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5 Countries Rethinking Their Policies on Pot Prohibition

4 Minutes and 20 Seconds with Sherbinski, Iconic Strain Cultivator
Photo by Vortex Farmacy

The United States isn’t the only country rethinking its policies on pot prohibition.

1 – Costa Rica

A bill to legalize both medical marijuana and industrial hemp in this Central American republic has been gaining momentum over the last two years, and it appears to have legs: The bill now has the support of key officials in Costa Rica’s public-health system. If the law is enacted, the Department of Health would oversee a regulatory body charged with issuing licenses to cultivators and distributors of both cannabis and all-purpose hemp.

2 – Canada

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made a campaign promise to decriminalize recreational cannabis in Canada, though last 4/20 his administration tabled the issue until later this year. In December, Trudeau’s government announced that it would study a federal task force’s recommendation for legalizing possession of up to an ounce of pot by adults 18 and older and allowing cannabis sales through licensed dispensaries. Canada set up a regulated medical marijuana system back in 2001.

3 – Peru

Already somewhat pot-friendly (personal possession of under eight grams is tolerated), this South American nation may be ready to legalize medical marijuana “for the treatment of serious and terminal illnesses.” Earlier this year, President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski’s administration acknowledged that the push to allow marijuana as medicine came about after police raided a residence in Lima, where parents were growing plants to create CBD oil for more than 80 children suffering from epilepsy.

4 – Ireland

A medical cannabis bill drafted by the activist group People Before Profit was approved in December 2016 by the Dáil Éireann, the lower house of the Irish parliament. The bill would allow physicians to recommend marijuana for a variety of serious illnesses. Ireland’s health minister confirmed that he wouldn’t prevent the proposed legislation from reaching the committee stage. Lawmakers have asked the Health Products Regulatory Authority to weigh in on marijuana as medicine, and supporters are hopeful that this will ultimately pave the way for a medical cannabis program.

5 – Brazil

The South American giant has slowly evolved on the issue of pot prohibition, partly out of a need to combat drug-cartel violence. Personal possession and cultivation were decriminalized back in 2006; most recently, Supreme Court Justice Roberto Barroso publicly lamented Brazil’s failed War on Drugs and called for legalizing marijuana outright. And in January of this year, the health-care regulator Anvisa issued the country’s first license to sell the medical cannabis spray Sativex, which is marketed in Brazil as Mevatyl.

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