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Why other countries are legalizing cannabis before the U.S.

Aug 19, 2022 | Media Partners, The GrowthOp

This post is presented by our media partner The Growth Op
View the original article here.

It can be argued that U.S. federal policy has fallen far behind the American psyche, and, perhaps, even the global consciousness

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Cannabis policy in the United States has been in the news a lot, but often it is the lack of action the country is making that is making headlines.

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Whether it is the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act floating in limbo and failing, and a strongly worded letter urging a change in cannabis laws to President Joe Biden from his strongest allies, America’s federal policy on marijuana is not “visionary” at the moment.

While the nation and many of its individual states have changed significantly in the last decade when it comes to opinions on weed, it can be argued that federal policy has fallen far behind the American psyche, and, perhaps, even the global consciousness. As the U.S. maintains its timid stance on weed, other countries have taken concrete action.


  1. Will Biden Make A Move On Cannabis?

  2. Asked about his performance on decriminalizing cannabis, the percentages were less than complimentary. /

    Just 23 per cent of Americans say President Joe Biden has made good on promise to advance cannabis decriminalization

  3. the gap between positive and negative views widen depending on whether or not the respondent in question has ever consumed weed. /

    Poll shows near even split among Americans asked if cannabis is good or bad for society

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What reasons have other countries found to legalize and decriminalize marijuana while the U.S. remains unable to find its rationalization?

Mexico

If one asks the U.S.’s closest neighbour to the south why legalizing cannabis is a good idea, the response will likely involve hopes of decreasing violent crime.

Mexico’s supreme court voted 8-3 in 2021 to decriminalize marijuana, thus legalizing its medical use and cultivation. This decision came “after advocates pushed for decriminalization as a means to reduce drug-fuelled cartel violence in the country,” according to CNN.

While drug-driven violence was not the only justification for the high court decision, it is one worth noting since justification for changing policy can come from all sorts of places.

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Thailand

While the U.S. continues its debate marijuana, Thailand made history as the first Asian country to legalize cannabis on a medical level. The country has made it clear that smoking joints in public is still very much punishable by law, but it has legalized marijuana as medicine.

Even if it is medical cannabis that received the green light, Thailand can still use this as a chance to boost tourism.

“Thailand mainly wants to make a splash in the market for medical marijuana,” according to National Public Radio.

With so few places that have legalized cannabis nearby, the country has a great opportunity on its hands. After all, “It already has a well-developed medical tourism industry and its tropical climate is ideal for growing cannabis,” the article adds.

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Thailand is also releasing many inmates serving sentences for non-violent cannabis crimes, which is something many U.S. lawmakers are pushing for (still unsuccessfully) with marijuana decriminalization bills.

Malta

Thailand was not the only country making international headlines for weed legalization. Malta became the first European nation to legalize cannabis in 2021.

While the country has not opened up cannabis lounges or dispensaries, it has legalized cannabis usage and cultivation. The reasons for this seem to be fairly similar to those of Mexico.

“The government said that the new law was aimed at ending the criminalization of people for smoking the drug and at reducing criminal trafficking,” according to the New York Times.

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Legalizing and, thus, regulating it, rather than fighting a criminal underground market appears to be a motivating factor in several countries that have legalized weed before the U.S.

Switzerland

Most recently, Switzerland lifted its ban on medical marijuana, and has, thereby, legalized medical cannabis as of August.

The new move even allows for the export of medical cannabis. One of the main reasons for this shift, it seems, has to do with the growing popularity of medical cannabis and the increased level of administrative legwork that developed because of this popularity.

“The Federal Council justified the legalization of medical cannabis in the country by stating that the demand for authorizations has increased in recent years. This entailed a considerable administrative burden and slowed down medical treatment,” according to Forbes.

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In 2019 alone, the health ministry issued 3,000 exceptional permissions.

There are a variety of reasons why countries are making major progress in cannabis legalization while the U.S. lags. From hope to decreased crime and ways of increasing medical tourism, the justifications are varied.

The U.S. has ample reasons from which to choose, but has yet to pick one single cause strong enough to push the country into a post-prohibition era for cannabis.

The FreshToast.com, a U.S. lifestyle site that contributes lifestyle content and, with their partnership with 600,000 physicians via Skipta, medical marijuana information to The GrowthOp.

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