The Canadian government will legalize recreational marijuana by the summer of 2018. And while global opinion is becoming more pot friendly, Uruguay is still only one country that allows recreational cannabis right now. But could that change in the near future?
Here are 10 countries that could legalize marijuana in the near future:
10. United States of America
Is it crazy to put the United States on this list? Not really. Starting in 2018, one-eighth of the American population will have access to legal recreational marijuana in California alone! The American population largely supports legalization, and there are members in both parties who support those efforts. It’s still a few years down the line, but it’s definitely within grasp.
Earlier this year, Mexico legalized medical marijuana with a bill that received near unanimous support in their legislature. Many view decriminalization of the drug as a way to cripple the drug cartels that are hurting the nation. The government is considering measures that would allow people to possess a small amount of marijuana as well. Although it’s unclear if recreational legalization is on the table, the country seems very open to change.
Colombia is another country that’s struggled to defeat the illegal drug trade in their nation. The country has decided to take a new approach towards fighting cartels. They first decriminalized possession of marijuana, and then in 2016 legalized medical marijuana. The hope is for the marijuana trade to become a legitimate business run by corporations as opposed to cartels. If medical marijuana works at reducing drug traffickers, then recreational could be on the table.
Portugal may have some of the most liberal drug laws in the world. In 2000, the country made the dramatic step of decriminalizing ALL drugs. And instead of devolving into total anarchy filled with junkies, drug abuse, addiction and overdoses all plummeted. If more countries begin legalizing recreational marijuana, it’s likely they’ll jump on board as well.
Contrary to popular belief, marijuana is not legal in Jamaica. In fact, their drug laws were pretty draconian until a few years ago. In 2015, they decriminalized small amounts of possession, and in 2016 they legalized medical marijuana. But considering the country’s slow economic growth and the prosperity enjoyed by U.S. states with legalized marijuana, there’s a strong movement in the country to legalize cannabis recreationally.
Last Spring, France elected liberal-leaning president Emmanuel Macron. One of his first acts was eliminating mandatory prison sentences for minor marijuana offenses. Macron also expressed his desire to relax France’s other marijuana laws while campaigning, so it’s possible he’ll lead France down the path towards legalization.
Spain is actually one of the biggest countries for marijuana in Europe. It ranks fourth in terms of marijuana consumed and third in terms of cultivation. The drug is decriminalized and both consumption and cultivation for personal use are legal in private homes. But considering how much money is being made elsewhere, it’s hard to believe Spain won’t jump on the bandwagon.
3. Czech Republic
The Czech Republic (which is technically called Czechia now, but no one actually says that) has decriminalized marijuana and all other drugs, while also legalizing medical marijuana. The Czech Republic has become a huge tourist attraction for marijuana enthusiasts, and if other countries begin legalizing it, they’ll probably do so as well to continue bringing in those visitors.
Marijuana’s actually been an important part of Italy’s history. They were one of the top hemp producers in the world during the first half of the 20th century. In 2007, the country legalized medical marijuana, and it’s been so successful that growers have actually complained about not being able to keep up with demand. Earlier this year, several political groups began a movement to legalize marijuana recreationally. They’ve collected over 68,000 signatures, but the national government has not yet discussed their proposal. But if momentum persists, there may be another reason to visit Italy besides the pasta.
1. The Netherlands
Also contrary to popular belief, marijuana is not legal in The Netherlands. However, it is decriminalized for personal use and can be sold and consumed in coffee shops. Considering how liberal they already are with marijuana, it’s highly likely they’ll remove the few restrictions currently on the drug in the next few years.