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It is not without some sense of disappointment that progressive Europeans are witnessing cannabis legalization steaming ahead in North America. They note, with some justification, that it was only American political pressure that caused cannabis to be prohibited worldwide. It seems, they grumble, somewhat unfair that the plant remains illegal in most of Europe while Canadians and large swathes of Americans are able to puff the piffest purp without prohibition. 

Albania looks to be the latest European nation to begin to take steps towards a more sane approach to cannabis. The Albanian Prime Minister, Edi Rama, is reported to have stated that in the upcoming parliamentary session, the Albanian Parliament will vote to legalize medical cannabis. Under the country’s parliamentary system, the ruling party is able to advance its legislative agenda unimpeded, so we’re not likely to see any surprises when the bill comes up for a vote. As the country joins the roughly 40% of European nations that allow some form of medical cannabis, we’ll have to wait to learn how strict its definition of ‘medical’ is to be. Judging by comments suggesting that the Albian government is hoping for an economic boost from the legal change, a permissive approach to medical sales might be expected.

Meanwhile, the global medical marijuana research hub Israel is in the final stages of permitting the export of medical cannabis. While recreational marijuana remains illegal in the country, Israel, a global pharmaceutical and biotech giant, has created a permissive environment for medical cannabis research. Moves to allow for the export of medical greenery will open doors for the country’s top producers to capitalize on that stance.

While kilos of that Israeli high-grade are likely to show up at medical dispensaries in Canada and Europe in the coming months, don’t expect to see any making its way through the OMMP medical cannabis program, or any other American market. Because international trade is regulated at the federal level, all import of cannabis – for medical purposes or otherwise – falls under trafficking laws.