The march toward full cannabis legalization worldwide has been an excellent development for cannabis enthusiasts and businesses alike. However, it has created massive headaches for lawmakers across the world. Cannabis is now a regulated economic good in some areas but a completely illegal drug in others. The difficulty with this situation is that these places sometimes border each other; this makes effective policing challenging. It also confuses consumers who want to bring their cannabis from one place to another or purchase in a new area.
There are also different degrees of legality. For example, it is legal to possess and consume cannabis for valid medical reasons in some areas, but not for recreational purposes. This post breaks down the different rules and regulations around the consumption, possession, and cultivation of cannabis in other regions.
Legal for Recreational Use
If cannabis is legal for recreational use in your area, that means you can legally acquire and consume it for your enjoyment. You don’t need a medical reason to consume it, and you should be able to get it from a regulated seller.
However, this doesn’t mean users can simply do as they please with cannabis. There are various restrictions in different areas, similar to those that apply to tobacco and alcohol. For example, there is usually a minimum age at which you can buy and use adult-use cannabis. It usually is illegal to operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of cannabis.
Legal for Medical Use
Legalizing cannabis for medical use is a step more, and more states and countries have either taken or begun to consider. As cannabis has a wide range of confirmed medical applications, many policymakers have started looking at it as a therapeutic tool rather than a drug of abuse.
Under a system like this, users need a prescription from a doctor to access cannabis. Some areas allow doctors to decide on the medical issues that warrant a cannabis prescription, while others restrict prescriptions to pre-approved conditions. Some of the common reasons why users consume cannabis or any top quality CBD flower as medicine include:
- Chronic pain
- Anxiety, depression, and PTSD
- Loss of appetite
- Difficulty concentrating
Some jurisdictions have a situation under which no one is allowed to cultivate or sell cannabis, but the possession of a small amount does not amount to a criminal offense. If you are caught with an amount less than the allowed quantity (usually anywhere between five grams and two ounces, depending on the area), you may escape any penalty, or you might get a small civil sanction.
Despite the growing evidence for the effectiveness of cannabis in treating a host of medical issues, many countries still view the plant as an illegal drug. Under stricter regimes, cannabis users can face criminal charges for possessing even a small quantity of it.
The distinction between CBD and cannabis as it exists naturally is becoming more critical in today’s society, especially from a legal standpoint. Many areas that refuse to legalize proper cannabis will allow citizens to buy and use CBD.
CBD is entirely non-psychoactive. However, it carries many health benefits of ordinary cannabis, including pain management, improved sleep, and appetite. This study discusses the range of benefits cannabinoids can have for those who have cancer, including the relief of nausea and appetite stimulation.
Laws in the Different American States
America is a hugely interesting case study when it comes to cannabis legalization. There are two sources of law in the United States; the federal government and the governments of the individual states. When it comes to cannabis legalization, the state government rules trump those of the federal government. This means that cannabis is legal in many places in America, despite the fact the federal government lists the plant as a Schedule 1 Controlled Substance.
We’ve looked at the cannabis regime in some significant states below.
California has traditionally had one of the most liberal approaches to cannabis in the United States. The state government legalized recreational cannabis in 2016, and it’s now possible to stock up at a licensed dispensary in the state.
Texas is the second-most populous state after California. However, its approach to cannabis is very different. The plant remains illegal in Texas, although the state government has taken steps to legalize hemp.
New York currently does not impose a charge for the possession of an amount less than two ounces of cannabis. There is also a proposal to allow for full recreational legalization on the table at the moment.
Laws in Different Countries
The US is one of the global leaders in cannabis legalization, but it is by no means the only country in which you can legally spark up. Regulation is taking off worldwide; the countries below are some of those with the most progressive laws around cannabis.
Uruguay made history when it became the first country in the world to legalize cannabis in 2013 altogether. Cannabis users can purchase the plant from registered pharmacies.
Canada is another pioneering country when it comes to cannabis legalization. Recreational-use cannabis has been legally available to Canadians since 2018.
Contrary to popular belief, cannabis is not entirely legal in the Netherlands. While it’s legal to possess small amounts of cannabis and consume it in coffee shops, the plant’s cultivation remains illegal. This means that much cannabis production in the Netherlands takes place underground, with little transparency or quality control.
Marijuana legalization will eventually take hold almost everywhere. However, until it does, we will be left with a patchwork of different rules and regulations. This can confuse and can result in people getting in legal trouble. To avoid getting caught in this way, the best thing to do is read up on the legal implications of cannabis use in various areas, especially if you plan to travel or move permanently.
This is a guest post by Rebecca S. This post has been edited for syntax and grammar. The Law offices of Jay Leiderman is not responsible for the accuracy of the content herein or any opinions or ideas expressed herein. This post is for entertainment and literary value and is not intended as legal advice. This post does not establish an attorney-client relationship of any sort. If you have legal questions about ideas presented herein please contact a lawyer knowledgeable in this field of practice.