A growing number of states in the United States of America and countries across the globe support marijuana as a legal substance, whether used medically or recreationally. As a result, the cannabis market has grown dramatically to $6.6 billion in 2016. Medical marijuana usage accounts for $4.7 billion and recreational usage makes up $1.9 billion of the market. With more countries joining up to legalize marijuana, the cannabis market is projected to grow to around $24 billion in 2025. Where in the world is marijuana legal? Here’s a list:
Legal Recreational Marijuana in the World
For recreational purposes, marijuana can be used legally in the following countries: Canada, Uruguay, Netherlands, Spain, Portugal, Jamaica and 8 states of the United States of America. The eight states in the USA where marijuana is legal for recreational purposes are Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, and Washington D.C.
However, there are legal limits to the consumption, purchase, and acquisition of marijuana peculiar to each country and state. Common across the different countries is limiting the use of recreational marijuana to adults at least 21 years of age, except Canada where an 18-year old is considered a legal consumer. Consumption of recreational marijuana is closely monitored. Quantities are limited from 2 grams in Jamaica to 40 grams in Uruguay. Purchase options are through government-controlled pharmacies or through private cannabis clubs. Recreational marijuana is consumed privately indoors.
In the USA, laws on the recreational consumption of marijuana varies with each of the eight states where it is legalized. The legal amount an individual is allowed to carry is usually one ounce of marijuana. Maine allows users to carry at least 2.5 ounces of marijuana. However, residents of California and Maine still do not have local state dispensaries.
Medical Marijuana Practice Across the Globe
About 20 countries worldwide allow marijuana ingestion for medical purposes. These are Argentina, Australia, Canada, Chile, Columbia, Croatia, Czech Republic, Finland, Germany, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Macedonia, Netherlands, Portugal, Romania, Spain, USA, and Uruguay. Most countries in the list opened up the legalization of medical marijuana only recently, mostly within 2015 and 2016.
In the USA, medical marijuana is legal in 29 states. These include Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and West Virginia, plus Washington D.C.
Countries where medical marijuana is legal follow strict laws. A patient is qualified for medical marijuana treatment if the condition is part of a specified list of ailments like arthritis, cancer, insomnia, chemotherapy, epilepsy, to name a few. Registration as a medical marijuana patient is required. Buying medical marijuana is limited to dispensaries or pharmacies for dosage tracking. A prescription from a physician licensed to dispense medical marijuana is required.
Legalizing marijuana does not mean creating a world of junkies and potheads. With governments implementing strict guidelines for the drug’s use and acquisition, marijuana can one day become a regulated substance similar to alcohol and cigarettes. As the cannabis industry grows and matures, marijuana products will become standardized and improved to counter any deficiencies and bad side effects. Revenues earned from taxes will be used to improve the community. More lives will be saved and hopefully, lesser lives will go to waste.