In California, medical marijuana card holders are blessed when it comes to how the state views MMJ. Not only does the Golden State have some of the laxest medical marijuana laws in the country, but it is also only mere months away from legalizing the plant for MMJ card holders and recreational users alike.
Although Californians have a tendency to see their state as the center of the universe, it is not the only place that has such open-minded medical marijuana laws. Countries all around the world have similar laws whereby MMJ card holders gets to enjoy the same type of freedom you get here at home. Let’s take a whirlwind tour of the most medical marijuana-friendly countries in the world
Where else could you start except for in the weed capital of the world? This northern European country has long been lauded for its relaxed attitude toward marijuana in general and medical marijuana in particular. It should come as no surprise that the Netherlands’ medical marijuana program is probably the best in the world with huge amounts of government money going toward research to better it even further. MMJ users in the Netherlands have two options when it comes to obtaining the plant: informally from a recreational dispensary or formally through a pharmacy. Accessing marijuana in the Netherlands is as easy as you’re going to find anywhere else in the world with about 700 weed dispensing “coffee shops” spanning the country.
Jamaica is seen by some as the beating heart of the global marijuana community; however, for a country with such a prolific and well-documented history of promoting the plant’s recreational use, Jamaica only actually decriminalized the possession of marijuana in 2015. Nowadays, with the bureaucratic nightmare of decriminalization behind them, Jamaica is every ounce the MMJ mecca that it has always been believed to be. It even has a cannabis licensing authority that is in charge of the cultivation and distribution of the plant for medical and scientific purposes. Although MMJ is not easily accessible to everyone in Jamaica, if you have your California medical marijuana card on you when you’re traveling to the country, you can get a permit in the airport for a few dollars that will allow you to consume MMJ wherever you want.
Uruguay hit the headlines in 2013 for becoming the first country in the world to completely legalize marijuana, which destroyed the country’s powerful drugs cartels. In Uruguay, you’re welcome to grow up to six plants of your own at home or acquire some from the state-controlled marijuana dispensary program — and you don’t need a medical marijuana card to do so. Although this program has had some teething problems, nowadays, the price for MMJ is so low that everyone can afford it, which means that those in vital need of its healing powers can access it easily. Uruguay has been somewhat of a trailblazer on the South American weed scene. Since the legalization of the plant in 2013, Chile and Colombia have followed suit, and more are set to follow.
Our northerly neighbors may not have total legalization yet — they’re working on it! — but they do have a pretty great medical marijuana program that has been in place since 2001. In order to obtain a medical marijuana card in Canada, you must have a diagnosis and a recommendation for MMJ use from a licensed physician. Then you can acquire the plant from any of the 29 licensed producers who are accessible from every corner of the country. According to recent data, about 29,000 Canadians are now benefiting from the wonder plant.
Believe it or not, Israel is also a trailblazer when it comes to medical marijuana research. It was an Israeli scientist who was one of the first researchers to identify cannabidol (CBD) and who later determined the structure of tetrahyrdocannabidiol (THC). Ever since the 1960s, the small Middle Eastern country has been refining the study of the plant, and in 1992, it approved marijuana for medical use. Today, around 25,000 Israeli patients use the plant to treat a whole host of ailments.
Although MMJ is not widely accepted through the entire Scandinavian country — you could see yourself slapped with a fine for openly consuming outside of the Christiania district of Copenhagen — the Danish attitudes to cannabis are pretty lax. Medical marijuana has been legal in Denmark since 2011, and all you need is a prescription to legally acquire and consume it. Although only three types of cannabis are legal for medical use — sativex, marinol and nabilone — a whopping 88 percent of Danish people are in favor of the total legalization of all types of medical marijuana.
As attitudes start to become more liberal and more parts of the world start to open their eyes to the wonders of medical marijuana, you’ll begin to see more countries become havens for both MMJ card holders and recreational users. Unfortunately, some areas have quite a long way to go when it comes to marijuana acceptance, but overall, the world seems to be moving in a more weed-friendly direction than ever before.