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Mapping Green: Where is Cannabis Legally Permitted?

As the global landscape of cannabis legalization continues to evolve, more countries are recognizing the benefits of legalizing and regulating the substance. This change reflects shifting societal attitudes, economic considerations, and the potential medical benefits of cannabis. Let's explore the current state of cannabis legality around the world, highlighting regions where it's fully legal, decriminalized, or used for medicinal purposes.

Full Legalization

North America

In the United States, cannabis legality varies by state, with several states having legalized it for both medical and recreational use. Canada, on the other hand, made headlines in 2018 by becoming the second country in the world to legalize cannabis nationwide for both medical and recreational purposes.

South America

Uruguay was the pioneer, being the first country to fully legalize the production, sale, and consumption of cannabis in 2013.

Medicinal Use


Many European countries have legalized cannabis for medicinal purposes, including Germany, Italy, and the Netherlands. These countries have established frameworks to allow for the prescription and distribution of medical cannabis.


Australia and New Zealand have programs in place for medicinal cannabis, though New Zealand's 2020 referendum to legalize recreational use did not pass.

Decriminalization Efforts


South Africa has decriminalized the private use and cultivation of cannabis, and other African countries are exploring similar reforms as they recognize the failure of prohibitionist policies.


Thailand has decriminalized cannabis and is moving towards a more regulated medicinal market. However, most Asian countries remain strict with severe penalties for cannabis-related activities.


The green wave of cannabis legalization is reshaping laws and policies across the globe. Countries are progressively recognizing that regulating cannabis can lead to economic benefits, reduced criminal justice costs, and improved public health outcomes. As research continues and public perceptions shift, the map of cannabis legality is likely to expand further.