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While most countries outlaw marijuana, certain countries have legalised it for personal and/or medical purposes. In some cases, it is LEGALised! This has created a climate where cannabis traditions arise and grow.

Switzerland is one of these countries with their famous cannabis naptime. This happens usually once a year on the last full week in July or the first week in August. People gather and enjoy traditional cannabis dishes and drinks as well as networking opportunities.

Another tradition that gathers people is Christmas Eve festivities such as lighting candles, getting into rest positions, and doing spiritual practices. This is usually celebrated with hash or tea parties where people share stories with friends and family.

These events are a way for people to connect before the new year starts and focus on their health and wellbeing.

Asia: The birthplace of cannabis

Top view of crop anonymous person holding toy airplane on colorful world map drawn on chalkboard

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels

Asia is home to more than 20 countries where cannabis is considered a plant consumed, and less of an illegal drug. Most of these countries have designated areas where vegetation is legal, and tobacco, alcohol, and drug laws do not apply.

In China, domestic cannabis use is common. In fact, domestically produced cannabis is usually of good quality and sold at a affordable price. In addition, there are international cannabis production facilities in China that produce high quality products for export.

In North Korea, domestic cannabis use was widespread until 2006 when enforcement began due to its production being unreliable. Today, North Korea does have reliable sources of cannabis but because it is illegal, it is very expensive.

Most people in North Korea know about hemp fiber and how useful it is for textiles but few know about marijuana because it is illegal.

The Middle East: A mixed history of cannabis

420 Around the World: A Journey Through International Cannabis Traditions and Celebrations

The Middle East has a long history of using drugs and drug use, including cannabis.

From the earliest civilizations to the modern day, people have used cannabis for religious purposes, as a treatment for disease, and as a recreational drug.

As in many countries, cannabis has been used to treat medical conditions. One of these was used by King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia during his time as president from 2004 to 2005.

When he was diagnosed with prostate cancer, he mandated that all members of his government were issued official Medical Cannabis cards. This meant that people who were suffering from pain and other symptoms could access Medical Cannabis without fear of prosecution.

Another person who had medical cannabis treatment was Jack O’Leary, an American who lived in Saudi Arabia during the 1950s and 1960s. He spent years being treated with Cannabis while fighting depression.

Africa: A mixed history of cannabis

420 Around the World: A Journey Through International Cannabis Traditions and Celebrations

Central and South America have a long history of cannabis cultivation and use. In Central and South America, cannabis has been used for religious and symbolic purposes for thousands of years.

In Central and South American cultures, pot is more than just a drug: It is considered a powerful spirit destroyer, an agent for love and fertility, and a blood-purifier. All of these attributes make pot one of the more revered plants around!

During the Spanish colonial period (1400–1700), plants such as tobacco were highly esteemed. Cannabis was thought to be particularly beneficial, since it was believed it originated from the gods. Pot was believed to give people strength, so its use persisted even into the early 19th century.

By that time, however, Westerners had taken up pot as a recreational drug, so its prestige as a medicine decreased.

Europe: Cannabis culture in Europe

420 Around the World: A Journey Through International Cannabis Traditions and Celebrations

In Europe, cannabis is decriminalized and typically referred to as medicinal marijuana. There are a few national cannabis regulations, but typically not enforced.

In some countries, such as the Netherlands, cannabis is widely accepted as a medicine. In other countries, such as Germany, cannabis is considered a drug and not accepted as a medicine.

However, in both cases, people are aware of what they are supposed to do if they feel under the effects of CBD — take a break!

As with many things, when you’re out of it, you’re in right? Cannabis has been used for millennia to heal wounds and stress has never gone away.

Some believe it helped them recover from war or trauma and helps them cope with stress which makes it an effective alternative medicine.

Canada: Legalizing marijuana

420 Around the World: A Journey Through International Cannabis Traditions and Celebrations

On January 1, 2018, the Canadian government formally made marijuana legal for personal use. This was a long time coming, as Canada had been leading the world in cannabis policy since the early 1900s.

In 2003, British Columbia became the first province in Canada to legalize marijuana, followed by Alberta in 2005 and Saskatchewan in 2006. In 2008, British Columbia became the first Canadian province to officially regulate marijuana, followed by Quebec in 2009 and Manitoba in 2013.

In 2017, Canadians were offered a second look when Parliament allowed for non-medical use of cannabis. Now that people are starting to use pot at an older age, health professionals are on edge about potential health issues such as cancer or Alzheimer’s disease.

This new generation of users is driving the demand for pot at an older age set. According to Statistics Canada, 8% of Canadians aged 55 and older used medical marijuana in 2017.

The United States: Legalizing marijuana

420 Around the World: A Journey Through International Cannabis Traditions and Celebrations

In February 2018, the US government announced that it would begin to study ways to legalize and regulate marijuana, making it the first country in the world to do so.

At present, marijuana is only legally available for use in Colorado and Washington, both of which have approved legal retail sales throughout 2018.

However, with further research and development, this could soon be matched by other countries. Many people believe this will eventually lead to the legalization of all drugs, opening up new revenue streams and opportunities for investment.

Mexico: Medical marijuana in Mexico

420 Around the World: A Journey Through International Cannabis Traditions and Celebrations

In Mexico, cannabis is used for medical purposes. This is possible thanks to the centuries of traditional medicine that mentioned it.

Today, around five percent of the population has medical marijuana, and more than half use it for pain. Most people who use cannabis aren’t fond of smoking it, so many people prefer taking it in the form of drinks such as tea or coffee.

Since cannabis is still considered a drug in many countries, taking it is a little bit of a risk. However, recent regulations have helped make using cannabis easier. There are even resources available to help people get started using it!

There are several ways to celebrate medicinal marijuana in Mexico.

Oceania: Cannabis culture in Oceania

420 Around the World: A Journey Through International Cannabis Traditions and Celebrations

Australia and New Zealand are usually thought of as countries, but there is also a country called New Zealand.

Australia and New Zealand are located in the Pacific Ocean, which is located between the Southern Ocean to the north, and the Antipodes to the south.

The South Pacific is home to several islands that have marijuana culture. One of them is New Zealand, where cannabis has been legal for almost a century.

Like many countries with marijuana laws, you can go to jail for it! However, since medicinal use of cannabis has been gaining momentum, people are beginning to realize its benefits.

New Zealand has four main marijuana traditions: Māori, Polynesia: The Cane Belt around Hawaii has large deposits of volcanic petraite which have been used for ritualistic purposes since at least the 18th century; Pacific Islands: Various tribes throughout Micronesia use smoked cannabis; Southeast Asia: The Philippines have used pot for religious purposes since ancient times.

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