In honor of 4/20, the biggest holiday in marijuana communities, Redditor alectprasad posted this map showing where cannabis is legal throughout the world. Colorado famously paved the way for legal recreational use in the United States by permitting recreational sales to those 21 and older, followed closely by Washington and eventually Oregon, California, and a host of other states enacting similar policies.
The coffee shops of Amsterdam may have put marijuana tourism on the map, but Uruguay was the first country to fully legalize possession and consumption of the plant. Much debate ensued in the comments surrounding policy in places like The Netherlands. User Compizfox explained, “It’s a very strange policy. Technically, cannabis is not legal in the Netherlands. However, small quantities are “gedoogd”, that is, you just won’t get prosecuted for it. The police can still confiscate it if they feel like it though, and smuggling/dealing/growing will definitely get you into trouble.” The coffee shops that sell it must obtain proper permitting and cannot sell more than five grams to a customer. The plant remains “Illegal enough for the police to shut down a coffee shop whenever they wish,” however, as noted by Redditor tehbertl.
Globally, a host of countries have decriminalized and basically stopped enforcing legal repercussions for possession and use. As the map notes, Australia is the only continent without any blue dots, however medical use is federally permitted under certain circumstances such as severe epilepsy, MS, and cancer. Regulations vary by province.
Regionally, Southeast Asia offers perhaps the most striking contrasts on cannabis policy. There are countries where, if caught with any illegal substance, you may find yourself in trouble to the point of no return. Then there are Cambodia and Laos, where you’re essentially good to go as long as you keep your act together and don’t do anything stupid. The substance is banned in both countries but remains prevalent even in certain public circles. Cambodia’s capital city of Phnom Penh, for instance, is home to a riverfront pizzeria that has earned acclaim among backpackers for certain “off-menu items” customers have been known to order from the walk-up counter.
If you’re looking to celebrate the high holiday and stay within the bounds of the law this 4/20 within the US, though, Colorado and Washington are the easiest places to navigate.
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