Some call it Mary Jane, others call it Dr. Giggles. Its scent is pungent, with a strong, fruity and dry aroma that is easy to pinpoint upon entering a hemp shop or rock concert. We’re talking about cannabis, also known as marijuana, and in most states and countries, people simply dub it illegal. This “substance” has gotten puffs of praise and criticism, and it is a hotly debated subject as to whether or not marijuana should be made legal. While you’ll find people using it to simply get high on life, it can also be recommended for medicinal use. What’s the verdict? Is marijuana harmful or helpful? What countries are welcoming it, and what counties are on the crack down?

What’s with the Rough Stuff?

Courtesy of TreeHugger

For much of history, marijuana has been completely legal, starting out with folks who grew and used hemp (the marijuana plant) for everyday purposes. Cannabis is indigenous to Central and South Asia, and evidence of the inhalation of cannabis smoke can be found in the 3rd millennium BC. Cannabis is known to have been used by the ancient Hindus of India and Nepal and known to the ancient Assyrians and Aryans. The hemp plant has many uses, and according to, the plant has been used across centuries for food, incense, cloth and more. While it definitely has psychological effects when smoked, it also serves many medicinal purposes. These days, where medicinal marijuana is legal, patients are given a “marijuana card” to use the substance to treat muscle spasms that can be caused by multiple sclerosis, nausia from chemotherapy, poor appetite and weight loss from chronic illnesses such as HIV and AIDS, Crohn’s disease, seizure disorders, and many other ailments that a doctor deems appropriate for the use of medicinal marijuana.

Smokin’ in the States:

While the states of Colorado and Washington have embraced the high life and made The Devil’s Parsley legal, other states in America continue to hold strict laws on when the drug can be used. Many states have made the drug legal for medicinal uses. For example, in Illinois, a medical cannabis pilot program began in January of 2014, allowing the cultivation and sale of marijuana. However, the rules are strict: cultivation centers cannot be within 2, 500 feet of any schools or residential areas, dispensing facilities cannot be within 1,000 feet of the same criteria, and there cannot be more than one cultivation center in each of the 22 State Police Districts.

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Courtesy of USA Today


Legalizing the Pakalolo Gold in South America:

While nearly all countries around the world have some sort of law against marijuana, in December of 2013, Uruguay became the first country in the world to fully legalize the production and sale of cannabis. When the new law comes into full effect in April of 2014, Uruguayans will have an array of options to access the green. For those looking to grow cannabis, the new law will restrict six marijuana hives per person. The most cannabis that one will be able to buy in one month will be 40 grams, and residents over age 18 will be required to register in a nationwide database that keeps track of how much marijuana has been purchased each month. Unfortunately for residents living outside of Uruguay, the law will not allow foreigners to buy cannabis. However, the illegal market price of $1.40 will topple over the legal market price of $1 per gram. Why has Uruguay decided to legalize the growing, selling and consuming of this drug? According to RT network, Jose Mujica, Uruguay’s president and a nominee for this years’ Nobel Peace Prize, proposed the bill as a way to get rid of some of the illegal drug trade in Uruguay and bring some peace and healing to a drug-abused world.

Hitting on the Rainy Day Woman:

Uruguay will now be the leader for the next countries looking to get legal on the Sticky Icky. According to the RT network, 35 Dutch municipalities are asking the government to let them grow cannabis. While Dutch laws allow people to sell marijuana, the plant cannot be cultivated, which means that Dutch coffee shops, which can legally sell the drug, must illegally obtain it from less-than-ideal sources such as gangs. Like Uruguay, the Dutch laws on cannabis have encouraged organized crime. Although the government hasn’t latched on to this idea, the international appeal to weed has begun to flare up. According to TIME, Mexico City legislators are working to legalize and regulate marijuana consumption. Once again, much of the motivation to legalize the substance comes from the fact that it would free up the police forces and give them more time to focus on “serious” crime.

While marijuana doesn’t harm the body nearly as much as, say, methamphetamine or krokodil, long-term marijuana use can lead to addiction, which may be what has left this substance in the illegal zone for so long. However, as it grows in medicinal use, and as crime and drug wars rise, the legalization of this bambalachacha, also known as marijuana, is becoming more and more prominent, and a sense of marijuana culture is beginning to bloom. It is very likely that more countries will begin to legalize this drug, following the leadership of Uruguay and select states in the USA. Look out, world – the Golden Leaf is growing high.

Cover photo courtesy of RT