The laws regarding marijuana use have become more lenient not only in the U.S. in recent years, but around the world as well. A variety of legislative moves are providing clues to which countries are most likely to give the green light to pot legalization in 2016. We’ve compiled a list of our top contenders:
A leader in elevating U.S. consciousness about marijuana’s benefits, Jamaica recently saw some long-overdue leniency amendments which allow for possession of pot for certified scientific research, religious ceremonies, and medicinal purposes. Other positive signs are the continued pressure by the Rastafarian movement to go even further in loosening the laws and the government’s recognition of the potential economic boost to the health and tourist industries.
In November, a landmark High Court case opened the door for marijuana legalization when it ruled in favor of a group who were growing and using small amounts of weed. Then in January, the government put the issue of legalization up for public debate. Although President Enrique Peña Nieto opposes the court’s decision, he’s agrees that the debates are crucial to making a fair decision on the issue.
3. Oh, Canada
With the election of Liberal Party candidate Justin Trudeau in October 2015, it seems like the U.S.’s northern neighbor is ready to jump on the legalization bandwagon. Citing the complete failure of the war on drugs as the catalyst for the upcoming policy change, party politicians aim to do a complete 180 degree turn away from past prohibitions on marijuana. They are speaking openly about following Uruguay’s model of 100% legalization.
4. Czech Republic
Since passing a law legalizing medical marijuana in 2013, this Central European state has seen the relaxation of its small-scale growing laws. In Cannabis policy in the Czech Republic, Tereza Filipkova outlines that there have also been a variety of protests over clampdowns on larger grow houses. These demonstrations signal that people in the country are eager for more widespread change.
India’s grassroots marijuana legalization movement is in full swing, with numerous petitions and social media sites dedicated to the cause. Admittedly India’s citizenry face an uphill battle with the country’s conservative government. Still, the state of Uttarakhand recently became the first to allow farmers to grow and sell marijuana to the government for industrial use. And with a long history of cultural and religious use of the drug, the ban that has been in place for 30 years in the country is looking like it will soon be history too.
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