With Canada’s legalization of cannabis fully underway, more and more countries are looking at their own cannabis laws.
Canada is the second country to fully legalize cannabis use. Uruguay was the first country to allow cannabis to be sold. However, in Uruguay, the first sales of cannabis in pharmacies came more than 3.5 years after the initial legislation was passed.
The benefit for other countries currently considering legalization is that they can sit back and observe before charging forward. Both Canada and Uruguay have learned a lot during their roll-out of legislation, with other countries taking note.
Canada’s Current Pot Struggles
Canada officially legalized cannabis in October of 2018. It’s been exciting for consumers, but it’s also been a slow start for retailers in Canada. It’s not regulations or administration that’s holding up the process though; it’s the massive cannabis shortage being experienced across the country.
Way back in November, the Alberta Gaming Liquor Cannabis Commission (AGLC) put out a moratorium on new cannabis retail licenses. The supply just wasn’t coming in at that time. However, the moratorium was lifted in May, with the commission promising to grant 5 new licenses per week. However, other provinces have been experiencing similar shortages that haven’t improved much in recent months.
While the shortages indicate Canadians are loving their newfound recreational drug, the statistics actually indicate there’s a bit of nationwide regret about the 2019 changes. A Dalhousie University study found support for legalization has dropped significantly in the last 2 years.
New Zealanders seeking marijuana as a medical treatment option had their wishes granted in December of 2018, but in the wake of Canada’s recreational legalization, there’s still room for the country to press forward.
Now, a binding referendum will be held in New Zealand in 2020 during their general election to see if New Zealanders want to legalize pot. Pot smoking is already common in New Zealand, but police overlook offenders to focus on the major illegal producers.
Mexico has been taking slow steps toward the legalization of marijuana for a while now. In 2009, possession of up to 5 grams was decriminalized. President Andrés Manuel López Obrador recently moved to open the use of all illegal drugs up even more, calling the current laws “unsustainable.”
In the United States, legalization has to occur at the state level. This has created an extremely diverse map of states that have legalized cannabis use at varying levels.
As of today, 10 states allow recreational marijuana use, with Illinois and several other states well on the way to joining them. Even some of the most conservative states like Texas are leaning toward supporting the legalization move. Many states have legalized medical use and CBD, with only a few states still outlawing cannabis in all its forms.
Europeans love their CBD and cannabis. In fact, Europe is set to have the world’s largest cannabis market within the next ten years.
Of course, legalizing marijuana (even medical marijuana) in the European Union is a little more difficult. Every country within the EU that’s looking at legalization seems to have a slightly different approach when it comes to laws, products, and uses. The European Union is currently looking at creating a standardized approach to medical cannabis.