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What Can West African Countries Learn from the USA, Portugal, and Netherlands about Marijuana Legali

Just like in West African countries, Canadian citizens have been discussing the legalization of marijuana for quite some time.  And similar to countries like Ghana, with strict and repressive drug policies, Canada has been experiencing tension between authorities and pro-marijuana users.

However, the new Canadian new liberal government, led by Justin Trudeau, has just announced the launching of a marijuana legalization task force and with it, the beginning of the legalization process. Hopefully, by the spring of 2017 marijuana will be legalized in the country for recreational use.

There’s still a long way to go and until then possessing, producing and selling marijuana are illegal, just as it is in other West African countries with rigorous regulations. On the other hand, what can we expect from the whole process? What are its goals? There are still a lot of unanswered questions for Canadians, questions that all countries looking to legalize marijuana will face.

This infographic from OMQ Law, a criminal law firm based in Toronto, gives us a neat comparison of legal regulations in countries which has, at least partially, legalized marijuana for recreational use. The cases of Portugal, Netherlands, and five US states provide examples of different legal frameworks that may be feasible, not just for Canada, but for all West African countries.

In Netherlands, for instance, marijuana can be used only in licensed coffee shops, while in Portugal people are advised to be discreet and not to smoke the substance in public. There are five US states – Colorado, Washington, Oregon, Alaska, and Washington DC, which allow cannabis for recreational purposes. Yet, each state is regulated by its own marijuana laws, while it still remains illegal in the rest of the country.

Access the Infographic to see what other policy ideas West Africa can learn from these countries in more detail.

By Hanna Anderson from OMQ law office

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