Cannabis around the globe

Hey folks! Time again to sit back and fill your brain with some cannabis knowledge courtesy of your friends at Circa 1818. Normally, we like to keep the focus of this blog on our little corner of the world, reveling in the glory of all things Canadian and cannabis related. However, this week we’re going to be broadening our horizons and looking at how the rest of the world looks at cannabis, and how far along they are on the path towards legalization and regulation in their own markets. So, bust out those world maps and get ready to do some imaginary globe trotting! (Authors note: if anyone wants to do some real globe trotting, I’m desperate to do some travelling and fit in most overhead compartments. Just saying.)

Canada vs The World

As I’ve mentioned several times before, when it comes to legal regulation of cannabis for the purposes of recreational use, Canada is only the second country to take that initiative and follow through on not only decriminalization but also legalization. Which makes us some of the luckiest people in the world! Cannabis has amazing potential to enrich our lives when used appropriately and we’re on the very cutting edge of that revolution. Not everyone is so lucky though and one doesn’t have to look very far to see people who are having a very different experience when it comes to weed and the laws surrounding it.

Probably the most obvious example we can point out are our neighbors to the south. In the US of A it is still illegal on the federal level to produce and distribute cannabis, with some exceptions. However, because many of their laws vary state by state, the USA’s national stance on cannabis is not the whole story. Most people are aware that there are several states that have legalized cannabis for recreational and medicinal use, most famously California. Which is appropriate given how much choice ganja originated in the Golden State. They have been rocking the legal weed since 2016, so they’ve been rolling in the legal cannabis for a couple years longer than us, making them a great state to look at when trying to determine the future of cannabis in Canada. While California is certainly the most famous of the states that have legalized cannabis, they are far from the only one. There are at present 22 states that have legalized cannabis for recreational use while another 9 states have decriminalized it. There are even more US states that have legalized and regulated medicinal cannabis as well. So, slowly but surely our American friends are making their way towards nationwide legalization.

Meanwhile, across the Atlantic ocean, several countries in Europe are tackling their own obstacles on the road to legalization and recreational markets.  Notably, Germany is on the road to legalization of cannabis for the purposes of recreational sales, although they’ve hit several roadblocks along the way (mostly the rest of Europe being super conservative when it comes to the sale of cannabis). Still, even without legalization, millions of Germans consume cannabis already, with it being legal for medicinal use under certain conditions since about 2016.

If we hop down a bit to the middle east, we see a swathe of countries where cannabis is still illegal, but in some countries these laws are not strongly enforced. The only exception to this would be Israel, where cannabis has been decriminalized (meaning you get a finger waggle and a fine if you get caught, not prison time) since 2019 and has been legal for medicinal use since the 1990’s.

A bit further south and east on the continent of Africa, you’ll find a place mostly bereft of legal options to consume or grow cannabis. Notable exceptions include South Africa, where it is legal to grow and consume cannabis for personal use but not for sale. As of right now there aren’t many initiatives to legalize cannabis, but also not a lot of infrastructure in place to police its use.

Over in Asia, the cannabis situation is a bit more contextual. In India, it is illegal with exceptions made for the consumption of Bhang, which is a concoction made with cannabis that is consumed ritualistically as part of religious ceremonies honoring the god Shiva. On the opposite end of the spectrum in China, cannabis is super illegal with possession carrying a penalty of up to 15 days without prosecution and a hefty fine. It is similarly illegal in Japan, with exceptions made for CBD. Fun fact, apparently no one knows for sure if cannabis is illegal in North Korea. It definitely is in South Korea, but North Korea’s isolationist status makes it very difficult to get information from them, and as s result we have some conflicting information about whether it’s been decriminalized or not.

Wow…so not a lot of options for regulated weed outside of Canada then?

Nope! There are a however mess of other countries that have also decriminalized cannabis or legalized it for medicinal use, but I am not going to bore you with a breakdown of that level. The point is, when you look at all the countries in the world, we’re still one of the only ones who have opted to proceed with regulated recreational sales, thus adding yet another reason for us to count our blessings that we were born here in Canada!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top
Scroll to Top
circa 1818 logo in green
circa 1818 logo in green

you look so young!

are you over 19?

You must be 19 years of age or more