Pro-Cannabis Laws’ Influence Change Around the Globe

When it comes to cannabis law around the world, we are all connected. There’s a domino effect across the globe. One country decriminalizes, then its neighbor. After that, the influence spreads through trade routes to benefit consumers and cannabis entrepreneurs around the globe.

It reminds me of our next-door neighbor. She picks up her leaves and mows her lawn every week or two. We like to wait until all the leaves fall from the trees to pick them up, so the yard can get quite unruly twice a year. When it does, the leaves from our yard blow into hers.  

Deep down I know her patience for our leaves can only last so long. The leaves don't bother us, but to make our neighbor’s life better we clean them up. I'm not sure she notices but after there are two clean front lawns right next to each other.

I’d like to think something similar is happening with cannabis laws around the globe. Our pro-cannabis neighboring states influence our cannabis laws for the better.

Take the matter of the hemp truck delivery situation in South Dakota in August 2019, a midwestern state in the United States. South Dakota state troopers stopped and arrested a truck driver carrying a load of hemp from Colorado to Minnesota, they seized the hemp from his truck.

Less than six months later, marijuana for both recreational and medical use gets onto the November 2020 ballot. The government of South Dakota puts cannabis in the hands of the people. They're even urging voters to make their voices heard  by absentee balloting in the event CORONA-19 keeps them from the polls. A big turnaround in very little time for a conservative U.S. state.  

So how can there be so much pro-cannabis sentiment in such little time?

Minnesota lies to the east of South Dakota. North Dakota to the north. Montana to the Northwest. All three states have a robust medical marijuana industry. And medical marijuana is classed as “essential” business for coronavirus purposes. 

South Dakota feels the influence of its neighboring states.

The same neighbor to neighbor influence happens miles away in Europe. I’m thinking of the Netherlands as a sort of beginning in the process of legalization in Europe.  

In 1972, the Netherlands put marijuana in the less dangerous drug category. It became a misdemeanor to carry up to 30 grams.  While the Netherlands still hasn’t completely legalized cannabis, it has decriminalized up to 5 grams for personal use for Dutch nationals

By the 1990’s cannabis lovers were traveling to Amsterdam to visit the famed coffee shops to partake. 

The Dutch were the first in Europe to decriminalize. Then came its neighbors Luxembourg and Belgium. Luxembourg decriminalized cannabis in 2001. They were the second European country to relax its cannabis laws. Then in 2003, Belgium followed suit. The shared trade routes may be one reason patterns like these occur.

One expert on the subject explains the activity as the result of the “cannabis winds of trade”.  And trade is a pretty good explanation for one sovereign honoring the marijuana laws of a neighboring state.

Trade routes are opening more doors for marijuana. Countries like Germany and Canada need medical-grade marijuana to treat more patients. And foreign countries want to fill the need. 

In 2017, Lesotho became the first African Country to legalize medical marijuana.  South Africa, their neighbor soon followed. Both countries will benefit economically from their pro-cannabis laws. Export countries like Germany, the U.K., and Canada will also benefit from the lower costs associated with getting cannabis grown in regions where cannabis grows easily.

Columbia also answered the call for medicinal marijuana. The region’s climate is suited to Cannabis growing. And most of the cannabis grown here is cost-effective. Because of the benefits of high-grade medicinal cannabis grown inexpensively, Columbia is quickly becoming a leading exporter of medicinal marijuana. Now, Columbia exports medicinal marijuana to Germany, Canada, and the United Kingdom. It's a beneficial relationship and more countries are catching on.

The first countries and states in Europe, South America, North America, and Africa to influence modern pro-cannabis legislation by continent are:

In Europe

·         The Netherlands in 1972

·         Luxembourg decriminalizes in 2001

·         Portugal decriminalized (all drugs) in 2001

·         Belgium decriminalized in 2003

In South America

·         Chile decriminalized in 2005

·         Brazil decriminalized in 2006

·         Argentina decriminalized in 2009

·         Uruguay legalized in 2013

·         Columbia legalized medical cannabis in 2015

North America

·         Washington State and Colorado were the first U.S. states to legalize cannabis in 2012 (marijuana remains illegal in the U.S. under federal law)

·         Mexico legalizes cannabis with < 1% THC in 2017

·         Canada legalizes cannabis in 2018

·         The U.S. legalizes cannabis with <0.3% THC in 2018


·         Lesotho legalizes in 2017

·         South Africa legalizes in 2018

·         Zimbabwe legalizes medical marijuana in 2018

·         Malawi legalizes medical cannabis in 2020


As more countries (and states) adopt a pro-marijuana stance the positive influence spreads.  One day, without a doubt cannabis, will be accepted all over the world. Then people who need medicinal cannabis will have greater access.

Find out more about cultivating cannabis around the world today!