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Full Report (PDF, 858KB)

This report provides a review of laws adopted in 16 countries with regard to legalization, decriminalization, or other forms of regulation of narcotics and other psychoactive substances.  Individual country surveys included in this study demonstrate varied approaches to the problem of prosecuting drug use, possession, manufacturing, purchase, and sale.  The country surveys demonstrate some diversity and common threads among these jurisdictions as to defining narcotics, distinguishing between “hard” and “soft” drugs, establishing special regulations concerning cannabis, refusing to prosecute personal use and/or possession of small quantities of drugs for personal use, giving law enforcement authorities the discretion not to prosecute minors and first-time offenders, applying alternative forms of punishment, and providing treatment opportunities. 

A Comparative Summary is included.

Countries Where Cannabis Is Legal and Regulated

Uruguay

Countries that Do Not Penalize Personal Possession and Use

Costa Rica
Czech Republic
Mexico
Netherlands
Portugal

Countries that Allow Treatment and Alternative Punishments for Minor Offenses

Argentina
Australia
Brazil
Germany
Israel
New Zealand
Norway

Countries with Pending Proposals for Decriminalization

Canada
Ireland
South Africa

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Last Updated: 12/30/2020