The International Opium Convention made marijuana, otherwise known as particular Indian hemp or hashish, illegal across the world in 1925. By January 2015, there were eight countries with liberal laws towards cannabis, including some US states, such as Alaska, Oregon, Colorado, and Washington. At the same time, Cuba, Greece, and a number of Asian states, including Indonesia, China, Japan, Philippines, Malaysia, UAE, Singapore, and Saudi Arabia were the strictest in the terms of legislation towards marijuana. While the world trends seem to strive to the liberation, every country has its own point of view on the usage of cannabis.
Right now, Czech Republic, Canada, the Netherlands, Ecuador, Argentina, Jamaica, India, Spain, Uruguay and Mexico are those that remain the most supportive of marijuana decriminalization or even legalization. In fact, the marijuana-related legislation is not homogenous. It concerns such key aspects as possession, sale, transportation, and cultivation. The formal attitude towards each can be different across countries. The strictest rules apply to sale and transportation of the herb.
Everything is legal in Uruguay and North Korea (according to some sources). In the Netherlands, possession in certain doses is legal, but sale, transportation, and cultivation have certain restrictions. For example, sale is allowed only in “coffee shops.” In India, everything marijuana-related is either legal or tolerated only in certain states, but is illegal on the federal level. In Germany, possession and manipulation of marijuana is illegal apart from institutions which operate in medicinal or scientific fields. Cambodia has decriminalized marijuana, but it is still considered illegal. Despite this fact, the use and distribution of the plant products is widespread. In Chile, only sale of cannabis is illegal, but transportation, possession, and cultivation are legalized in particular amounts. In Czech Republic, one of the most liberal countries in Europe, everything except sale is decriminalized, and even cultivation of up to 5 bushes for personal use is legally accepted.
Consumption of marijuana is legalized in many countries, especially in private locations. Legislation of some countries, such as Germany, treats consumption as self-harm, which cannot be considered crime on its own. The more widespread becomes so-called medical marijuana, which is used and distributed for medical purposes, for example, in the USA or in Germany. However, every country is interested in lowering the levels of cannabis consumption. In general, the experience of marijuana decriminalization shows that it does not mean higher levels of marijuana use. In fact, in countries like the Netherlands and the UK, the absence of criminal responsibility was rather correlated with the decrease of its consumption.
The issue remains controversial on different levels — while some say it is harmful, others argue that the herb can be used in medicine; while some believe that legalization may cause the outburst in use, the statistics show the opposite trend. Nevertheless, there is a global trend which seems to be gradually leading to at least decriminalization of the plant. Czech Republic, the Netherlands, India, and Spain have already joined it — we’ll see what happens to the status of marijuana in the future.