Here is one basic fact of legalization that has permeated most reform movements in the United States at the state level and in Canada, if not just south of the Rio Grande (Mexico). To some extent, it is also the legal argument at the heart of German reform. It is absolutely the one at the heart of a major Spanish case now accepted for argument at the European Court of Human Rights. But here is the basic premise: Access to cannabis, particularly as medicine (but not limited to just medical access), is a basic constitutional right.
It is an interesting thought, really, that access to a plant might be considered so fundamental to human dignity if not individualism. It makes sense if you are a patient with a debilitating disease, but nobody really ever pays attention to the disabled if not “stoners” involved in this discussion (sadly). It is, however, thanks to these outsiders and their legal cases however, that reform has moved at all.
However, even outside of a courtroom, as reform has moved forward only with this definition if not challenge to the same, that this powerful idea has permeated, even punctured, basic reform in several countries so far (as well as U.S. state markets).
Why that has become of the tip of the spear of reform is one question. What it means, downstream, as the world normalizes, is another.
What Are Constitutional Rights and Where Does Cannabis Cross into Them?
As strange as it may be to think about this, it is good to occasionally get a primer. A constitutional right, as defined by law and at least Wikipedia, can be a prerogative or a duty, a power or restraint of power, recognized and established by a sovereign state or union of states.
Add cannabis to the mix and it is easy to start conjugating sentences that make sense. Here is one example. It is the constitutional right of every citizen to have access to cannabis as medicine and for other purposes. While that may sound outlandish in the United States on a federal level, this is in fact what moved the debate early in the recreational game on the state level—see both Colorado and Washington State as well as a host of other early moving states.
However, this is far from the only place this idea took root. In Canada, patients successfully sued at the federal level at the turn of the century, and on this basis, to obtain the right of home grow (as the same idea faltered in the U.S.). In Mexico, during the last decade, this is what has moved the conversation forward (at the federal constitutional level). In Europe, given a very important case right now from Spain headed to the Human Rights court in Strasbourg, this is also the case.
Beyond this, however, and no matter how poorly executed at least so far, that is also the case in Germany. It has taken a bit of a strange twist to date because healthcare is a human right in Germany, at least theoretically. That is why it is illegal not to have healthcare coverage. And since cannabis is now recognized as medicine, it is literally unconstitutional to block access. Even for cost reasons. How that is recognized if not realized is another question—but it is at the table.
A Matter of Human Identity
The legal construction of the argument in Germany in fact, is one of the most potentially explosive ones so far. When cannabis falls out of that system, something is very broken. And so far, in Germany, unfortunately, even for German healthcare, that is also the discussion that is now entering the room.
Indeed, it is Germany, unlike every other country so far, which has at least posed the question in a meaningful way for every citizen. Namely, should a country be allowed to ban a plant, and further one with vast medical if not other efficacy?
The answer, as clearly stated in the Mexican Supreme Court case, where the question of human identity as an individual was also clearly in the mix, is no.
That in and of itself is ground-breaking enough. But then so was the idea in the first place of ever banning cannabis to begin with.
Not to mention, sadly as still being seen in the United States (and at the Biden White House no less), penalizing or punishing people who admit to using it (for whatever reason).
As is clear, in just about all developing markets, the fight if not definition is still in flux. And that war is clearly far from over.