The Facts

Cannabis Legalization: What does it mean?

Whether cannabis use is legal or not varies around the world.  Even in regions where use is permitted, the use of cannabis is controlled differently.

For many years, people have spoken about going to the Netherlands to buy cannabis as a tourist experience.  Use of cannabis in the Netherlands is decriminalized.  This means that individuals may possess small amounts of cannabis for their personal use and not face prosecution.  Certain coffee shops there are permitted to sell cannabis under strict conditions but there is no allowance for a big business approach.  This limits the profit that can be made from cannabis sales.

Legalization of cannabis allows for the potential for large profits from cannabis sales.  Places that legalize cannabis sales can have different approaches.  In Colorado, for example, while it is potentially legal across the state, cities were allowed to decide if they wanted to opt in to selling cannabis in their community.  This means that some cities are weed-free and some allow legal recreational use of cannabis.

Consumption of cannabis in public, including smoking, is illegal in Colorado.  Edibles are the only way to use cannabis outside of a private residence.  This is why so many poisonings associated with cannabis use in Colorado. Washington state and Oregon also legalized cannabis with differing amounts of THC in edibles for instance, permitted in the two places.

In Canada, regulations for use and sale of cannabis vary from province to province.  Prior to considering any legal use of recreational cannabis you should consider the lower risk cannabis use guidelines and local regulations.

For more information about the current state of cannabis laws in Canada, please visit the Department of Justice website