Cannabis Regulation and Development

Fair(er) Trade Options for Emerging Legal Markets
David Bewley-Taylor, Martin Jelsma, and Sylvia Kay
Drug Policies and Development: Conflict and Coexistence
12th volume of International Development Policy, August 2020

dpad coverSignificant policy shifts have led to an unprecedented boom in medical cannabis markets, while a growing number of countries are moving towards the legal regulation of adult non-medical use. This trend is likely to bring a range of benefits. Yet there are growing concerns over the many for-profit cannabis companies from the global North that are aggressively competing to capture the licit spaces now opening in the multibillion-dollar global cannabis market. This threatens to push small-scale traditional farmers from the global South out of the emerging legal markets.

Read the chapter

Those trying to transition out of illegality face huge difficulties due to a combination of the legacy of criminalisation and administrative barriers to entry. Conquering and protecting spaces for small-scale farmers within the current overheated and corporate-driven market will require affirmative action, regulation of foreign investment, and well-designed legislative and market strategies. This policy comment explores the unfolding market dynamics from a development perspective and offers a set of guiding principles and policy proposals upon which a more equitable, fair(er) trade cannabis regulation model can be built.