Where Is Marijuana Legal Outside the United States?

Learn if marijuana is legal in Amsterdam or anywhere else outside the United States in this Howcast video.

Internationally, marijuana was first mentioned in a treaty called the 1961 Control Single Convention Treaty on Narcotic Drugs. When that was signed in New York City, really, it was pushed by the United States in a number of, as the lead and they tried to make it so that all countries in the world would gain a monopoly on marijuana and coca and opium, other plants that they wanted to control. Essentially, these countries, world governments, representatives, gave themselves monopoly ownership of legitimate distribution of marijuana.

Over the years, countries have interpreted this treaty broadly, or loosely, depending on what their culture is, what their constitution is, what their customs are. So, for example, most famously, in the country of the Netherlands, with millions of people who’ve lived there for thirty years, they’ve lived in a framework where marijuana is tolerated to be sold in cafes called coffee shops and tolerated to be grown at home. And they have a system of purchasing based on age restriction. You know, they still consider themselves to be in compliance with this treaty because they’re saying they haven’t legalized it, but they’re just choosing not to enforce that law.

So, the treaties are really kind of a historical relic and a lot of countries even including Uruguay, Spain, Portugal, are moving in very different directions from this sphere of those treaties, which was all about top-down control. A lot of countries are taking a lot more liberties with the control or regulation of marijuana compared to, but there are other countries where the situation is very different and marijuana can be the grounds to put you to death. For example, in Singapore and Malaysia, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, even India and Pakistan all have death penalties on their books for the use of marijuana.

I think recently, the Supreme Court struck theirs down, but this shows you the extreme to which some of these countries took the liberties in this treaty and they have executed people, versus other countries that treated it as a culturally accepted behavior.

In the United States, it’s a huge patchwork that varies from state to state, but our federal government continues to maintain a zero tolerance hard liner approach, which really isn’t consistent with the, the will of the majority of the people in the country.