Canada has set a deadline for legalizing cannabis. By spring 2017, the substance will be available for recreational use. During the summer, the Minister of Justice, Jody Wilson-Raybould, on behalf of the Liberal government, unveiled the Task Force for Marijuana Legalization. The Task Force will be responsible for considering all factors that affect the process. Taking into account the opinions of experts, the Task Force will evaluate factors like addiction, youth, health, and more importantly, new laws and international treaties.

Everything looks ready to start pushing the process forward. But, until then, there is a long way to go and a lot of things that should be implemented first. What people usually forget, though, is that until it’s legalized, marijuana is still illegal. And decriminalization? Unlikely.

Lessons Learned on Legalizing Cannabis

Of course, Canada is not the first country, and hopefully not the last, to go through the process of legalizing marijuana for recreational purposes. There are a few countries around the world that Canada can look up to when it comes to cannabis. For instance, five US states (Colorado, Washington, Alaska, Oregon and Washington DC), Portugal, and Netherlands have legalized the substance, at least partially. This infographic from OMQ Law is focused on laws and policies of these countries. Their experience can serve as a useful guide for Canada and its new drug policies.

Let’s take a look at the comparison of laws and practices in the US, Portugal, and the Netherlands.