If you live in the Western part of the world, you’ve seen how the legalization of cannabis is sweeping North America, South America and Europe. However, the rest of the world isn’t as accepting of this plant. Places such as Asia and Africa still have extremely strict cannabis laws.
In Japan, getting caught with cannabis can mean a fine and up to 5 years of prison time. If you’re caught trying to grow or transport it, you can get a fine and 10-15 years of prison time. With such harsh laws, the younger generation is still trying to smoke because of its popularity in the Western world. In Kochi, 12 kids and teenagers were arrested for smoking cannabis. One of the boys stated they “wanted to be like foreign musicians so we smoked weed”. Most Japanese people didn’t even know what cannabis was until it became popular in the Western world. This is because most of the cannabis in the country is imported so it’s extremely difficult to find without knowing the right people. If you were lucky enough to have some 30 years ago, you could’ve smoked it on your porch and nobody would’ve batted an eye because they didn’t know what it smelled like or looked like.
In South Africa, cultivation and personal consumption of marijuana became legalized just a few months ago. South Africa is one of the most developed countries in Africa and is working its way towards a better future. By legalizing cannabis and joining first world countries in the global market for cannabis, this will give a noticeable boost in their economy. This will also bring down crime rate and incarcerations which are essential to a country’s development into a first world country. There are many more steps South Africa must take towards becoming a developed country, but legalizing cannabis is a step in the right direction!
In Israel, recreational use of cannabis was decriminalized in 2017. Right-wing Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked said “The State of Israel cannot turn a blind eye in light of changes worldwide regarding cannabis consumption and effect." With Israel making this legal change, it encourages the Middle East to begin reevaluating their drug laws. It also encourages more of the Middle East to adopt more openness to Western and European cultures. Marijuana may not literally bring peace to the Middle East, but it’s something that is slowly becoming normalized and if the Middle East can find some common ground such as the marijuana markets, then there may be some sort of resolve between the countries.