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Which Country Has ‘The Best’ Cannabis Legalization Model?

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Cannabis prohibition, thankfully, has not always existed. For thousands of years, humans used the cannabis plant for various purposes, and it was only in the 1900s that cannabis prohibition first became a widespread public policy around the globe.

As I have said many times and will say until the day that I die, cannabis prohibition is one of the most harmful public policies in the history of humans. Countless people have had their lives needlessly ruined because of the cannabis plant, despite the fact that cannabis is safer than many of the products people have in their homes.

Fortunately, the walls of cannabis prohibition are slowly but surely crumbling, and now there are multiple countries within the global community that have legalized cannabis for adult use. Lawmakers in Uruguay, Canada, and Malta have all passed adult-use legalization measures, and all three countries have different legalization models.

Buying And Cultivating

All three countries that have legalized cannabis at the national level currently have the same legal age, 18 years old, and all three countries permit adults of legal age to cultivate cannabis at home, although Canada has seen some local bans that are working their way through various legal challenges.

The real difference between Uruguay, Canada, and Malta’s legalization models can be found in how people legally purchase cannabis for adult use. Uruguay, the first country to ever legalize cannabis for adult use, limits purchases to clubs and pharmacies, and only citizens and permanent residents can make purchases (although that is changing at some point).

Malta is still setting up rules and regulations after becoming the first country in Europe to legalize cannabis for adult use late last year. When sales do begin in Malta, they will only occur via private clubs – no dispensaries. From a purely purchasing standpoint, Canada has the best legalization model in that anyone from anywhere can make a purchase as long as they are of legal age, and those purchases can be made through the mail, via storefronts, and virtually any other way that people can buy cannabis.

More Legalization On The Horizon

Uruguay was the first country to ever legalize cannabis at a national level. Canada was the first G-7 country to legalize cannabis for adult use. Malta was the first country in Europe to pass an adult-use legalization measure. All three of those countries have a claim to being the first to legalize cannabis in some manner, however, none of them will be the last.

Multiple countries (Denmark, Switzerland, the Netherlands) are launching or expanding adult-use legalization pilot programs that create localized legalization. Multiple other countries (Mexico, Italy, South Africa) have had their top courts render decisions against cannabis prohibition policies and lawmakers there are working to fully implement legalization.

Germany, which is home to one of the largest economies on planet earth, is trending closer to legalization every month. The largest prohibition domino, the United States, is witnessing the continued spread of legalization at the state level with every passing year either via the election process or the legislative process. With that in mind, more legalization models are on the horizon and while all of them are likely to incorporate some policy components that are already implemented in current legalized nations, there will be new policy components introduced as well as more countries get on the right side of history, with some new policies being more nuanced than others.

Trying to determine what is ‘the best’ is a subjective measurement, and largely in the eye of the beholder. That is true of cannabis legalization policies just as it is with virtually anything else. What is considered to be ‘the best’ cannabis policy in one region may not work at all in different regions. With that being said, every legalization model is better than locking humans in prison cells due to them being caught with cannabis.

Canada, Malta, Uruguay