Legalization of Cannabis in North America and Western Europe

Legalization of Cannabis in North America and Western Europe

Amidst the upheaval of America’s Presidential elections in November 2016, one thing that trumped its opposition for sure was cannabis, more commonly known as marijuana. There is a rising trend in the demand for legalization of cannabis in North America and Western Europe, especially after the populous states of California, Maine, Nevada, and Massachusetts have joined the roster of states permitting legal trading of cannabis.

The cannabis market currently has a value of $7 billion, and that’s just the legal one. The black market for marijuana is estimated to be nearly $50 billion, which if legalized, stands to enrich legitimate investors by a significant amount. The expected legalization of cannabis in Canada by July 1, 2018 has also become a major driver increasing the clamour for legalization in  North America.

However, North America is not the only country set on what seems an inexorable course of legalization. The topic was a bone of contention in the hotly-contested Presidential elections in France in May 2017, with four out of five candidates supporting the relaxation of cannabis-related laws. While complete cannabis legalization does not seem to be newly elected President Emmanuel Macron’s stand for France, the subsequent relaxation is expected to pave the way for the same in the future.

Given the conflicting positions of the European legislation, which completely bans cannabis in Europe, and the European countries’ individual stands of relaxing the legislation, several innovative means of bending the law have been incorporated by countries such as Germany, Netherlands, Spain, and Portugal, which have allowed decriminalization but not legalization of cannabis. Nevertheless, the overall trend of cannabis legalization is on the rise across North America and Western Europe, making it more a question of when than how. The imminent legalization of cannabis is expected to have massive ramifications with respect to the economic and social climate of the western world.

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