Where Is Marijuana Legal

Where Is Marijuana Legal


No country permits free unlimited use of marijuana; in no jurisdiction is it fully legal. Those few areas that permit marijuana use still have many restrictions on it:

  • California allows use of marijuana as a prescription medicine, for its pain-alleviating and relaxant effects; there is a list of conditions for which it may be prescribed.
  • Other areas in the USA have legalized marijuana, but the federal laws of the country trump state laws, making these state and local laws somewhat irrelevant and pointless. However, it is a cloudy issue (given the tangle of statements that is the Bill Of Rights). Basically, a federal agent may prosecute a person breaking a federal law, but the federal government cannot force or require the state government to assist in such prosecution or investigation and so many users escape punishment.
  • Marijuana in the Netherlands, contrary to popular belief, is illegal. However, the government has a policy of non-enforcement as a separation of ‘soft’ drugs from ‘hard’ ones. This involves people who have minimal amounts (5 plants or 5 grams per adult is the guideline amount) not being prosecuted or even investigated. “Coffee shops” are also often left alone, provided they have less than certain amounts on site.
  • India allows its sale for some Hindu rituals. All (legal) sales are made in government-owned shops.
  • Iranians use the seeds as a food, so their use this way is legal. Use as a psychoactive is illegal; however because of the large number of other herbs that are tolerated and legal, prosecution for this is rare.
  • Some other countries allow personal use and some small possession only (cultivation is sometimes permitted; dealing and trafficking are invariably still illegal). They include:
  • Argentina
  • Some states in Australia
  • Belgium
  • Chile
  • Colombia
  • Croatia
  • Czech Republic
  • Germany – if the amount is small, any possessed plant or drugs will be confiscated, but not prosecuted.
  • Macedonia
  • Mexico
  • Peru – possession of limited amounts is legal as long as the person does not possess any other drugs.
  • Portugal
  • Russia
  • Spain
  • Uruguay – personal use is legal but sale is not. The law does not specify an amount regarded as/as not for personal use.
  • Venezuela – possession in small amounts requires a person to take a drug rehabilitation course, but no prosecution.

Marijuana advocates across Canada are celebrating a May 16 Ontario court decision, which effectively legalized possession in Canada’s largest province.
On Friday, May 16, Ontario Superior Court Justice Steven Rogin upheld the lower court ruling of Justice Philips, concerning a case of pot possession in Ontario.

Justice Rogin agreed that the federal government had failed in its obligation to change the law to allow for medical use of marijuana, and so the entire law was void.

This decision is binding on Ontario’s lower courts, which means that no-one can be convicted of pot possession in Ontario. This effectively means that marijuana is now legal in Canada’s largest province.

It is expected that other Appeal courts across Canada will also ratify the decision. Related cases are making their way through the courts in at least four other provinces.

The federal government has appealed the case to Ontario’s Court of Appeal.

The “decrim” legislation being contemplated by Canada’s Liberal government will presumably be aimed at filling this void in Canada’s pot laws.

Marijuana advocates are encouraging pot smokers in Ontario to enjoy their new-found freedom. “The people of Ontario should be celebrating this monumental victory!” said Marc Emery of the BC Marijuana party. “Anywhere you can smoke tobacco, they should be smoking marijuana.”