After decades of slow building, marijuana's momentum is finally kicking into high gear. Marijuana legalization has taken the global stage, and we're now poised to see what life looks like post-prohibition. Uruguay has had legal retail cannabis since mid-2017 and experienced a huge drop in drug-related crime. Social order has remained intact, even as the South American nation is having trouble keeping up with sky-high demand for marijuana. Recently, Canada became the first G7 nation to legalize marijuana nationwide, becoming a prototype for large-scale international marijuana. With these two countries leading the charge, what other nations can we expect to see follow suit? Here are five more countries that may soon expand the international legality of marijuana.
This small, but bold, country is already known for surprising power moves like jailing bankers after its 2008 financial crisis. Its population is also known for its appreciation of a good strain, despite the total illegality of smoking or possessing weed. In fact, data from UNUDOC Statistics shows Iceland has the highest concentration of pot smokers. Just over 18 percent of Icelanders use cannabis. With this in mind, legalization may be the next logical step.
Colombia's reputation for drug violence is immense, to say the least. The Colombian government has attempted to minimize the carnage in part by legalizing medical marijuana. They have also legitimized cannabis by allowing its cultivation for export. This nation has realized the best way to take drug traffickers off the map is to funnel cannabis into legal channels. Full legalization makes perfect sense for Colombia.
Some may be surprised to find out cannabis is actually illegal in the Netherlands. Although its capital, Amsterdam, is an international marijuana icon, those legendary cannabis cafes are technically against the law. But thanks to the good graces of the authorities, coffee shops can have 500 grams of cannabis on hand at once. Individuals carrying five grams or less are usually tolerated, and growers can cultivate around five plants before they become a target for prosecution. With such lax laws, and the tax revenue to be made from selling cannabis to tourists, true legalization makes sense as a next step for the Netherlands.
The United Kingdom has a huge problem on its hands when it comes to cannabis. Although weed remains firmly illegal, and seriously ill children have gotten their CBD taken away from them, the U.K. is actually the world's biggest producer of legal cannabis. In 2016, the nation exported 95 tons of weed, sold for research and medicinal use. Legal cannabis may have an advocate in the royal family as well, as newly-minted Duchess Meghan Markle's half-sister uses medical marijuana to manage her multiple sclerosis. It may be time for the sun to set on British prohibition.
United States of America
A significant portion of United States residents have been holding out hope that the U.S. will embrace legal marijuana on a federal level, and we're closer than ever to making that a reality. Although Attorney Jeff Sessions still rails against the imagined evils of cannabis, more states are adding medical marijuana programs and flat-out legalizing cannabis. Where once our politicians would never dream of taking action against prohibition, many are now gathering behind a measure called the STATES Act. The acronym stands for Strengthening the Tenth Amendment Through Entrusting States, and the act would prohibit the federal government from going after legal marijuana in states that have voted to legalize it.
President Trump has already indicated probable support for the bill, meaning we may be on the cusp of a huge legalization breakthrough. Here's hoping the United States listens to its people and hops on the international marijuana train.