Five Developments From 2021 that Pushed Cannabis Forward
These events helped shape the Cannabis landscape setting the stage for more to come.
Considering the life-changing events of 2020 and 2021, 2022 could be considered more of an extension upon the trends that were established the previous years. Mexico’s legalization drive continues apace, albeit more slowly than most legalization advocates would like. And in spite of many cannabis-friendly legislators, broad reform of even banking continues to be held up in the Senate, with a bid to be included in the National Defense Authorization Act ultimately scrapped. However, some extraordinary gains were indeed made this year. So as we move into this year Hytiva® would like to highlight five significant developments in cannabis that occurred in 2021. These accomplishments will continue to push things forward for everyone, whether you’re a consumer, an entrepreneur or just a lifetime fan.
Germany Announces Legalization: Several exciting developments came out of the EU in 2021. Italian activists landed a decriminalization referendum on the ballot for next year, Luxembourg advanced legalization and the tiny island of Malta beat everyone to the punch by formally legalizing adult-use cannabis. But the biggest news is the announcement by Germany’s new post-Merkel coalition government of Deutschland’s imminent legalization. The sheer size of Germany’s population and its potential market should serve as a bellweather and a model for what a fully mature EU market could look like, and even give first movers like Holland a run for its money.
The Rise of Delta-8: Meanwhile, back in the States, even citizens in certain non-legal states were able to access a reasonable facsimile of cannabis with Delta-8. Resourceful CBD companies dug up a means of synthesizing the THC derivative delta-8 from hemp biomass using techniques dating to the ‘50s and pointed to hemp’s legal status as their license to sell. While the DEA has voiced skepticism over this interpretation, they have yet to move against the market. However, states have begun to restrict the market, or at least fold it into the same regulatory structure that governs the cannabis market. However, it has had its successes, particularly in Texas, where a string of positive court cases may win delta-8 permanent footing in the state’s evolving cannabis market.
Sha’carri Richardson: Slated to be one of the US’s star competing athletes in the 2021 Summer Olympics, track and field star Sha’carri Richardson instead was sidelined after testing positive for cannabis metabolites, first for her signature 100-meter race and then for the general track and field competition. The backlash to this draconian penalty, especially considering that Sha’carri consumed in a legal state, forced the World Anti-Doping Agency and its US counterpart to revisit its cannabis policy in 2022. Should they re-adapt it to changing times, it will mean that Sha’carri will have made history, albeit not in the way she expected.
Amazon Says Yes to Cannabis: On June 1 2021 Amazon announced in a blog post that it would no longer test for cannabis in most of its jobs. Citing the rapidly evolving laws surrounding cannabis in America as well as its pledge to be “Earth’s best employer,” Amazon also plans to get involved with broader federal reform. While Amazon isn’t the only business in the country with an enlightened cannabis policy, it’s certainly one of the biggest, and their entry into the world of cannabis advocacy represents a major step forward towards a society where cannabis use is normalized.
State Legalization: Perhaps the biggest story for cannabis legalization was New York’s long-awaited entry into the adult-use cannabis industry in March of 2021. Soon to follow were Virginia, Connecticut, and New Mexico. However, there were some setbacks along the way — the Supreme Courts of Mississippi and South Dakota invalidated the adult-use and medical cannabis programs approved by voters in 2020, respectively, on technical grounds. However, Mississippi is busy at work in creating a medical cannabis program through its legislature, and activists in South Dakota are busy collecting signatures for another 2022 run.