History of Legalization of Marijuana


A History in Review

The history of marijuana’s track to legalization begins at its criminalization in the early 1900s. There was no shortage of people believing it caused improper thoughts among youth and quickly gained its notoriety as such. Fast forward to 2012 when a majority of US states began legalizing the plant for medicinal and recreational purposes.


The decriminalization among countries begins its comeback story with Burma, which legalized and licensed the production and sales of cannabis in 1939.

Next, in 1948 Japan showed signs of full decriminalization with the Cannabis Control Law, which allowed dealers access to licensing along with the punishment of unlicensed use or sale.

In Comoros, circa 1975 Ali Soilih would try to gain the support of youth citizens by fully legalizing cannabis, despite the stigma still felt across the globe. South Korea would eventually adopt the Cannabis Control Act in 1976, following in Japan’s green footsteps. Paraguay would take steps to decriminalize personal possession under 10 grams of marijuana in 1988.

During this time countries like Bangladesh and Lebanon were still creating laws to ban cannabis use under pressure from the United States, but in 1996 California would become the first state in the United States to legalize medicinal cannabis under Proposition 215 and would begin a surplus of countries to legalize both the medicinal and recreational use of cannabis.

Accepting a New Normal

Luxembourg would be the next to decriminalize cannabis, followed by both Canada (who would eventually allow retailers to sell cheap weed in canada) and Portugal in 2001. Chile would follow suit in 2005, and although not decriminalized, Russia would reduce its criminal threshold drastically the following year. Within the next few years Brazil, Austria, and Mexico would all adjust their cannabis laws to support either personal or medicinal use.

In 2009 Argentina would join the list of countries that completely legalized cannabis.

However, possibly the most notable change in the Northern Hemisphere would come in 2012 when the US states Washington and Colorado would completely legalize cannabis, and kick off a revolution known as the Green Rush

Many states within the US would come to create their own laws surround cannabis, with Oregon, California, Nevada, Arizona, Alaska, New Mexico, Illinois, Michigan, Maine, Vermont, New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey, and Virginia all legalizing the personal and medicinal use of marijuana.

History would be made again in 2013 when Uruguay became the first country of the modern era to legalize cannabis. That year, Italy, Romania, and the Czech Republic would all legalize the plant’s medical use, and lead to a large amount of 1st and 3rd world countries to begin their own journeys to the legalization of marijuana.