Before we dive into the details of Cannabis legalization around the world, we need to understand Cannabis. We all know that it’s a plant, but least do we know is that it stores several constituents that can change the quality of human life by a 360 degrees angle.
We know the miraculous substances that reside each inch of Cannabis plant as cannabinoids. Although people used to look down upon them because of their association to a highly psychoactive Cannabinoid, it is now clear that every Cannabinoid possess different psychoactive properties. The same school of thought led authorities to consider Cannabis legalization.
History of Cannabis Consumption:
History of Cannabis use takes us centuries back when Cannabis use was very common, and it had no legal considerations. It has travelled all over the world even before people could recognize it as a substance that should be regulated under some specific laws and restrictions.
The most ancient hemp farming ever reported goes back to 8000 BCE when residents of Taiwan used to grow hemp. It was not before 5000 years ago that people started using this plant for medicinal purposes.
People started using Cannabis after it started revealing its benefits regardless of their race and religions. Every industry found use of Cannabis that could serve their production in some way. It use in ceremonies, religious events for meditation purposes, and get togethers got very frequent. Especially the subtype of Cannabis that we know as “hemp” became much more popular because of its non-psychoactive nature.
The use of Cannabis and hemp was not limited to oral and physical consumption only. Companies used hemp plant as a textile source to produce ropes and fabric. Paper and dye factories, housing companies also advantage of hemp plant for a long time. The high nutritional value of hemp was yet another plus point.
However, after centuries of use, world suddenly started considering it some sort of crime to use Cannabis and its components. The reasons behind this sudden disgust were vague but the intense negative energy impacted Cannabis consumption and its legality very severely. cannabis legalization
Reasons of Cannabis Illegality:
Although the illegality of Cannabis was hard to digest but the main factor was its addictive and psychoactive nature. In that time, anything that came under the list of addictive things was considered a taboo as a whole. That’s why hemp also had to face the consequences of illegality of Cannabis being its sub type; even though hemp was neither addictive nor psychoactive.
The other factors that led to the illegality of Cannabis and hemp were purely based on conspiracies and other social factors. The factors included ignorance, money, and racism issues. The world didn’t try having a second thought and listed Cannabis in the catalogue of highly addictive substances like hashish and morphine, etc. Once this approach got popular, each country started jumped at banning all addictive substances without conducting a proper research.
Cannabis was not as addictive as morphine and hashish but mass of people turned to it because it was relatively easily available; this led to further misconceptions.
Journey of Cannabis back to Legality:
In the late 20th century, tables turned in favor of rational substances. The long-forgotten medical benefits emerged yet again and researches cleared that the cause of Cannabis illegality was more political than scientific. This “war on drugs” maligned media and authorities so much that even the most popular media outlets started naming Cannabis as “Marijuana” although Marijuana is just another name of one of the hundreds Cannabinoids present in Cannabis plant.
The positive outcomes of Cannabis are so powerful that even the strong political games couldn’t keep it in the list of illegal substances for long.
Let’s look at the legality of Cannabis around the world to get an idea of the success that it has achieved so far.
Legal Status of Cannabis around the World:
The legal status of Cannabis around the globe varies with respect to its distribution, cultivation, possession, and the purpose of use. Most countries follow three different conventions of United Nations to determine the legality of Cannabis that are:
- Single convention of narcotic drugs, 1961.
- Convention on Psychotropic Substances, 1971.
- Convention Against illicit traffic in psychotic and narcotic drugs, 1988.
The first and foremost action in favour of Cannabis was to include it in the Schedule 1 Drugs. Single Convention did this to allow its consumption for medical use while it still stayed under the category of products that were addictive and had potential to make a person victim of abuse.
While the recreational use of Cannabis still stays prohibited in most countries, there are many who have decriminalized the possession of Cannabis. Being that said, those countries don’t take Cannabis consumption as a criminal offense; it is taken to be as minor as violating the traffic rules. However, certain countries still consider it to be a serious offense because of religious reasons and that’s why the culprit gets jailed for several years, if found with any amount of Cannabis.
- Countries that have legalized recreational use of Cannabis include Canada, Uruguay, Georgia, South Africa, Mexico and some other states and countries.
- Countries that have legalized only medical use of Cannabis are Argentina, Ireland, Finland, New Zealand, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Denmark, Cyprus, Canada, Australia, Barbados, Sri Lanka, Jamaica, Lebanon, Malta, Norway, Poland, Peru, Switzerland, Malawi, Zimbabwe, etc.
- On the other hand, there are a few countries that approve only a few non-psychoactive or less psychoactive Cannabinoids’ consumption for medical purposes, e.g., Ghana, Singapore, Ukraine, Pakistan, etc.
- Cannabis in its all forms is still completely prohibited in Afghanistan, Algeria, Armenia, Bahrain, Benin, Indonesia, Iraq, Japan, Jordan, Kuwait, etc.
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