Current Affairs

These Countries May Be Next to Legalize Cannabis

Written by Lisa Rennie

After Canada recently legalized recreational cannabis, other nations across the globe are likely to follow in their footsteps. In fact, several countries have already changed their laws surrounding the use and distribution of cannabis, and many more may be on the horizon to consider legalizing in the near future.

The first country to legalize recreational cannabis was Uruguay in 2013, and in October 2018, Canada became the second. These two countries are blazing a trail for other nations to follow, setting the stage for the legalization of cannabis both for medical and recreational use.

Here are some countries that may be on the heels of legal recreational cannabis.

The Netherlands

It may come as a surprise to many that The Netherlands still has yet to legalize cannabis for recreational use on a federal level. Considering the fact that many parts of the country are legally permitted to have cannabis sold in coffee shops, it would stand to reason that this particular nation is close to the legalization of cannabis.

Many proponents of cannabis have long been fighting for its legalization, especially considering how bad the cannabis black market has been. In fact, the government is reportedly considering a trial program whereby a licensed cannabis producer will supply the substance in a handful of different cities across the country.

South Africa

Last fall, the Supreme Court in South Africa decided to allow people to grow and use cannabis for personal use. That said, such production and use must be done in private and cannot involve commercial distribution. But the recent decision may be just enough encouragement for the country to move to more active discussions about how to proceed with the potential legalization of cannabis.


The year 2015 saw the beginnings of what could possibly be the start of the legalization of cannabis in Mexico. Since then, there have been several Supreme Court rulings in the nation regarding the rights that citizens have in terms of growing, distributing, and using cannabis for personal consumption.

Both President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador and Supreme Court justice Olga Sanchez Cordero are proponents of cannabis legalization, which means the country could continue to see more serious conversations about legislation surrounding cannabis.


Cannabis laws in Jamaica were amended in 2015 to decriminalize possession and allow cultivation of no more than five plants. Medical cannabis has already been legalized, with the first medical cannabis dispensary having been opened in St. Ann in early 2018. Further, the International Caribbean Community (CARICOM) may also be in talks to relax cannabis laws in Caribbean countries.


Portugal decriminalized all drugs back in 2001, and in the early summer of 2018, the European nation provided parliamentary approval of a bill introduced to legalized medical cannabis products.

With a string of nations softening their laws on cannabis, only time will tell who will follow in the footsteps of the progressive nations of Canada and Uruguay in terms of cannabis legalization.

, Reuters, June 2018.

About the author

Lisa Rennie

Lisa Simoneli Rennie has been working as a freelance writer for more than a decade, creating unique content dedicated to informing consumers. She enjoys sharing her knowledge and experience with others, and in her spare time, Lisa enjoys trying funky new recipes, spending time with her dog, and of course, reveling in the joy of family.

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