Most Americans have noticed the recent trend toward marijuana legalization on a state level in recent years but, while the federal government has legalized hemp-based products across the board, marijuana remains illegal at the federal level. Thankfully, there are plenty of other countries across the world that have taken a more enlightened approach. Read on to find out about 10 countries where marijuana is now legal.
Canada: Legal Recreational Marijuana Possession, Cultivation, and Sale
Canada officially legalized recreational possession and use of marijuana on October 17, 2018. Each province has different regulations regarding the distribution, sale, cultivation, and legal age for use but, in most places, adults over the age of 18 or 19 can buy cannabis, consume it in private spaces, and grow up to four plants at home.
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Uruguay: Legal Recreational Marijuana Possession, Cultivation, and Sale
Uruguay became the first country to completely legalize weed for adults ages 18 and up in 2013. Since 2017, adults have been able to purchase commercial marijuana in Uruguay from just about any pharmacy. Those who want to buy, sell or grow cannabis need to register with the government prior to engaging in any commercial transaction, but there’s no need to get the government involved when simply smoking a bowl with friends.
Georgia: Legal Recreational Marijuana Possession
Georgia enacted a Constitutional Court ruling in 2018 to legalize the personal use of marijuana, making it the first former Soviet nation to take this important step. Unfortunately, no steps have been taken by the government to date to regulate its sale, which means that buying or selling marijuana remains a criminal offense. It’s fine to have marijuana and to consume it, but there is no legal way to purchase it.
South Africa: Legal Recreational Marijuana Possession and Cultivation
Like Georgia, South Africa has only legalized the possession of marijuana. However, South Africa’s courts have taken another important step. Their ruling also allows adults to grow their own marijuana at home for private consumption.
South Africa’s parliament has yet to determine how much cannabis is an acceptable amount to grow or use in private spaces. Using marijuana in public or selling it to others is still illegal.
Spain: Legal Marijuana Possession and Cultivation
Spain is often thought of as a conservative administration, but that just doesn’t hold true when it comes to the country’s stance on marijuana use and possession. The government has legalized not just possession of marijuana but also its cultivation for personal use. Spain has gone one step further by allowing cannabis clubs.
Cannabis clubs allow marijuana smokers to work together to grow their own marijuana plants. Members pay dues to the club for upkeep and growing costs then congregate to smoke together and distribute the goods without the worry of arrest. The clubs maintain strict membership systems, though, so it’s not typically possible for visitors to secure entry.
Netherlands: Legal Medicinal Cannabis and Decriminalized Recreational Use
Medical marijuana products with low THC content can be purchased in just about any pharmacy in the Netherlands. Those who want to use recreational marijuana should note that, while it is not completely legal, possession of up to five grams for personal use has been decriminalized. The Netherlands’ “coffee shops” supply cannabis consumers with high-quality, more-potent products. Smokers can also consume their purchases right in the shops.
Jamaica: Legal Medical Cannabis and Decriminalized Recreational Use
Jamaica is often the first place pot tourists consider when planning a vacation, but the reality is that recreational use is only decriminalized, not completely legal. People can possess up to two ounces of cannabis or cultivate up to five plants without worrying about jail time, but only medical marijuana cardholders and Rastafarians are allowed to legally use cannabis and cannabis products.
Mexico: Legal Medical Cannabis and Plans for Change
Mexico allows medical marijuana patients to purchase and possess cannabis with less than one percent THC. That doesn’t help recreational users, or even all medical users, much, but there’s good news. In 2018, Mexico’s Supreme Court ruled that marijuana prohibition is unconstitutional. No steps have been taken to explicitly legalize marijuana yet, but the Court’s ruling means it’s just a matter of time before Mexican citizens, and possibly visitors, will be able to cultivate, possess, and use cannabis without fear of unnecessary court proceedings.
Australia: Legal Medical Marijuana and Some Legal Recreational Use
Marijuana laws vary substantially across Australia, but medical marijuana is legal on a federal level. Each state or territory has its own regulations regarding who qualifies to get a medical marijuana card, but all of them have some kind of system in place.
Recently, the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) authorized the personal use and cultivation of cannabis for recreational users, as well. South Australia and the Northern Territory have decriminalized personal use but have not yet completely legalized it. Buying or selling weed remains illegal even in the country’s capital.
Czech Republic: Legal Medical Marijuana, Decriminalized Personal Use
The Czech Republic legalized medical marijuana in 2013, but recreational use is still technically illegal. The country has, however, passed legislation that decriminalizes possession of up to 10 grams of marijuana and cultivation of five plants or fewer.
The Bottom Line
It’s been an exciting decade for marijuana enthusiasts. More countries than ever are passing laws that legalize both medical and recreational use and others already have plans in the works to follow suit. That’s good news for anyone who wants to use cannabis to treat medical conditions, reduce stress, or just have a great time. For those living in countries or states where marijuana remains illegal, it’s best to stick with hemp-derived CBD products to avoid legal issues.
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