Here’s What Cannabis Decriminalization Looks Like Around The World

Canada is now on track to make history by becoming the second country in the world to legalize recreational cannabis (Uruguay being the first back in 2014). Canada’s Cannabis Act will allow anyone over the age of 18 to legally purchase and use marijuana. Naturally, legislative issues and policy details will need to be ironed out but they’ll most likely be looking at other countries who’ve successfully manged decriminalization of cannabis as examples to follow.

Uruguay

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Uruguay’s comprehensive legalization allowed adults to buy up to 40 grams of weed from approved pharmacies. Registration and purchase tracking are mandatory, but registered pot users can participate in smoking clubs and grow dozens of plants individually or within cooperatives.

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Spain

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While cannabis cannot be sold legally in Spain, the country offers hundreds of cannabis clubs for smoking and other forms of consumption. Spain permits cannabis for private use but bans public use, however, penalties for public consumption aren’t heavily enforced as law enforcement doesn’t seem to view this as a priority.

Jamaica

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Weed is inextricably intertwined with Jamaican and Rastafarian culture, which had led many to assume that marijuana consumption is legal in the country.

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Believe it or not, weed has been illegal in Jamaica until just recently. In 2015, lawmakers voted to decriminalize cannabis, making it legal to possess up to 2 ounces and grow up to five plants in one household.

United States

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At the federal level, the consumption and sale of cannabis are still illegal. But as of the 2017 elections, medical marijuana is available in more than half of the country’s states and recreational use has now been expanded to nine states which are: Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon, Washington and Washington, DC.

The Netherlands

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Amsterdam is one of the world’s most popular destinations for cannabis lovers. For over 40 years, the possession and sale of up to 5 grams of pot has been decriminalized. But laws may not be as relaxed here as one may think.

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Growing marijuana plants in The Netherlands is illegal, so the famed coffee shops where proprietors sell pot must obtain it illegally. However, the country is on track to establishing a system of legalized cultivation to eliminate this odd gray area.

Portugal

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Portugal may very well be the global example of drug decriminalization in general. Their efforts to reframe drug use as a public health issue rather than a criminal one has had a large influence on many governments who are looking to revisit their own ineffective drug policies.

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Since their 2001 decriminalization overhaul, the country has seen a drop in heroin use and other hard drugs.

India

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Much like Jamaica, cannabis is tied to many spiritual, cultural and medical practices in India. Yet, the herb remains illegal. But Hindu worshippers in holy cities are permitted to buy cannabis edibles and cannabis-infused drinks from government-authorized stores.

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