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Infographic-Marijuana Lessons for Canada: USA vs Portugal vs Netherlands

From Europe to North America, the legalization of marijuana is a hotly debated and discussed topic. The subject of marijuana is no longer taboo or something to hide. It is now a substance that is openly accepted and progressively regulated in many places. Already there are countries that are implementing marijuana laws for both medical and recreational use.

In some instances, countries are legalizing marijuana in stages. In Canada, marijuana is currently legal only for medical purposes with licensed producers providing medicinal marijuana to users who have a medical need via registered mail. The country will be joining the ranks of countries that have fully legalized it by the spring of 2017.

But while full marijuana legalization has still yet to be realized, Canada is seeing a lot of tension between authorities and pro-marijuana supporters. Marijuana entrepreneurs are already taking the risk of setting up illegal marijuana dispensaries in anticipation for the future marijuana market. Authorities are overwhelmed with the number of store front shops that are opening in Toronto and Vancouver. As it stands, there are many legal gray areas when it comes to Canadian marijuana laws.

Thus, there is no telling how the Canadian legal landscape will look like in 2017. What personal amount will be considered legal for recreational use? How many marijuana plants can one grow? Will it be legal to smoke in public? How will it be tested for quality control?

For guidance, the USA, Portugal and the Netherlands—countries that have gone through the experience of legalization (both partially and fully)—may provide some insight as to what form Canada's legal framework for marijuana could take. Here’s what the marijuana laws in these countries currently look like.

Infographic courtesy Toronto-based O'Neill Moon Quedado LLP. An expandable version of the infographic can be view on their site here.

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