The global stance on cannabis use has been shifting, with some countries adopting more liberal policies. As of October 2018, Canada made a significant move by legalizing the recreational use of cannabis, a decision that was met with both support and skepticism. Advocates of legalization argue that it can eliminate the illicit marijuana market, while critics raise concerns about the social and health implications.
In the realm of cannabis legalization, Uruguay broke new ground in December 2013 by becoming the first country to legalize the production, supply, and consumption of cannabis for adults. Canadian and Uruguayan models provide various legal avenues for obtaining cannabis, from self-cultivation to purchasing at pharmacies.
The legalization trend is gaining traction in the United States as well. By 2023, nearly half of all U.S. states have embraced legal recreational cannabis, a significant evolution from the initial ballot initiatives in November 2012.
Medical marijuana also has seen a wide adoption, with countries like the Netherlands integrating it into their healthcare system, despite concerns that it may act as a precursor to recreational legalization.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provide comprehensive data on marijuana, noting that it contains over 100 compounds, including the psychoactive THC and non-impairing CBD. While it is the most commonly used illegal drug globally, with use typically starting in adolescence, the CDC underscores the risks associated with early and heavy usage.
Malta joined Canada and Uruguay by legalizing recreational cannabis at the national level. However, despite these developments, the international legality of both recreational and medical cannabis remains largely restrictive.
Interestingly, Lebanon has emerged as the first Arab country to authorize the use of cannabis for medical and industrial purposes, marking a significant policy shift in the Middle East.
While research continues to explore the various impacts of cannabis legalization, it is evident that the legal landscape is evolving, with a growing number of nations and states reconsidering their stance on cannabis use.