Publication - Research and analysis

International approaches to drug law reform: research

Published: 5 Mar 2021
Directorate:
Justice Directorate
ISBN:
9781800047525

This paper reviews the international evidence on approaches to drug law reform, focussing on seven case studies from five jurisdictions.

International approaches to drug law reform: research
7. Annex: table of reforms

7. Annex: table of reforms

Jurisdiction Year Reform
Colorado 2012 Legalised possession and supply of cannabis
Washington 2012 Legalised possession and supply of cannabis
Oregon 2014 Legalised possession and supply of cannabis. Decriminalised possession of other drugs.
Alaska 2014 Legalised possession and supply of cannabis
California 2018 Legalised possession and supply of cannabis
Nevada 2016 Legalised possession and supply of cannabis
Massachusetts 2016 Legalised possession and supply of cannabis
Maine 2016 Legalised possession and supply of cannabis
Michigan 2018 Legalised possession and supply of cannabis
Illinois 2019 Legalised possession and supply of cannabis
Washington DC 2015 Legalised possession and supply of cannabis
Guam 2019 Legalised possession and supply of cannabis
15 other US states Decriminalised use/possession of cannabis
Canada 2018 Legalised possession and supply of cannabis. Medically supervised heroin injecting.
Uruguay 2013 Legalised possession and supply of cannabis
Bolivia 2009 Legalised supply and posession of coca
Spain 2001 Legalised consumption, growing and cannabis social clubs, but commercial production and sale remain illegal.
Netherlands 1974 Retail but not wholesale cannabis sales 'de facto' allowed through outlets. Posession of small quantities of other drugs (eg half a gram of cocain) is generally unenforced. Medically supervised heroin injecting.
Chile 2005 All private drug use/possession is unpunished. Thresholds between trafficking and personal use determined by a judge.
Croatia 2012 All drug use/ possession decriminalised. Drug use itself is not regulated by the law, but administrative regulations apply for public usage.
Czech Republic 2009 All drug use/possession decriminalised, but financial fines can apply.
Mexico 2009 All drug use/possession decriminalised, however quantities are ambiguous. In 2018 the Supreme Court ruled a ban on the use of cannabis was unconstitutional.
Peru 2003 Possession of small quantities of cannabis, cocaine, opium and MDMA are not punishable. However, police practices may not always reflect this.
Portugal 2001 All drug use/ possession decriminalised
Costa Rica Use/posession of cannabis de facto decriminalised
Ecuador Decriminalised use/possession of cannabis
Estonia Decriminalised use/possession of cannabis
France 2018 Depenalised use/possession of cannabis to 200 euro fine
Georgia 2018 Legal possession and consumption, but not sale, of cannabis through a constitutional court decision
Germany Authorities not required to prosecute possession of minor amounts
India Illegal but exceptions are made for selling and consuming bhang
Jamaica 2015 Decriminalised use/possession of cannabis. Legalised use for religious purposes
Luxembourg 2001 Decriminalised use/possession of cannabis
Paraguay 1988 Decriminalised use/possession of cannabis
South Africa 2018 A constitutional court decision legalised cannabis consumption by adults in private places
Switzerland 1990s Decriminalised use/posession of cannabis. Medically supervised heroin injecting.
UK Medically supervised heroin injecting.

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