The US is getting greener by the day as Washington DC today became the latest place where the smoking and possession of cannabis is legal.
The capital of the United States has allowed the recreational use of weed since midnight after the states of Alaska, Colorado, Washington and Oregon have already amended their laws.
Residents and visitors can now have as much as two ounces (56 grams) of cannabis on their person and can even grow up to six plants at home – provided they are over the age of 21.
However, smoking spliffs on the streets of Capitol Hill would be prohibited as it is only allowed in private places. Buying and selling the substance remains illegal outside of licensed shops.
Alaska changed their laws on Tuesday to allow the possession of up to one ounce of weed and private cultivation up to six plants.
In Oregon, the recreational smoking of cannabis will also be legal from 1 July this year and it will be available to buy from designated shops.
The personal allowance of eight ounces in Oregon is significantly more generous than the other states and households will also be allowed to grow up to four plants each.
In Colorado, possession of up to one ounce is allowed and up to seven grams is permitted for non-residents. Smoking with discretion has also been advised. The state has also collected at least $60 million in taxes so far from licensed dispensary sales.
The state of Washington voted in favour of decriminalising marijuana in 2012. It is currently legal to purchase up to an ounce to smoke in private areas.
Jamaica also decriminalised possession of up to two ounces this month. It is now punishable by a fine instead of a three-year prison sentence.
Portugal was one of the first countries in the world to decriminalise the use of all drugs from 2001. Possession of up to 25 grams of cannabis is permitted but someone repeatedly caught would be ordered to mandatory rehabilitation.
Meanwhile, in Spain, it is legal to cultivate cannabis for personal use at home and it is legal in the Netherlands to smoke cannabis in designated coffeeshops and to possess up to five grams for personal use.
Where cannabis is and isn't legal
Where cannabis is and isn't legal
Having been reclassified in 2009 from a Class C to a Class B drug, cannabis is now the most used illegal drug within the United Kingdom. The UK is also, however, the only country where Sativex – a prescribed drug that helps to combat muscle spasms in multiple sclerosis and contains some ingredients that are also found in cannabis - is licensed as a treatment
2/12 North Korea
Although many people believe the consumption of cannabis in North Korea to be legal, the official law regarding the drug has never been made entirely clear whilst under Kim Jong Un’s regime. However, it is said that the North Korean leader himself has openly said that he does not consider cannabis to be a drug and his regime doesn’t take any issue with the consumption or sale of the drug
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In the Netherlands smoking cannabis is legal, given that it is smoked within the designated ‘smoking areas’ and you don’t possess more than 5 grams for personal use. It is also legal to sell the substance, but only in specified coffee shops
Although in some states of America cannabis has now been legalised, prior to the legalisation, police in the U.S. could make a marijuana-related arrest every 42 seconds, according to US News and World Report. The country also used to spend around $3.6 billion a year enforcing marijuana law, the American Civil Liberties Union notes
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Despite cannabis being officially illegal in Spain, the European hotspot has recently started to be branded, ‘the new Amsterdam’. This is because across Spain there are over 700 ‘Cannabis Clubs’ – these are considered legal venues to consume cannabis in because the consumption of the drug is in private, and not in public. These figures have risen dramatically in the last three years – in 2010 there were just 40 Cannabis Clubs in the whole of Spain. Recent figures also show that in Catalonia alone there are 165,000 registered members of cannabis clubs – this amounts to over 5 million euros (£4 million) in revenue each month
In December 2013, the House of Representatives and Senate passed a bill legalizing and regulating the production and sale of the drug. But the president has since postponed the legalization of cannabis until to 2015 and when it is made legal, it will be the authorities who will grow the cannabis that can be sold legally. Buyers must be 18 or older, residents of Uruguay, and must register with the authorities
Despite the fact that laws prohibiting the sale and misuse of cannabis exist and is considered a habit only entertained by lower-income groups, it is very rarely enforced. The occasional use of cannabis in community gatherings is broadly tolerated as a centuries old custom. The open use of cannabis by Sufis and Hindus as a means to induce euphoria has never been challenged by the state. Further, large tracts of cannabis grow unchecked in the wild
In 2001, Portugal became the first country in the world to decriminalize the use of all drugs, and started treating drug users as sick people, instead of criminals. However, you can still be arrested or assigned mandatory rehab if you are caught several times in possession of drugs
9/12 Puerto Rico
Although the use of cannabis is currently illegal, it is said that Puerto Rico are in the process of decriminalising it
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The US state became the first in the country to legalise marijuana in January 2014. In February 2015, President Obama recently said he expects to see more states "looking into" legalisation. However, it is illegally to grow more than six cannabis plants and to possess more than 28 grams of the drug
Oaksterdam in Oakland, California, is the world's only university dedicated to the study and cultivation of cannabis. If you are court in California with anything up to an ounce of cannabis, you will be fine $100, but you will not get a criminal record, nor will you have to appear in court
Cannabis is grown in the wild and has been used to treat conditions such as gout and malaria. But, officially the substance is illegal to consume, possess and sell
In the UK, possession of cannabis – a class B substance – can carry a prison sentence of up to five years and an unlimited fine or both, although it is deemed 114 times less deadly than alcohol.
A new political party called Cista – Cannabis is Safer than Alcohol – was launched earlier this month to advocate reforming laws that prohibit the private use of weed.
Around £900 million could be raised from sales of legalised, regulated and taxed cannabis and could cut the national deficit by £1.25 billion, the draft manifesto for Cista claims.Reuse content