Legal Hemp varies from country to country and depends on a few factors: possession, distribution, cultivation, mode and reason for consumption, particularly if the latter involves medical and curative uses.
In 1996, California became the first state in the world to allow Legal Hemp for medicinal purposes after the prohibition period. Today, cannabis is considered legal in several countries, but regulations vary widely depending on its use: agricultural, medicinal, or recreational.
Countries where Legal Hemp exists : medicinal use and agricultural use
Countries to have legalized the medical/scientific use of cannabis are: Australia, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Germany, Greece, Israel, Italy, the Netherlands, Peru, Poland, and the United Kingdom. In the United States, 31 federal states have made the therapeutic use of the plant legal.
Recently, medical cannabis was removed from Schedule IV (the most restrictive, in which substances such as heroin and cocaine are found), precisely because of its therapeutic uses. The UN then officially recognized its medicinal properties in a vote cast in Vienna by member states at the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND), which voted on the World Health Organization’s (WHO) six recommendations, including the declassification of medical cannabis from the infamous table.
This historic decision will surely open up new global scenarios of legalization for the purpose of scientific research.
Agricultural use involves in Italy and other countries the consumption, production and trade of Cannabis sativa L., the scientific name for the hemp plant of the sativa variety, carefully selected not to cause narcotic effects, even if ingested or inhaled. This type of Legal hemp, called “Cannabis light” thus contains very low amounts of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and a high percentage of cannabidiol (CBD). It is generally used to reduce environmental impact in agriculture, produce industrial, craft and food supplies, and much more.
Recreational use of Legal Hemp. Between legality and prohibition
Recreational purposes are the most difficult for most countries around the world to accept and regulate. Its effects rely on high THC content and depend less on the type of hemp (sativa or indica) than on subjective factors. Recreational cannabis use is still subject to strong prohibition; however, legal hemp , which is used for its relaxing, anti-inflammatory and calming properties, can also be traced to this area of use.
Countries that have made recreational sales and consumption completely legal include Canada, which enacted specific legislation on October 17, 2018. In Uruguay, recreational cannabis has been legal since 2013: any person over the age of 18, after registering with a specific consumer registry, can freely use it. In the United States, despite being illegal at the federal level, recreational consumption and sale is legal in some states, such as Oregon, Nevada, California, Alaska, Washington, Colorado, and Columbia. In countries where there is no ad hoc legislation, such as Bangladesh, the consumption, production, and sale of cannabis appears to be totally legal.
Then there are many countries in which consumption is only partially legal. The Netherlands, world-famous as the home of free consumption, was, yes, the first to introduce a tolerant policy toward consumers (January 1, 2001), but this tolerance is limited to coffee shops, outside of which cannabis continues to be considered illegal and possession of a quantity greater than 5 grams is a crime. Spain takes measures not dissimilar to those in the Netherlands, legalizing the use and sale of cannabis only in certain designated premises. In Portugal, on the other hand, possession is legal, but buying and selling is prohibited. In the Czech Republic, selling is prohibited, while personal use and cultivation is generally tolerated up to a maximum of 15 grams. Personal use is also permitted in Germany, while buying and selling is prohibited.
In most Latin American countries, possession and use are not illegal, but particular aspects and practices are penalized, e.g., group use in Chile; in Mexico, use and cultivation are punishable unless special permits are obtained; in Brazil, there is a clear distinction between traffickers and users, etc.
Finally, among permissible recreational uses, we can mention uses in religious settings (ceremonies, rituals, liturgies, etc.) in countries such as India and Jamaica.