Canada recently became the second country in the world to legalize recreational cannabis (the first country was Uruguay). The new cannabis law in the North American country permits the sale and consumption of recreational marijuana.
The recent legalization or rather the decriminalization of marijuana was the culmination of a long-running campaign in the country by pro-marijuana activists and some of the country’s leading politicians including Prime Minister Trudeau.
Many commentators around the world say that the legalization of marijuana in an important first world country like Canada will likely have a domino effect. That many more countries, particularly in the Western World, will likely follow the North American country’s footsteps and legalize the herb.
Marijuana legislation in the US
In the US, there are many variations of cannabis laws by state. This is because states are allowed by law to independently regulate the use of marijuana.
As of now, there are ten states where recreational marijuana is legal (decriminalized). They include Vermont, DC, Washington State, Oregon, Nevada, Massachusetts, Maine, Colorado, California, and Alaska. These states have passed recreational marijuana legislation.
Federally, the sale and consumption of marijuana for recreation remains illegal. However, Chuck Schumer, the Senate minority leader, recently tabled the Marijuana Freedom and Opportunity bill that seeks to remove the drug from the Federal government’s long list of controlled drugs. The bill also seeks to regulate the drug’s sale and consumption for recreational use.
This means that in the not so distant future, weed will be legal to use recreationally across the length and breadth of the country.
Where is Marijuana legal around the world?
You do not have to be a Canadian or an American to use marijuana recreationally. This is because there are several jurisdictions across the world that have also decriminalized the herb through enacting their own marijuana legislation. They include:
Uruguay – This was the very first country in the world to legalize cannabis back in 2013. The country has just recently allowed sales of the product in local pharmacies, although the purchase is restricted to its citizens only.
Spain – The planting and consumption of weed is not a punishable offense in Spain. The sale of cannabis is technically prohibited. However, there are over 800 “private” marijuana clubs across the country that one can easily join to consume marijuana recreationally.
South Africa – The South African constitutional court recently ruled that marijuana is legal. Individuals are legally permitted to grow and use weed privately.
Peru – The possession of weed is not penalized in Peru provided it is for private, personal, and immediate use. The Peruvian Congress also recently passed a bill that endorsed medical cannabis, permitting the production, importation, and sale of cannabidiol oil.
Netherlands – Cannabis is technically prohibited in the country, but its authorities generally overlook the “offense.” Selling marijuana is illegal but not really punishable, and so authorities tolerate it provided that the retailers abide by certain set rules. The rules include not to advertise the sale of marijuana and not to sell it to foreigners. However, Amsterdam’s notorious coffee shops are seemingly allowed to bend both rules.
What’s the Future for Marijuana Legalization?
Just like the countries mentioned in the section above, several countries across the world are also seeking to relax, amend, or rewrite their cannabis laws to make marijuana legal in their jurisdictions.
Below are some countries most likely to legalize weed next.
France – According to one of France’s television networks, Agnès Buzyn, the French Health Minister, recently stated that the French government will soon start reviewing its anti-narcotics laws to decriminalize cannabis. The move is meant to allow the police to redirect their efforts and resources towards fighting more serious crimes, and to boost government revenues by regulating and taxing the sale of the herb.
Luxembourg – This tiny European country recently announced that cannabis will soon be officially decriminalized for recreational use by grownups. Many commentators expect it to become the first EU member to legalize the recreational use of marijuana.
Italy – Even though medical cannabis is already legalized in Italy, several politicians are fighting for its recreational legalization as well. According to one of the country’s major television stations, this suggestion has made its way to the country’s parliament and is under serious discussion.
United States – In spite of being recreationally legal in 10 different states and medically approved in over 30 states, the use of marijuana is still prohibited by the United States federal government. However, according to polls, a huge number of Americans support marijuana legalization. There is also a bill in Congress right now seeking to legalize and regulate the recreational use of marijuana.
Lebanon – The speaker of the Lebanese government, Nabih Berri, told the American ambassador, Elizabeth Richard, that the Lebanese government was making plans to proceed with the legalization of marijuana for medical use.