Published on: 21/10/2022
The use of cannabis is still controversial, but the rest of the world has unique situations.
Recently, we have been forced to address the issue of the legalisation of cannabis, and its derivative products, concerning uses other than therapeutic and pharmacological purposes.
A topic that is still being discussed worldwide: more than a few countries have adopted specific legislative measures, considering cannabis as a product very different from other narcotic substances.
Let’s find out how Europe and several non-European countries have decided to handle the cannabis issue from a social and legislative perspective. Which countries allow its use freely and without any penalty, and in which others, on the contrary, can quickly find themselves involved in rather unpleasant situations.
Use of cannabis and its derivatives
In Italy, the law currently allows the use of cannabinoid substances only as a pharmacological product, with a regular prescription administered under medical supervision.
Although decriminalised, recreational and personal use of marijuana is considered an administrative offence. This decision also applies to home cultivation: although the Supreme Court decriminalised the cultivation of a small amount of hemp for personal use only, the administrative offence remains.
It can be said that the only legal cannabis is that which can be bought in pharmacies, even though patients who use it as a treatment for chronic pain have great difficulty finding therapeutic cannabis, which is only available in some pharmacies and produced in quantities far below demand.
Worldwide, countries that have already legalised the use of medical cannabis include Australia, Canada, most of the United States, Colombia, Peru, Israel, Europe, Germany, Greece, the Netherlands, Poland, and the United Kingdom.
Regulations on the nonmedical use of marijuana in Europe
Having discussed medical cannabis, let us now see what happens around the world regarding the recreational use of cannabis: outside any drug therapy, legislation varies widely from country to country. In the European Union, the only, and the first, country to have legalised both the cultivation/production and personal use of cannabis for adults was Luxembourg.
In the Netherlands, a country with a reputation for being the kingdom of freedom, cannabis can only be sold in coffee shops and licensed premises, in minimum and individual quantities. In Spain, one can grow and even smoke marijuana only indoors and in limited quantities, while transport and use in public places are prohibited.
Portugal was the first country in the world to decriminalise the consumption of drugs for personal use. Still, the penalty is arrest for those found in possession of a quantity more significant than that established for individual consumption.
Belgium considers cannabis illegal but allows the cultivation of female plants. In Switzerland, both use and sale are illegal. However, in some cantons, the cultivation and possession of cannabis are now decriminalised.
The Czech Republic allows the cultivation of cannabis for personal use and the possession of a maximum amount of 15 grams. In Malta, adults can grow up to 4 cannabis plants and possess a maximum of 7 grams.
In contrast, marijuana is illegal in Germany, France, Ireland, the United Kingdom, Estonia, Hungary, Cyprus, and Finland. In some of these countries, the use of cannabis can lead to arrest and imprisonment, although, in reality, this happens quite rarely.
Laws and regulations in the world for personal cannabis use
As we have said, around the world, the use of cannabis is regulated according to choices that differ widely from place to place; however, Uruguay was the first country to legalise it. Remaining in South America, Bolivia and Paraguay, possession and consumption of cannabis are illegal. In Colombia and Mexico, marijuana and its derivatives are decriminalised, while in Chile, it is only permitted for therapeutic purposes.
In China and Japan, cannabis, as well as any other narcotic substance, is entirely illegal. In contrast, in the East, in India, the transport, sale, and consumption of cannabis and its derivatives are only permitted in some instances. In Cambodia, although cannabis is illegal, a certain tolerance is granted for both cultivation and use.
In Canada, cannabis is considered illegal, but therapeutic or research use is permitted in some cases. As for the United States, only in Colorado is it considered legal, but it is decriminalised in 14 other states.
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