Legalization of marijuana has reached a global scale with many countries passing legislations to overturn criminalization of the substance. Though the progress may be done in a snail pace, cannabis advocates can at least take a good cheer when  a certain country decriminalize the position of marijuana, and to some extent, make a resounding holler if  a legislation makes it legal to use medical marijuana.

And though hope for complete marijuana legalization is still far-fetched and seemingly remote to ever occur, there is a bright prospect when countries take a 360 degree turn in passing legislation for making cannabis less heinous of a substance that it has previously held in a wide global scale.

Considering medical reports on the health benefits of marijuana and the derivatives of the hemp plant, there should have been a vibrating  progress in passing laws that would decriminalize the possession and cultivation of marijuana in all countries. But I think, there is a still long way to go for that to happen.

On the business side, the cultivation of marijuana can provide a certain addition to potential revenue of a country. In the United States, through the sales tax of sale and cultivation, it could rake in billions of dollars from marijuana as reported. Even though it is illlegal in the federal level, there are states in the US such as Colorado, Alaska, Oregon and California where medical marijuana and even recreational use of the substance are legal but with certain prohibitions.

There are at least 25 states in the US including the District of Columbia where medical marijuana is legal. However, for other territories, the prospects for medical marijuana legalization is still blurry.

Amsterdam is known for coffeeshops serving smoking cannabis. And though it has gained notoriety in this regard, it has at least helped in increasing its vast tourism economy, which many adults would likely consider the European city an adult Disneyland.

One of the more recent places to legalize marijuana is Colombia, which legalized it medically in December, according to Bloomberg. This is a prime example of a country making moves to shift a large illegal market of marijuana into economic profit through producing different marijuana products.

From the Czech Republic to Croatia, here are the countries paving the way to pass  medical marijuana laws– and to a greater extent.

1. Uruguay

 This South American country is notable for legalizing marijuana on a national scale. In December 2013, it became legal to grow, sell and also consume cannabis in the country, the Guardian reported.

José Mujica has fully legalized any use of Cannabis in Uruguay. However, the law does not specify quantity for “personal amount” but the authorities will only cultivate the cannabis to be sold legally.

The new law says that buyers must be 18 or older and must be residents of Uruguay. The requirement of registry with the authoritiesin using the substance only by residents of the Latin country is an implication that tourists are not included in this legislation.

2. Colombia

In December 2015, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos passed a law to legalize medical marijuana in the Latin American country.

“Our goal is for patients to be able to access medications made in Colombia that are safe, high-quality and accessible. It is also an opportunity to promote scientific research in our country,” Santos said, according to Yahoo.

Since 1994, the country has legalized cannabis for possession of small amounts up to 22 grams for personal consumption. But with the new law passes in 2016, The Supreme Court of Justice stated that someone who is caught with a greater amount than the statutory limit cannot be criminally prosecuted if it is found that the person carries the substance to satisfy their own consumption needs.

However, it is legal to cultivate up to 20 cannabis plants for personal consumption.

3. Canada

In 2001, Canada made a step in legalizing medical marijuana.

Recently, there has been moves on legalizing recreational cannabis in the federal level led by Justin Trudeau. Canada’s criminal law is federal, which makes it in contrast with the United States where individual states can pass its own marijuana law despite the illegal status of the substance in the US federal level.

4. Chile

Decriminalization of marijuana for private and personal cannabis use took effect in Chile on 2005.
Since 2014, Chile allows the cultivation of cannabis for medical purposes. But there should by permission on its cultivation from The Chilean Agriculture Service (SAG).
But in 2015 as ruled by its Supreme Court, cultivation of marijuana, for personal or collective purpose is now now legal in this South American country.


Currently in 2016, a regulation bill which will allow Chileans to grow small amounts of marijuana for medical, recreational or spiritual use has been approved by the country’s lower house of Congress.

 5. Czech Republic

In 2013, the  Central European country legalized medical marijuana and since then Czechs can get prescription in its medical use.

Marijuana is imported and grown by local firms, but patients are not allowed to grow it at  their homes.

And though decriminalization is enforced,  possession of up to fifteen grams for personal use or cultivation of up to five plants is a misdemeanor subject to minor fine. But luckily for marijuana users, the country is lenient in enforcing any fine. Well, this may be a reason why Czech Republic is also a popular destination for smokers, similar to Amsterdam.

6. Netherlands

Speaking of Amsterdam, even though it is not directly implied but medical marijuana here is legal.

Since 2003, the country’s pharmacies can distribute medicinal cannabis by prescription, in addition to other substances containing cannabinoids

3 different types of medical cannabis exist in the Netherlands in which a fourth type is under consideration.

 7. Romania

In October 2013, the Eastern European country legalized medical marijuana derivatives to make it possible as a treatment for certain conditions. However, the law allows for people to have products that contain cannabis compounds rather than the plant itself.

Please take note that Romania hasn’t decriminalized marijuana, though there has been proposal on this.

8. France

Law legalizing medical marijuana went into effect in June 2013 in France. However, this only limits to prescription-based products containing cannabis derivatives according to the Local.

9. Australia

Decriminalization of marijuana in Australia is down to its states and territories similar to the United States.

Decriminalization for personal use in small amounts took effect in the Australian Capital Territory, South Australia and the Northern Territory. However, it is a criminal offence in New South Wales, Queensland, Western Australia, Victoria and Tasmania.

The usage of medicinal cannabis became legal at the federal level on 1 November 2016, with implementations varying from state-to-state.

On 24 February 2016, the Federal Government legalised the growing of cannabis for medicinal and scientific purposes at a federal level.

10. Croatia

It is a first for a Balkan country to legalize medical marijuana.

In 2015, the Ministry of Health of officially made it possible patients with illnesses such as cancer, multiple sclerosis, or AIDS to use medical marijuana.

Other countries

United States

Federally, marijuana is still a Schedule I drug. But there are 25 states including Washington D.C. that has made medical marijuana legal.


The purchase, possession and consumption of cannabis in Spain in a public place constitutes a misdemeanour and punishable by a fine and confiscation of the product. Consumption and cultivation by adults in a private space is legal, however.

Cannabis plants that are located somewhere visible in the public spaces even including balconies of houses are subject to a serious administrative offense. And there will be fines for that from 601 to 30.000€.

About 500 private “cannabis clubs” exist in Spain, 200 of them in Barcelona, and Spain is spoken of as the “new Amsterdam,” a destination for marijuana tourists.

All actions related to cannabis apart from sale or trade aren’t considered criminal offenses, and normally are misdemeanors punishable by a fine.


The cultivation of marijuana is legal in 19 provinces in Turkey for medicinal and scientific purposes. This marks a predominantly Muslim country to have laws that legalize medical marijuana.

Consuming any drug for persona use is still illegal in Turkey, however.


Legalizing marijuana can produce tangible results despite the debates and these results can take in the form of economic advancements and social relief.

Colombia is a stark contrast for a country that is still on a war on drugs.

“A war that has been fought for more than 40 years has not been won,” Colombia’s President Juan Manuel Santos said, according to the New York Times. “When you do something for 40 years and it doesn’t work, you need to change it.”

In countries where marijuana was legalized,  their economies didn’t collapse, and societies didn’t break out in wild crime and younger smokers. Take note that Uruguay is the only country in which there is full legal status on marijuana despite certain prohibitions. And there hasn’t been reports linking to any chaos because of the legislation.

What do you think of this change in legalizing marijuana?

I bet many of you are rejoicing. But despite the cheer, I would still like to hear your thoughts.