Over the past century, ‘cannabis’ has been a taboo in mainstream society in nearly every country on the planet, despite the fact that this naturally-occurring plant was once ubiquitous to many countries around the world, and used medicinally and spiritually thousands of years ago.
However, over the past couple of decades attitudes towards cannabis have been changing, with more countries and US states changing cannabis laws every year.
If you are wondering whether or not you’ll ever see the day when cannabis is decriminalised/legalised in your country, (hopefully) that day may not be too far away. We all know about the legalities of cannabis in the Netherlands, but with Uruguay recently legalising cannabis and US states such as Colorado recently legalising cannabis completely, it seems that Westernised outlook on cannabis is changing for the better.
Let’s take a look at some shining examples of modern locales whose attitude towards marijuana planting are becoming more liberal, and the UK and its rocky relationship with cannabis:
As a modern, highly developed nation with a thriving economy, excellent standard of living and an important presence on the world stage, The Netherlands is a shining example of how a developed country can enjoy an enviable level of success whilst maintaining a liberal attitude towards cannabis.
In fact, by treating its citizens as adults, lawmakers in The Netherlands have managed to contradict the speculation of many anti-cannabis activists in a number of key areas:
- Decriminalisation doesn’t mean increased usage: The average usage percentage of cannabis in The Netherlands is lower than in Italy, The USA, Canada, Australia and Spain, despite the fact that it is readily available: This goes to show that legalisation does not automatically mean that usage rates will skyrocket.
- Drug-related deaths won’t necessarily sky-rocket: The Netherlands is known to have one of the lowest rates of drug-related deaths in Europe.
- Cannabis decriminalisation doesn’t equate to a lower standard of living: In fact, Dutch citizens have a lot to be proud of, living in a country which regularly ranks within the top 15 countries on the planet based on GDP (PPP) per capita.
As a country with perhaps the most relaxed laws in the world relating to cannabis cultivation, distribution and consumption, Uruguay is being keenly watched by the global community, as governments everywhere seek inspiration in the struggle to combat the horrors of organised crime and drug trafficking.
By taking a stand against cartels and their narcotic-slinging minions, the Uruguayan government is ensuring that its citizens can enjoy state-controlled, officially-licenced produce from reputable producers, at fair prices.
Whilst only 2 out of 50 states in the USA currently allow the legal use of recreational cannabis (with the herb maintaining its illegal status on a federal level) there is little doubt that change is in the air:
- Over the past few decades, ‘medical marijuana’ has made waves in the states, with increasingly relaxed laws relating to this potent treatment allowing doctors in many territories to prescribe specially-controlled quantities of the herb to their patients.
- Washington and Colorado have recently legalised the recreational cannabis, leading to a massive boom in tourism and a boost to their economies. You read right. Legalised.
- Far from creating dens of iniquity wherever cannabis legalisation takes root, communities in liberal states have witnessed a drop in both crime and addiction rates.
- In the UK cannabis was decriminalised between 2004 to 2009 meaning that cannabis was classified from a class B drug to a class C drug. This effectively began the process of decriminalisation, as police finding small amounts of cannabis on an adult did not have to arrest, effectively saving police time and taxpayer money. Penalties for growing/dealing were also reduced, although not significantly.
- It was still a step in the right direction until cannabis was reclassified ads a class B drug in 2009 due in no small part to the tabloids who relentlessly campaigned for its re-criminalisation, using propaganda and scare stories.
- Since then in the UK the government has legalised Sativex, a Cannabis-based spray made by G.W Pharmaceuticals. This is a good progress for medical cannabis patients, and there is hope for further progress with cannabis-based medicine in the future. It still begs belief that the same ingredient that is the effective part of this medicine can still be illegal in its NATURAL FORM.
- However, it could be bright in the future with a good campaign effort and more success stories of other nations adopting a more sensible approach and creating successful cannabis industries that the UK simply cannot afford not to keep up with! So watch this space, Britain.
- In the UK Cannabis seeds such as Greenhouse Seeds and Sensi Seeds are legal to buy and sell; however they are not allowed to be germinated.
Special mentions should also go out to the Basque region of Spain, which has also decriminalised cannabis, and other countries such as Israel with progressive medicinal policies.
So there you have it. What are your thoughts? Are we due more sensible cannabis laws? Or will out Government keep ignoring progress and keep cannabis illegal? Only time will tell.
But you can do your bit – join the campaign, and raise cannabis awareness. Millions of people in the UK smoke cannabis. United we have a massive voice!
See you in Hyde Park!