who is caught in possession of drugs will be punished. In addition, possession of a small amount of drugs for personal use will be considered a criminal offence, and as such the individual will be sentenced accordingly.
Secondly, one cannot use drugs in a way that endangers other people or other individuals. This means that an individual cannot sell drugs to minors or sell drugs to other people who do not have a legal right to use the drug. It also means that an individual cannot sell drugs to anyone else without receiving permission from them.
Thirdly, one cannot use drugs while driving or while working in a job that requires one to use drugs. In order to avoid penalties, it is important for an individual to refrain from the use of drugs in order to avoid penalty. In addition, one cannot consume cannabis while in a public place.
Fourthly, if an individual ‘consents’ to the use of drugs, he or she is not bound by the individual’s rights. In other words, if an individual consents to the use of cannabis, he or she cannot be prosecuted for it. However, if an individual refuses the use of cannabis, and then gets into an accident, he or she is still liable to penalties, according to national and international law.