The legalization of marijuana is for either recreational or medical purposes that differs across the world. Legalization covers its possession, consumption, cultivation and distribution.While marijuana is illegal in most countries of the world, others have decriminalized its possession and consumption for medical and recreational use.
Most countries in East Africa and Asia have serious penalties against offenders. In these countries, possession of marijuana even in small quantities attracts serious punishment like imprisonment for years. On April 9, 2018, the Canadian Senate has passed a bill and the prime minister has assented to the legalization of marijuana which will take effect on October 17, 2018.
This will make the Country of Canada the second Nation after Uruguay to fully legalize the use of marijuana. However, the use of marijuana is still illegal in the US although most states have legalized its usage.
In the light of the above, this article will take a look at the legality surrounding the use of marijuana. So, sit back and relax while we walk you through this subject matter.
WHAT DOES LAW ON LEGALIZING MARIJUANA SAYS?
The law for the legalization of marijuana states that you cannot be arrested, prosecuted or convicted for the use of marijuana if you comply with the laws regarding the place, age and the quantity consumed. There is the possibility of you being arrested and convicted for using or selling marijuana if you are not complying with the states’ laws on its taxation and license.
IN HOW MANY COUNTRIES HAVE MARIJUANA BEEN LEGALIZED?
Legalization of marijuana is based on its purpose of use. Therefore, countries that have legalized its use for recreational purposes are Canada, Uruguay, Georgia and nine states in the US and the District of Columbia. Countries such as Spain and the Netherlands have resolved to tolerate its sales at specific quarters.
Countries where the use of marijuana for medical purpose is allowed include Australia, Chile, Canada, Poland, Colombia, Italy, Israel, Greece, Germany, the Netherlands, UK, and Peru. Although 31 states in the US have legalized the use of Marijuana for medical purposes, it is still a criminal offense at the federal level.
WHY DO GOVERNMENTS WANT TO LEGALIZE MARIJUANA?
Legislators and concerned organizations are seeking to legalize marijuana because it will:
- Reduce harm: legalization of marijuana will mitigate the harm that its use has on youngsters since there is presently no regulation. Criminalization of marijuana has failed to control the youths from abusing the drugs.
- Create jobs: by legalizing marijuana, one of the greatest cash crops will be recognized by law and this will create more jobs and boost economic activities and opportunities in the growth and sales of marijuana.
- Save money: the amount of resources that are spent in the enforcement of the laws against the use and sale of marijuana will be used for the protection of lives and properties of the citizens other than the funding of correction centers and court cases. In addition to this, the states and local governments will be engaged in a new source of tax by regulating the sales of marijuana.
- Promote consumer safety: it is the responsibility of the regulatory body to ensure the safety of the marijuana product that is consumed by members of the public. For the product to be approved and legalized, it must be tested and approved, meaning, consumers will have updated information on the product they use.
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF RECREATIONAL MARIJUANA?
Recreational marijuana implies that you are taking the drugs just to have fun or feel high. For teenagers, it is illegal to use marijuana for recreational purposes. Also, under the US federal law, the use of marijuana is prohibited; but in the states where its use has been legalized, it can only be used by adults for recreation. In this case, all these states prohibit persons under 21 from the recreational use of marijuana.
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF MEDICAL MARIJUANA?
Researchers have reported that marijuana has the potential to assist in the treatment of health conditions like pain, epilepsy, pain etc. Although there is limited information on the subject and extracts from marijuana which has not been fully certified to help in managing health conditions have been used by various patients.
The District of Columbia and 25 states of the US have passed legislation to permit the use of marijuana as prescribed by medical professionals.
These laws are yet to be challenged by the federal government but you cannot transport marijuana from states where its use is legalized to a state where its use is illegal.
The use of marijuana is yet to be approved by the FDA and this has limited its growth and sale as a medicine in the US. However, researchers are working on the medicinal properties of marijuana and its extracts.
The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has made plans for increasing the number of places where marijuana would be grown for scientific research purposes.
The legalization of the use of marijuana for medical purposes depends on the findings of the scientists who are yet to come out with concrete evidence to support its medicinal benefits.
WHAT ARE THE EFFECTS OF MARIJUANA LEGALIZATION ON YOUNGSTERS?
The implications of the legalization of marijuana on the underage include:
- Increase in its use because of its acceptance by the society and increased availability.
- Other formulations of the substance may be introduced after it is legalized which is bound to increase its potency on the consumer.
- It is yet unclear what effects its use will have on the cognition, disorder and school performance of the teenager.
WHAT ARE THE SIDE EFFECTS OF MARIJUANA?
Excess use of marijuana could affect your:
- Reaction time
- Short-term memory
- Perception of time and distance.
MARIJUANA TUSSLE BETWEEN CANADA AND AMERICA-
Based on reports from the Canadian government, about C$5.6 billion worth of marijuana in the black market is exported to the US. The government has thus decided to shut down the gains made by the black market in legalizing the commodity.
The Canadian border is much longer than the Mexican’s yet the US spends much money and resources in policing the Mexican boundary.
There is a lot of tendency that the American soil will be flooded with marijuana from the porous Canadian border. The porosity of the border will allow marijuana to be smuggled to both legal and illegal states.
The US is on the brink of facing more problems because the black market can only be outlawed if every country legalizes the commodity at the same time.
As more of the growers of the commodity in Canada shifts to the US markets, there is the expectation of further pricing pressure in the US markets where marijuana has been legalized.
There is also the tendency that the black market would lead to the legalization of marijuana in the US. This is because the Canadian black-market cost and production advantages will cause a decline in the patronage of legal dispensers in the US. The government of the states will lose its grip on tax revenues and the federal government will be flooded with complaints from various law enforcement agents which will force its hands to legalize marijuana.
Legalization of marijuana in Canada will increase the pro-marijuana political groups that have been established in the US. It will be more difficult for the US to police the two borders against drug smuggling.
Thus, we believe that in a few years ahead, marijuana will be legalized for recreational use in the US.
WHAT IS THE DECRIMINALIZATION OF MARIJUANA?
Decriminalization of marijuana is different from legalization of marijuana. Decriminalization implies that a state has amended its laws to regard certain acts an offence against the law but the offender will not be prosecuted.
In the context of marijuana, this implies that persons found in possession of a certain quantity of the substance which is meant to be used personally will not be prosecuted or made to face any jail term. In many states in the US, possession of small amounts of marijuana is compared to a violation of minor traffic rules.
In some states were marijuana have been decriminalized, possession of the herbs in larger quantities will attract huge penalties. Being aware of the criminal laws of each of the states is highly essential especially if you are caught in the possession of marijuana.
COUNTRIES WHERE THE USE OF MARIJUANA REMAINS ILLEGAL AND WHY?
The following countries of the world prohibit the use of marijuana for any purpose:
|Antigua and Barbuda||Armenia||Azerbaijan||Bahamas||Bahrain|
|Bolivia||Bosnia & Herzegovina||Botswana||Brunei||Bulgaria|
|Burkina Faso||Burundi||Cambodia||Cape Verde||CAR|
|Chad||China||Comoros||Democratic Republic of Congo||Republic of the Congo|
|East Timor||Egypt||El Salvador||Equatorial Guinea||Eritrea|
|Guinea Bissau||Guyana||Haiti||Honduras||Hong Kong|
|Panama||Papua New Guinea||Philippines||Qatar||Rwanda|
|Saudi Arabia||Senegal||Serbia||Seychelles||Sierra Leone|
|Singapore||Slovakia||Solomon Islands||Somalia||South Korea|
HERE IS WHY MARIJUANA IS ILLEGAL IN THE COUNTRIES LISTED ABOVE-
Most people believe that the illegality of marijuana is for the right motives which are to protect the user from harm and other negative effects. In terms of health, users of this drug might become addicted.
However, it appears these effects have been a product of research but it is never the case. There has been no significant study that has proved that the use of marijuana is harmful to the human health.
Marijuana is less harmful than tobacco and alcohol which has been legalized in most quarters. The ban on marijuana which is more recent has emanated from religion, business, politics or racism or simply that people under the influence of this drug are likely to disobey governmental authorities or established rules of the land.