International Marijuana Laws: Three Takes In Three Countries

Three countries, one week and three different public policy views about cannabis laws:

Switzerland — After years of debate, and with a number of cantons having already done so, the entire nation of Switzerland began a cannabis possession decriminalization policy for adults. This is not unlike similar penalties in fifteen states in America and likely a prelude to eventual legalization in the infamously ‘neutral’ country (certainly more than most countries as the Swiss have been largely neutral in the war on some drugs).

Romania — Romania became the tenth European country to allow citizens to access medical cannabis for serious medical conditions.

North Korea — A social conscience travel blogger writes about and photographs what it is like in North Korea and that there are no laws against cannabis. This may explain Dennis Rodman’s new fascination with visiting the country.

27 thoughts

  1. Do we really want to reference North Korea in a way that looks like we sympathize with the government. No laws against it because it’s unenforceable likely. I worry to have the cannabis movement associated with North Korea in any way. The movement has momentum but it’s not a battle won yet.

    [Editor’s note: Referencing a travel blog that does not glamorize North Korea while at the same time revealing unknown information about the country’s cannabis policies is informative for American cannabis consumers, not threatening or can be construed as sympathetic to a rogue country. Cannabis curious minds want to know what the laws and customs are for the herbal drug all over the globe, including closed societies like North Korea’s.]

  2. Marijuana is completely legal in North Korea. Not long ago Drug War zealots would have jumped at this as the explanation for all of North Korea’s ills.

  3. Can someone please start asking our US Congress why the shutdown the government to stop Obama care because that’s what the people want yet when it comes to the biggest majority on a social issue why they will not vote to legalize marijuana for at least medical use. This question will put their foots in their mouths. .. and why the tea partyis still complaining about Obama not doing anything to stop Washington and Colorado marijuana reform while campaigning for smaller government. ..

  4. “… in North Korea and that there are no laws against cannabis”

    In simple terms,

    You know America is fucked when North Korea has more freedom.

  5. After western governments managed to juggle some issues and revise their policy on Iran, it is time to LOBBY for a retake on North Korea. Thank you for sharing the Travel Blogger story.

    “While the flavour’s all there, it’ll take a few well-packed joints before one starts to feel anything approaching the effect typical of a Western crop.” Jokes about how the DPRK keeps its citizens under dictatorial control by keeping them stoned to the contrary, note that rolling big joints of weak cannabis results in a Drug Cocktail of heat shock, carbon monoxide and 4221 combustion toxins which everyone should understand by now is what gets you stoned, not the cannabis. Note that the North Koreans don’t seem to understand what cannabis is about, otherwise why would they refer to it as a kind of tobacco!

    The key innovation which could solve the psychological hang-ups of that country, and lead to security and world peace, might just be to PROMOTE LONG-STEMMED ONE-HITTERS with 25-mg serving size (and maybe also the corresponding stronger western-style herb to be served in the more moderate quantities).

  6. re: mexweed says,

    “The key innovation which could solve the psychological hang-ups of that country, and lead to security and world peace, might just be to PROMOTE LONG-STEMMED ONE-HITTERS”

    – I like that mindset…

    Pot for peace…

  7. So, the most repressive country has the most liberal of marijuana laws (none)? Ain’t that odd?

  8. Hello Warren, no not really. Conservatives doesn’t support the Drug War. Theocrats and Fascists do. Frankly, theocrats are liberals that believe in forcing everyone to bend to their “god’s will” by making the government an omnipresent force in everyone life. Religious regulations are some of the dumbest around, yet they want to government to enforce them and shove their bullshit down everyones’ throats. They say things like, “I believe the the sanctity of life and abortion for any reason should not be legal” Then turn around and say, “Well, yes, I support the death penalty even though we keep sending innocent people to death row.” These aren’t the words of a conservative interested in justice, these are the words of a Theocrat who is interested in manipulating people.

    Why should people that are Buddist or Jewish pay taxes to a government enforcing half (non-)accurate “Christian Laws”??? This is how to get conservatives of all kinds fighting with each other while the fascists and theocrats keep scoring wins by passing their crap laws.

  9. I appreciate Dave’s effort to nail down what a true Conservative is. (Or with little initial letter if you prefer.)

    A Cannabis Conservative might be someone who wants to abolish the $$-wasting 500-mg H-ot B-urning O-verdose M-onoxide joint, and encourage every dispensary to give out a free 25-mg-per-serving one-hitter (or vape pen, etc.) with each legal purchase of herb by certified buyer. Eventually when unwarranted fears of cannabis disappear, let the State, in form of dispensaries and red tape, “wither away” and be replaced by millions of family garden grows.

    PS I wouldn’t mind seeing the word “liberal” disappear and be replaced by Liberative, which helps remind us to go out there and LIBERATE more captives from those fascists and theocrats.

  10. Enlightenment comes after reception of facts is disseminated into ones personal perspective. Ignorance is a result of closing ones mind to the uncomfortable because of fear or indifference.

  11. Mexweed, besides for Theocrats and Fascists pretending to be and vying for conservative voters, there are the Histrionics. These people actually have a disorder related to being very rigid in their thinking patterns and they tend to self-identify as “conservatives”, but they are just morons that react, never actually apply “conservative theory” to their plans or who they are voting for. This are the “birthers” and “climate change deniars”.

    “Evidence be damned, we are too crazy too care!”, is their motto. They aren’t conservative, they are nuts. People who are making us weak, while our enemies overseas in Russia and China are laughing at the mess we are in. As we get weaker as nation and our dollar gets weaker, their money looks better to world wide investers. These morons are tying to kill our entire ecomony to prove a point that they are flat out wrong on. This behavior isn’t “conservative” it is “histrionic”.

  12. TO: J.J. no one here is speaking of Obamacare keep your agenda out of these grown up conversations about Cannabis.
    Try to stay on topic.

  13. @Dave,

    Good point about birthers, cc deniers, I’m more optimistic about the nation andworld, we will get through the birth trauma of on-line, computers etc., and beat child obesity, robotize the training of chimps and bonobos and increase their populations, making them into full world citizens, eliminate the $igarette which is #1 cause of climate change by causing deforestation, build 600-mph trains to replace airplanes and much else. Cannabis fosters creativity and a diverse rather than concentrated attention span, making all the above possible.

  14. The Asians, Japan, S. Korea, China, Vietnam, Singapore, Indonesia, are very strict about illegal drugs. Some airports have signs warning of the death sentence for traffickers. In Japan smoking a joint is a felony, and is only done in private by a small minority. I think in China pot is only smoked by foreigners. It’s only used for fiber and seed. Though, the cops most places wouldn’t know what it is, probably think it’s just some strange American tobacco, I’m sure their laws a stiffer than Japan.

  15. What Switzerland is doing is ground breaking. In the heart of Europe, a weed is spreading. And it’s not just medicinal marijuana; the Golden Aged- Green Revolution we are all about to experience is founded on building products, fuel and food. Make no mistake; The U.S. is in competition with the world for a pending cannabis Golden Age: A Green revolution that will keep us on edge not only with Europe but with China and the rest of growing Asian continent.
    Now the U.S. will be the world’s leading exporter of cannabis oil, food, building products and ethanol, paying off our defecit with cannabis and crude oil. But with healthier competition than China will experience in the coming age.
    A land from Iowa to Louisiana, the “bread basket of the America,” will soon become the breadbasket of the World. And the real advantage to America? While China grows in hunger for safe, clean, food products, hemp grows exceptionally well along the East coast of the United States. But that’s not all! Hemp also grows througout the western U.S., solving some very serious water conservation issues, considering that hemp uses less water than corn.
    Asia, by comparison, has less agility to zone it’s prime farms lands, or regulate clean water, scattered in pollution and erosion from centuries of top-cut cultivation and poorly developed industrialization. As Asia grows, the demand for clean hemp food products will skyrocket over the coming generation.
    In conclusion, as I have blogged here before, the United States of America has no choice but to legalize marijuana. So far, competition from Iran and Isreal have dominated the cutting edge of cannabis innovation. We have seen California compete with Colorado and Washington passing a hemp bill the day of ethanol-subsidy-induced shut down. But the greatest competition lies ahead: the cannabis competition between the U.S. and China– unlike any innovation the world has ever been provoked to know: Healthy food, medicine, building products, and renewable celullose ethanol can count on it. We live in truly inspiring, “high” times for civilization. May the best nation inhale…

  16. People, people, people. It’s name is CANNABIS. C-A-N-N-B-I-S. The word marijuana was used to do and end run around the medical community, back when this colossal fraud was perpetrated on the American people. It has a negative connotation to me and others, and I truly wish we could stop using that word altogether. PLEASE.

  17. Excellent coverage by Julian, not to be picky but “Breadbasket of the World” might be misunderstood,. how about Potbasket?

    Hemp uses less water than corn– but I’ve read somewhere its more aggressive rootgrowth digs for water at deeper distances than most other annuals?

    Bushwater program (put the bushes in the water, get it):
    1. Taxpayer-supported Brigade to Clip, pick, gather deadwood, weedstalks
    2. Haul logs to town to replace live-cut lumber in carpentry, mfg. Haul smaller material to creekbeds, ravines, gullies, lay dust and chips lowest, bundled stalks on top, build several feet of bio-mound up millions of creekmiles across targeted drought-stricken US areas. (In October workers HEMIGRATE to Australia, Brazil, Chile et al.)
    4. SEED HEMP, root system grabs, holds biomass against erosion. Each year deposits more LITTER, topsoil for future trees.
    5. Seed with fast growing invasive eucalyptus, ailanthus, cottonwood, willow etc.
    6. Decade later, seed with pine and hardwoods.
    7. Mature forest eats CO2, prevents global warming.

  18. @Mexweed,
    Good point about hemp’s ability to “tap root” a little more than other varieties of marijuana (or cannabis in general…). As a result, marijuana (especially hemp) draws water up from deeper wells, allowing the living soil at the surface to thrive and compost. In semi-arid lands like here in central Texas, this ability to “dig deep” even in rocky, poor nutrient soil plays a crucial advantage. One of the more intrusive, water-hogging trees we have to deal with in the Texas Hill Country is the Texas Juniper, (commonly called cedar… a bush, not to be confused with tall northern cedar). This plant grows its roots at great lengths just under the surface like a sponge, drying up the earth and spreading its needles full of arsenic to prevent competing growth. There are water conservation programs, (though underfunded), to remove cedar and bring back our natural springs and lake levels.
    The problem: cedar GROWS BACK, and FAST.
    The solution: Grow hemp right after the clearing.
    Hemp will grow so well in the ashed clearings of freshly burnt cedar and a good rain that it will crowd out the spring cedar saplings before they can do any damage. The hemp can prevent erosion from the clearings, use MUCH less water than the cedar and allow the land to heal. Plus, builders like myself can use the crop to build eco-friendly houses, trapping the carbon for millenia.
    We may not get the kind of robust crop of hemp one may find say, in the valleys of Kentucky, but the fact that this hardy weed can grow in this limestone and clay at all is not only astounding, we NEED it. Americans are only begining fully comprehend the severity of water conservation from the Kansas to California. All of my clients in the Hill Country are buying storage tanks and going to complete rain water collection systems. Even after all this well-needed rain these last two weeks, our lakes are still 1/3rd full. As the good book says, “We don’t miss the water until the well runs dry.” Well, I’d add to that that here in Texas we miss our hemp and marijuana like we miss our lakes and springs. Weed can truly save the planet from ourselves.

  19. Just an add-on note to my previous post; The way people took care of the juniper-cedar problem for hundreds if not thousands of years across Texas was with the fall burn-out; that is, cedar was burnt in planned, seasonal fires. Controlled burnings are an option we can discuss with our local fire department, who are usually willing to help farmers, also in the early spring to control undergrowth out of the hay field like burs and stickers. The nitrogen in the ash works as a natural fertilizer.
    The problem still remains that if we don’t plant right after the next rain, the cedar grows right back. And for many farmers, the cost of fertilizer and pesticides are more expensive than coastal hay and oats are worth. And if it doesn’t rain? Well water doesn’t contain the nitrogen that rain water does. And if the well pump dries out irrigating? Even the thought of farming on a small scale in drier, western states makes no sense anymore without hemp and marijuana as an alternative.
    Hemp and marijuana don’t require expensive fertilizers and pesticides. And as Washington state demonstrated, even the stems and leaves discarded after a marijuana harvest fattened their lean hogs up to 40lbs: more on average than feeding hogs corn (or whatever that stuff is that falls to the bottom of the chicken assembly lines). We can all speculate as to why the hogs ate more, (munchies?) but the facts are still there: marijuana is a vastly more agriculturally productive crop.
    With well researched agricultural practices, (and the passage of the pending hemp research amendment) marijuana can lead the world into a healthier, cleaner, more sustainable agricultural revolution.
    Maybe we should bring back “Captain Planet” on saturday morning cartoons and put a big weed leaf on his chest and let him preach to the kids?

  20. God bless the Dutch, the Czechs, the Swiss.
    ( et al ).It’s nothing less than noble for
    them to put humanity above money. Alas, for many other nations veering toward ignorance & fear of the blessed herbal sacrament, their citizens live unliberated, suffering without
    the immunity from diseases that it bestows. As if that weren’t tragic enough, they’re fleeced by Big Pharma shaking them down all the way to their graves. All about the Benjamins, no ?

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