China Isn’t a Fan of Cannabis Legalization

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In a lot of ways, United States influenced international policy on cannabis. In fact, given that the United States effectively began prohibiting cannabis in 1937, China’s cannabis prohibition, which started in 1985, is far newer. One could argue that the American prohibition of cannabis was one of the reasons that China eventually outlawed the plant.

Unlike America, however, China continued to profit from industrial hemp crops even while prohibiting the medical or recreational use of cannabis in individual citizens. Now, China seems to have a tougher stance on the plant than the United States does. They’re quick to point the finger at the West, too, for the few people who do use cannabis in their country.

Given the harsh penalties often faced by those convicted of drug crimes in China, it should come as little surprise that China has a minuscule population of cannabis users. Even while complaining that the total number of users increased by nearly 25% in the last 12 months, China still acknowledges that they only believe that roughly 24,000 people in their country of nearly 1.4 billion people use cannabis.

The Chinese government is eyeing legalization in the United States as a potential scourge on their nation, at least from a public policy standpoint. Earlier today, the China National Narcotics Control Commission made a statement that changing domestic cannabis policies in the United States represents a threat to China.

They specifically referenced an increase in the number of cases of people smuggling cannabis from the United States into China. They accused Canada of the same thing last year. Honestly, with as uptight as Big Brother is in China, you think he wouldn’t mind sitting down for a toke now and then.

It could come to pass that the US government begins receiving negative pressure regarding cannabis policy from important trade partners, such as China. Whether the current administration would bow to that pressure or remain defiant is impossible to predict at this point.

However, it is worth noting that China has had no problem profiting off of the sales of industrial hemp to the United States in the past. Perhaps the diminished value of that cash crop may play some role in its government’s new and negative attitude toward cannabis legalization in the United States.

For previous Ladybud articles about China, click here.