In what countries is pot legal?

People make a big deal about America’s draconian drug laws (and they are indeed draconian) and how we should legalize marijuana. But how many countries have legalized or at least decriminalized pot, and what regulations do they have concerning where you can smoke it, buy it, etc.
Also in those countries that have legalized marijuana, how do their laws concering other drugs (cocaine, heroin, meth, etc.) compare to those in the U.S.

It’s not so much that our drug laws are “draconian.” (Considering some of the laws in other countries, that’s quite an understatement.) Rather, it’s a combination of our desire to do and sell drugs, of politician’s desire to keep extending prison sentences instead of thinking and reaching for better solutions, and our society’s desire to make the jails comfortable, that our prison population has skyrocketed. People are thrown into jail for what they have no intention to stop doing, for a long time, and when they come out they’re not really that concerned about going back in.

Take a look at the Wikipedia list (“legality of cannabis by country”). Basically, legal (for certain purposes) in India, Iran and Pakistan and decriminalized in a few other countries.

Portugal, not quite legal but decriminalized.

People make a big deal about America’s draconian drug laws (and they are indeed draconian

The US does not execute drug traffickers, unlike several countries. Hell, someone in Malaysia was executed for trafficking in pot. You can read all about it on the PDF on this page.

That’s a matter of opinion, but as others have pointed out, we’re probably closer to the middle of the spectrum when compared to all the countries of the world.

Data is mixed about whether decriminalizing drugs lowers or raises rates of use. Portugal has seen drug use decrease by offering treatment for possession and abolishing incarceration for personal possession. Similar policies in the Netherlands have created all kinds of problems.

Marijuana use has been decriminalized in some US locales, fwiw, but the US still has the highest rate of use anywhere in the world.


On the card you fill out when entering Malaysia (and Singapore) there is a note in red letters. “WARNING: DEATH FOR DRUG TRAFFICKING IN MALAYSIA” (in Singapore it obviously reads “Singapore”). There is no excuse for being caught unless it was somehow planted on you.

Is the US still fighting ‘the War on Drugs’?

I didn’t even know we had a higher rate of use than Canada, let alone the world.

Really? The wikpedia page on Netherlands drug policy suggest that, if nothing else, their light enforcement of drug policy hasn’t made drug use in their country any worse then their neighbors:

Obviously wikipedia isn’t an ideal cite, but I followed the reference links through, and they do say what the article claims they do and appear to be from reputable sources.

According to the shop keeper in Jaisalmer, India, we were at the country’s only bhang (marijuana) shop except during the week of Holi (where other cities had the shops). I don’t partake, but my SO is somewhat of a global afficionado and first tried the green cookies and then got a baggie of it to smoke. The place only offered one “strength” which apparently was “sticky” but still “weak”.

I’m not saying that we’re the worst in the world when it comes to drug laws. But the fact that we’re more lenient than Malaysia really isn’t saying much either. That’s like trying to defend our waterboarding by saying “Well, Sadaam was worse.” True, but I’m sure that doesn’t make the person getting waterboarded feel any better. Saying that we’re not as bad as Malaysia doesn’t do much for the cancer-ridden guy who gets busted for having an ounce of weed, and it certainly doesn’t make up for the fact that in a lot of places a person with a couple of joints could potentially end up doing more time than Michael Vick.

Possibly the only place where it’s completely legal and unregulated is Somalia.

Such as?

Most of the problems in the Netherlands are caused by foreigners (French, Belgians and Germans) coming here to buy and smoke legal pot. This has created a veritable drug industry in the border areas which has been causing all kinds of trouble, although from what I gather (not being from those areas myself) these are mostly in terms of petty crime, loitering, littering. The soft drug business is by no means a crime free realm (by which I mean that it’s very clearly related to other types of crime that are not, contrary to pot possession and sale, decriminalized). Still, the policy of decriminalizing drugs has by and large been very beneficial here in my point of view, while at the same time not resulting in skyrocketing drug use. As Simplicio has said, pot use in the Netherlands is lower than in many countries in spite of pot being readily available to pretty much anyone over 18 (and under it as well, for that matter). Since the drinking age is a lot lower than in a bunch of places (16 for beer and wine, 18 for the stronger stuff) I think people just drink more and smoke less. Rightly so, of course: pot is totally overrated, alcohol is much more fun! :smiley:

Yes, according to this week’s issue of Time magazine: “America has the highest rates of cocaine and marijuana use in the world, and while most of the E.U. (including Holland) has more liberal drug laws than the U.S., it also has less drug use.”

Let’s keep the discussion factual here. While I’m sure some would relish a discussion about whether the U.S.'s drug policy is draconian or stupid, and the OP did mention the issue, there is no factual answer to it. If somebody wants to start a thread in Great Debates about whether the U.S.'s drug laws are more or less draconian than the laws of other jurisdictions, go for it.

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