This week, Mexico’s Congress is expected to begin deliberating a bill to legalize medical and recreational cannabis use across the country. President-elect Andrés Manuel López Obrador signaled his willingness to consider legalization during the campaign. Then last week, the country’s Supreme Court ruled that anti-cannabis laws are unconstitutional, forcing lawmakers to decide how to regulate its use.
López Obrador and Mexico aren’t alone in the push to decriminalize cannabis. Uruguay and Canada have already made recreational use legal, while 30 countries (and 33 U.S. states), including Australia, Germany and Israel, have legalized some type of cannabis use. Those numbers are growing. A dozen or more countries have started on the path to full legalization of the plant.
Spain and the Netherlands allow recreational use at designated cafes. Jamaica and the Czech Republic have burgeoning cannabis tourism industries, and have acknowledged them by starting to decriminalize medical use and possession of small amounts. After taking office last year, French President Emmanuel Macron followed through on a campaign promise to eliminate mandatory prison sentences for minor cannabis possession. Colombia and Portugal have strong grassroots legalization movements and growing government support. All these countries are often listed on “most likely to legalize next” lists.