The legality of cannabis concerns laws which in most countries regulate the use, possession, cultivation, transfer, and trade in cannabis. Since the beginning of widespread cannabis prohibitionaround the mid 20th century, most countries have not re-legalized it for personal use, although more than 10 countries tolerate (or have decriminalized) its use and/or its cultivation in limitedquantities. Medicinal use of cannabis is legal in a number of countries, including Canada, the Czech Republic, Israel and 16 states of the United States(though it is illegal, according to U.S. federal law).In the Netherlands cannabis is formally illegal, but Justice guidelines show that no action is to be taken in case of possession of a small amount and sale under strict conditions.
Some countrieshave laws that are not as vigorously prosecuted as others but, apart from the countries that offer access to medical marijuana, most countries have various penalties ranging from lenient to very severe.Some infractions are taken more seriously in some countries than others in regard to the cultivation, use, possession or transfer of cannabis for recreational use. A few jurisdictions have lessenedpenalties for possession of small quantities of cannabis, making it punishable by confiscation and a fine, rather than imprisonment. Some jurisdictions/drug courts use mandatory treatment programs foryoung or frequent users, with freedom from narcotic drugs as the goal and a few jurisdictions permit cannabis use for medicinal purposes. There are also changes in a more restrictive direction as inCanada. Drug tests to detect cannabis are increasingly common in many countries and have resulted in jail sentences and people losing their jobs. However, simple possession can carry long jailsentences in some countries, particularly in parts of East Asia, such as Malaysia where the sale of cannabis may lead to a sentence of life in prison or even execution.
Under the name cannabis, 19th...
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