Medical cannabis awareness and its legalization in several countries are fast changing the face of the health industry. In the United States alone, there has already been a significant reduction in prescription drug dosages in states where medical cannabis is legal, allowing Medicaid to save almost $476 million in 2014. According to New Frontier Data, a top analytics company, should all 50 states legalize medical cannabis, the pharmaceutical industry could see a huge drop in their sales by as much as $18.5 billion. Now, that’s a huge chunk!
To date, several countries have already decriminalized the possession of small quantities of cannabis, be it for medical, scientific, or recreational purposes.
Countries with Lax Cannabis Laws
The country with the laxest cannabis law is Uruguay. Citizens can possess, sell, transport, and even cultivate their own cannabis. If you’re thinking of visiting the country though, know that foreigners are prohibited from buying cannabis.
Spain also has a lax cannabis law. Its citizens can possess cannabis, but only in private areas. Once you are in a public area, possession of cannabis becomes illegal. You can also cultivate your own cannabis, but only for your personal consumption. Moreover, the plant should not be visible from the public view, in which case it becomes an administrative offense. Selling and transporting cannabis is illegal.
In Chile, it is illegal for citizens to produce, sell, and consume cannabis publicly, but it is decriminalized if it’s for private and at-home consumption as well as for medical purposes. Cultivation is legal if you have federal permission.
Cultivation and use of cannabis for medical and research purposes are legal in Australia, and it has also been decriminalized for personal use in some states. However, sale and transport are still considered illegal.
In Colombia, you can possess up to 22 grams of cannabis for personal use, be it medicinal or recreational use. You can even cultivate up to 20 plants for your own personal use and unlimited number of plants for medical and research purposes, as long as you have a license from the country’s National Anti-Narcotics Council. Selling and transporting of cannabis is only legal for medical and scientific purposes.
In Netherlands, selling cannabis is legal but only in designated “coffee shops.” It becomes illegal if sold outside the “coffee shops.” However, it is decriminalized if it’s five grams.
Other countries where medical cannabis is allowed are Canada, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Greece, Israel, Italy, Macedonia, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Peru, Poland, Puerto Rico, among others.
Countries with Strictest Cannabis Laws
Asian countries often have the strictest cannabis laws. In Japan and Malaysia, for example, possession of cannabis can land you in jail plus hard labor for five years. The same goes for Indonesia and the Philippines.
Some Middle Eastern countries where cannabis is illegal include the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia.
The Future of Medical Cannabis
Cannabis has long been used as a medicine, treating pain, inflammation, cataracts, and other chronic medical conditions including depression. Unfortunately, the demonization of cannabis in the 1930s saw a widespread prohibition of this herb.
Technological advancement, research studies, increasing awareness, and growing support are changing society’s views on cannabis once more. With the World Health Organization’s recent statement on CBD, we can assume we’ll see a spike in medical cannabis support in the coming years. .