Why Countries Around The World Are Legalizing Cannabis?

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Why Countries Around The World Are Legalizing Cannabis?

Around the world attitudes towards the use of cannabis are shifting.

Over 37 countries including USA, Canada, UK, Australia have taken a step towards legalization of Cannabis. 

Meanwhile, New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is considering a referendum on what its approach should be. Mexico's new government plans to legalize recreational cannabis use, as does the incoming government of Luxembourg.

As opinion toward cannabis for government changes, it seems increasingly likely that other countries will follow, raising questions about how they work together to manage the use and supply of cannabis.

Ever Wondered what has led to this Revolution Of Legalizing Cannabis around the world?

Here are some major reasons why cannabis is getting legalized around the world

Medical Properties Of Cannabis

In many countries, the move towards legalization started with a softening of public attitude which was because of medicinal characteristics of cannabis.

In the US and Canada, people being denied from potentially a life-changing medicine had a tremendous impact on public opinion - a concern that brought forward legalization for medical purposes.

A similar softening of attitudes has been seen in the UK.

In June, 12-year-old Billy Caldwell, who has severe epilepsy, was admitted to hospital after his medical cannabis oil was confiscated. A month later, a special licence to use cannabis oil was granted to seven-year-old Alfie Dingley, who has a rare form of epilepsy.

Following high-profile campaigns, the UK government changed the law to allow doctors to prescribe cannabis products.

But in the UK, the Home Office says the recreational use of cannabis will remain banned, although senior figures, including former Conservative leader William Hague, have suggested a rethink.

Mexico has also had cases of children being denied medical cannabis, but it has also been motivated by the extraordinary violence of its drugs war.

Although marijuana makes up a relatively small share of drug cartel revenues, continuing to ban it is seen as increasingly at odds with reality.

Mexican diplomats warned the US it was difficult to enforce the fight against cannabis when the neighboring American state of California legalized recreational use.

War on drugs

It was only in 2012 that Uruguay announced it would be the first country in the world to legalize recreational cannabis use. In large part, the move was aimed at replacing links between organised crime and the cannabis trade with more accountable state regulation.

Later the same year, voters in Washington State and Colorado became the first in the US to support legalization of the drug for non-medical use.

Under President Barack Obama, a critic of the US-led war on drugs, the US government stepped back from enforcing federal laws and effectively gave states a green light to explore alternatives.

Eight more states and Washington DC have since supported the legalization of recreational cannabis and penalties are softening elsewhere. The use of the drug for medical reasons is allowed in 33 of the 50 states.

In many ways the jury is still out on the effects of legalization on society and individuals' health, but there is no question that public opinion and government policy has softened.

The storm is spreading across the Americas, with Canada Legalizing the sale, possession & recreational use of Cannabis.

The cannabis market

With countries worldwide moving towards some form of legalization, others are rushing to catch up.

Often, as in many parts of Latin America, governments want their farmers to have access to the potentially lucrative medicinal cannabis markets that are developing.

Corporations have also expressed interest. For example, Altria, which owns cigarette brands including Marlboro, has made a $1.86bn (£1.46bn) investment in a Canadian cannabis company.

Over time, as the US demonstrates, it is quite possible that the medical trade could quite easily morph into recreational sales - potentially opening up an even bigger market.

One immediate obstacle is that cannabis for recreational purposes cannot be traded across borders. Countries can only import and export medicinal cannabis under a licensing system supervised by the International Narcotics Control Board.

Farmers in countries such as Morocco and Jamaica may have a reputation for producing cannabis, but they can't access markets that domestic producers sometimes struggle to supply - as happened in Canada following legalization.