If you have been following the news, you may have heard of the popularity of medical cannabis in a number of countries around the world.
The reasoning behind its legalization varies, with some countries seeing it as a way towards obtaining the funding needed to provide quality healthcare to their citizens, while others see it as a way to make use of the plant in some way.
Countries around the world have seen medical cannabis laws brought in over the last few years, with a number of countries seeing laws introduced in 2017.
The most recent to do so is Poland, which passed new legislation last year to make medicinal cannabis legal in the country, following on from Belgium, Canada and Germany.
As you know, the United Nations’ Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs of 1961 (signed by 50 nations) and the UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances of 1971 (signed by 111 nations) banned “drug” cannabis, and cannabis met the criteria in both.
In the late 1960s, the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) classified cannabis as a Schedule 1 drug – the same class as heroin and LSD.
The classification was based largely on the fact that cannabis was widely believed to cause mental illness, and also on the fact that cannabis contained over 60 different chemicals, most of which were unknown at the time.
Medical cannabis is not just for people who have cancer and serious pain. Every country in the world has some form of medical cannabis laws, but without research and funding most of these countries are still very hesitant about their use.
These countries have legalized medical cannabis
Most countries around the world have either legalized or decriminalized cannabis at some point in recent history, yet it is still illegal in most countries. However, a few countries are making the step to legalize it.
There are many benefits to medicinal marijuana. When used as medicine it can help with many different conditions.
Recently its use has been legalized in many countries. Here is a list of countries that have legalized medical cannabis.
Argentina has had medical cannabis since March of this year, and it is now a legal substance for anyone over 18.
As per the country’s president, Mauricio Marci, the decision to legalize medical cannabis was made in order to prevent the stigma associated with its use. As he says, “We want to change the image of this plant, which is used in a way that is not normal.”
In the year 2000 Canada made the decision to legalize medical cannabis, and so far they have seen many benefits. In fact, they have seen more benefits in the areas of cancer treatment, pain management, and reducing the opioid epidemic.
With Chile being one of them. The Cannabis Regulation and Control Act of 2018 was passed by the Senate on September 20, 2018. Its aim is to regulate the plant, and to make it easier for medical cannabis users to access it.
To date, there are no laws concerning the medical use of cannabis in Columbia. Medical marijuana is legal in many states around the United States, but the country’s drug laws generally prohibit the use of cannabis-based medicines.
Croatia has legalized medical cannabis. Croatia approved cannabis for medical use in late 2017.
Croatia’s Ministry of Health announced it was moving to legalize medical cannabis following a recommendation by the country’s Medical Ethics Committee. The European Union has also approved Croatia for the growing, distribution, and consumption of medical cannabis.
Under the Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Law of 1992, Cyprus is one of the few countries in the world where the use of marijuana for medical purposes is legal. The Ministry of Health has issued a decree which stated that the use of marijuana is allowed for medical purposes.
- Czech Republic
Czech Republic has a very liberal policy on cannabis. As of 2017, cannabis is regulated much the same way as tobacco or alcohol. However, not all conditions are accepted, so make sure you have a proper diagnosis.
Denmark is the first country in the world to approve cannabis as a legal medicine with a prescription. The new law allows the use of medical cannabis to alleviate pain and other symptoms in patients with a doctor’s prescription. The new law will come into effect on July 1st, 2018.
The Nordic country of Finland has become the first country in the world to allow medical cannabis with a prescription. The law came into effect on 1st April 2018 and can be used for treating a number of medical conditions, including epilepsy.
Italy has allowed the use of medical cannabis since 2014 and it has allowed the use of recreational cannabis since a law was passed in November 2015.
Medicinal cannabis is legal in Italy, but it isn’t available for purchase in pharmacies. Doctors in Italy are permitted to prescribe it, and patients have access to it.
For those who have been following the news in Jamaica, it is no secret that the island nation has been slowly but surely transitioning to a legal medical cannabis market.
Last December, the Caribbean nation became the first country in the world to have its citizens vote on full cannabis legalization, with the results being that the legalization of cannabis was approved.
The Republic of Macedonia has made a major move towards the green. Following the votes to pass the cannabis legalization and regulation act on 23 May 2017, Macedonian citizens are now allowed to cultivate cannabis for medical purposes.
This is a huge step for the country — one that is expected to lead to significant economic benefits.
- New Zealand
The New Zealand government has legalized medical cannabis in the country, and it’s now legal to own, and grow, in the country.
There’s a lot of controversy surrounding the cannabis industry in New Zealand, and the government is making the process even more convoluted by creating a licensing scheme that will limit the number of licenses available.
With this new system, there are only a few cannabis producers in New Zealand, all of whom are well-funded and backed by the big corporate players.
Doctors in New Zealand will be able to prescribe medicinal cannabis to patients who have some form of serious illness, however there are still some downsides to medical marijuana that need to be addressed.
- Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico is one of the most beautiful places in the world, but until the island was hit by Hurricane Maria, they were not exactly known for their cannabis policy.
As a matter of fact, Puerto Rico had one of the strictest cannabis laws in the world. But the island has dramatically changed its cannabis policy after Hurricane Maria.
Puerto Rico is now legalizing medical cannabis. The island also legalized recreational adult use cannabis.
And, thanks to the island’s new governor, the drug’s legalization is poised to be expanded.
Even though cannabis use has been decriminalized in Switzerland since the 1970s, the nation is still at the forefront when it comes to liberalizing the use of medicinal marijuana. In recent years, the government has made efforts to make the use of medicinal cannabis more widely available.
- The Netherlands
The recent opinion from the Netherlands’ Council of State (the highest administrative court in the Netherlands) states that the country may permit people to use cannabis for medical purposes even if it is not approved by the European Commission for the purposes of personal use.
As of January 1st of this year, The Netherlands has legalized medical cannabis. It’s a big win for patients, but it also has huge implications for the wider cannabis community.
- United Kingdom
The United Kingdom has chosen not to legalize cannabis for recreational use, but to allow medicinal use, as have several other countries.
The UK Government has announced that it will be moving forward with a new bill to make cannabis available for patients suffering from certain conditions, such as cancer, epilepsy, and multiple sclerosis.
The British Prime Minister during her trip to United States said the UK government has signed a treaty with the US, which will allow the prescription of medical cannabis in the UK.
- United States
There are a few states that have legalized medical marijuana in the U.S. The latest of those states is Maine.
Last week, U.S. Senator Susan Collins introduced a bill that would legalize medical marijuana in all 50 states. This act is a part of the wider initiative that is aimed at legalizing medical cannabis in all 50 states.
In 2012 Uruguay became the first country in the world to legalize marijuana, and the first in the Americas.
The country’s government has been expanding its marijuana program ever since, allowing for the cultivation, use and distribution of marijuana for medical and recreational purposes.
The government then passed a bill in 2013 which allowed for the expansion of the program to include the possession of up to 40 grams of marijuana, which had been the maximum amount allowed before.