Cannabis laws vary from country to country. While the medicinal use of the drug is legal in some parts of the world, possession of the same is largely prohibited. There are nations that dole out punishments ranging from lenient to severe, however, some countries have decriminalised the possession of cannabis in small quantities.
For instance, Canada is all set to lift a nationwide ban on recreational marijuana. The legislation, that was introduced in the parliament, seeks to allow adults to possess 30 grams of marijuana in public. If the legislation gets approved, Canadians will be able to smoke weed legally by July 1, 2018. While the deferral government has set the legal age for smoking marijuana at 18, it has allowed provinces to determine if the bar should be higher. The provinces will also retain the power to decide how the drug will be sold and used.
That said, let’s look at the places that have legalised marijuana in one form or the other.
While the sale, possession, and consumption of marijuana remains prohibited under the Narcotics Act, it is widely available in the edible form known as ‘bhang’. Forming an integral part of the Hindu culture where Lord Shiva has a special taste for the drug, bhang is considered a beneficial herb that relaxes the mind and helps achieve higher levels of transcendence. It is widely cultivated on Indian ghats and is often consumed as thandai, a traditional drink usually taken on the festival of Holi. While marijuana remains banned, bhang is legal in some parts of India such as in Uttar Pradesh where the shops that sell it are fully licenced to do so.
Moreover, last year Uttarakhand became the first state to legalise cannabis cultivation but only for industrial purposes.
2. The Netherlands
After marijuana cultivation became legal in the Netherlands, it became easier for the coffee shops to procure and sell marijuana. Amsterdam currently is budding with over 250 coffee shops where you can smoke up without getting disturbed. As in any coffee shop, you can ask to sniff the buds before buying your choice of weed.
Owing to a legal loophole, the Spanish are free to grow cannabis for private consumption. Legal ‘weed dens’ can be found sprawled across Madrid, Barcelona, and Valencia where clubs invite strict memberships. Barcelona’s Choko Club is a favourite among the locals that hires its own breed of ‘budtenders’.
Colorado joined Washington in 2016 to become the first two states of America to legalise recreational use of marijuana. Here, both locals and tourists can buy up to 28 grams of weed. There are cannabis-friendly hotels and dispensaries that allow people to light up whenever they want.
5. North Korea
It may sound unbelievable but North Korea is very tolerant toward the sale and consumption of marijuana – both in private and in public! Known as ‘yoksam’, marijuana is not a ‘prioritised drug’ for the government to treat it as illegal.
In Uruguay, the law directs people to be the residents of the country and be over the age of 18 to legally buy marijuana. If you are a tourist, then it’s advisable to either befriend a local or sign up for a cannabis tour where you can literally smoke a joint on the steps of the Legislative Assembly!
You are breaking the law in Peru if you are caught with over 8 grams of cannabis on you. While you can use marijuana for personal use, growing and selling are prohibited.
In 2015, a ban on possession and use of marijuana was relaxed allowing people to carry up to 56 grams of the drug. Residents can also grow up to five plants especially for the use of religious purposes. In fact, marijuana makes for an important part of the Rastafarian culture where most of the traditions are rooted in the use of ‘wisdom weed’.
While cultivation, sale, and transportation of the drug are illegal in Argentina, it’s still decriminalised. Locals can smoke a bong in the privacy of their homes band and consumption for medicinal purposes is also totally fine.
Marijuana became legal for recreational use in 2014 following which people above the age of 21 can possess up to 28 grams. They can also grow up to six plants as long it’s done in private. Well, finding privacy in Alaska can’t be that hard, now can it?
In 2016, Mainers won the right to possess a whopping 71 grams of marijuana – literally double the limit in other countries. Retail stores selling weed are expected to open their doors in 2018.
Cannabis was legalised after 1994 where possessing up to 22 grams for personal consumption was allowed. In 2016, the Supreme Court of Justice ruled that anyone carrying a greater quantity will not be criminally prosecuted if the possession is for personal use. Also, the country had made it legal for residents to possess up to 20 plants for private consumption.
Following 2015, Oregonians could carry up to 28 grams of weed and grow up to four plants at home. Hell, they can even gift marijuana edibles, as long as they are consumed in private.
While possessing up to 28 grams of weed is fine, residents are not allowed to grow pot in their backyard. As per the law, they must reside at least 40 kilometres away from the nearest clinic to become eligible for a grower’s licence.
Massachusetts allows its residents the freedom to carry and consume small quantities of pot and grow up to 12 plants at home.
California became the first American state to legalise medical marijuana in 1996. In 2016, however, it made itself more pot-friendly by legalising the use and possession of the drug without a prescription. People can carry up to 28 grams of marijuana. By 2018, California will start issuing licences to clinics, allowing them to sell weed for non-medical uses.
In 2009, Mexico decriminalised the personal use and consumption of marijuana. In 2015, it permitted four people from the Mexican Society for Responsible and Tolerant Personal Use to grow and smoke their own marijuana. In 2016, it voted to legalise medical marijuana but the bill is yet to become a law.