By Martin Jelsma, Sylvia Kay and David Bewley-Taylor

Policy changes over the past five years or so have dramatically reshaped the global cannabis market. Not only has there been an unprecedented boom in medical markets, but following policy shifts in several jurisdictions a growing number of countries are also preparing for legal regulation of non-medical use. Such moves look set to bring a clear range of benefits in terms of health and human rights. As this groundbreaking Report, highlights, however, there are also serious concerns about the unfolding market dynamics.

Many for-profit cannabis companies from the Global North are aggressively competing to capture the licit spaces now rapidly opening in the multi-billion-dollar global cannabis market. This threatens to push small-scale and marginalized traditional farmers from many countries in the Global South out of the emerging legal market. It is argued here by Martin Jelsma,Sylvia Kay and David Bewley-Taylorthat there should be no reason why, using carefully designed regulatory frameworks, small-scale farmers cannot work in mutually beneficial partnership with or alongside large companies. This might be achieved through a fair(er) trade cannabis model built around a rights-based, inclusive and environmentally sustainable approach to market engagement.

Mindful of the intricate, cross-cutting and complex nature of the commercial and legal environment, Fair(er) Trade Options for the Cannabis Market proposes a set of interconnecting frameworks through which to better understand the issue and concludes with a set of guiding principles upon which a fair(er) trade cannabis model might be built.