2013 proved to be a strong year for cannabis-legalization activists. Uruguay became the first country in the world to fully legalize the possession, cultivation, transport, sale, and consumption of marijuana throughout the country after Uruguayan President Jose Mujica’s bill approval. The passing of the cannabis legalization law was met with no major fanfare but with minimal opposition from the international community. Raymond Yans, the chief of the United Nation’s International Narcotics Control Board (INCB), said that the new Uruguayan cannabis-legalization law blatantly goes against a 1961 UN Treaty which outlaws the production and sale of marijuana worldwide. Yans has condemned that Uruguayan government as well as the Uruguayan President for not consulting the INCB prior to approving and ratifying the new law. President Mujica retorted that he didn’t actively avoid any meeting with the INCB – he says the UN board made no attempt to discuss the matter with him.
Yans also came down on the American states Washington and Colorado following the full legalization of cannabis within their state borders: In May 2013 and November 2012, both Colorado and Washington, respectively, fully legalized the closely-monitored statewide production and sale of marijuana. The legalization of marijuana in Colorado and Washington has raised quite a few eyebrows both nationally and internationally, and prompted many U.S. states to introduce their own cannabis-legalization bills.
Nonetheless, President Mujica has received much praise for the recent national legislation. Mujica’s supporters report that he has been nominated for the Nobel Peace prize, which they’ve been pushing for since 2012. Despite any trouble that may be following President Mujica following the new legislation, many countries are now closely assessing the situation in Uruguay while debating their own legalization proposals. These countries extend all over the globe and have already made some attempts at legalization. Below is a list of the ten countries that may be in line to legalize marijuana next.
According to the US federal government, Marijuana is still a Schedule 1 substance, but it would appear that individual states are currently turning the tide on cannabis’ legal status. The states of Colorado and Washington have fully legalized the cultivation, transport, sale and possession of marijuana, not unlike the full legalization that took place in Uruguay last year, while many provinces allow medicinal marijuana (above, pictured, is war veteran Sean Azzariti making the first legal purchase of marijuana recorded in American history in Colorado last month). US President Obama recently stated that he believes marijuana is no more dangerous than alcohol, condemning the effects that the war on drugs has had on underprivileged youth. Multiple members of congress have signed a petition requesting marijuana to be reduced from a Schedule 1 drug. Whether they succeed or not, marijuana may soon be legal in the United States.