Nature

8 Countries That Are A Must-Visit For Cannabis Tourism

1. Spain.

Image credit: Jose Maria Cuellar, Flickr

Marijuana has been legal in Spain for decades. If you're doing a cannabis tour of Europe, Barcelona is a good place to start. It's on the route to Amsterdam, arguably the world's marijuana-tourism Mecca. Spain has embraced its marijuana tourism industry with open arms. Economically, the country has struggled to find its footing since the Great Recession, but the government doesn't mind the economic boost pot shops is giving the nation. To the world's pot tourists: COME VISIT!

2. Portugal.

Image credit: Paolo Margari, Flickr

All drugs have been decriminalized in Portugal for more than a decade now. It was the first European nation to decriminalize all drugs, including marijuana, meth and cocaine. Those drugs are still illegal, but the country doesn't believe that one should serve prison time for it. Addicts receive only a small fine. The money saved not imprisoning addicts has been used to fund resources that treat addiction as a health crisis, not a crime.

If you're caught in possession with small amounts of drugs, you can get the treatment you need if you want it. 

3. Canada.

Image credit: GoToVan, Flickr

O Canada! America's neighbor to the north doesn't have outright legal marijuana, but it does have a government-sanctioned medical marijuana program. 20 companies are licensed to produce cannabis for medical purposes in Canada. The Canadian government has been using the stacks it's received from the sale of medical marijuana to further study the drug's uses.

4. Israel.

Image credit: ronsho ©, Flickr

Israel has a booming medical marijuana industry, supported and funded by its government. The nation is one of the world's leaders in research on marijuana's impact on cancer, addiction, and PTSD. Israel's federal government coordinates the medical marijuana program.

5. Iceland.

Image credit: Moyan Brenn, Flickr

Imagine smoking some northern lights and then watching the northern lights! According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, the citizens of Iceland smoke more pot on average than anywhere in the world. About 18% of the population says it smokes weed. They're also one of the happiest populations on Earth. Go figure.

6. Netherlands.

Image credit: Nicola Albertini, Flickr

Cannabis is actually illegal in the Netherlands, which makes it an unlikely world capital for cannabis tourism. it has, however, decriminalized small amounts of the plant. Some two million tourists a year visit Amsterdam for their legendary coffee shops, which are licensed to sell weed. You can't buy bud on the street and the coffee shops card.

7. Uruguay.

Image credit: David Almeida, Flickr

Uruguay made headlines in December of 2013 when it became the first nation in the world to legalize marijuana completely. The nation's powerful cartels were decimated, and the nation set the price of cannabis so low that anyone could afford it. The cartels were run out of business. President Jose Mujica has, however, announced that complications have delayed sales until 2015.

8. North Korea.

 Image credit: (stephan), Flickr

Alright, so maybe North Korea shouldn't make its way onto your list of countries to visit for marijuana tourism, but it is an interesting case study in drug legalization. It hasn't been officially confirmed by their strict, controlling government, but according to various news outlets, visitor reports, and Open Radio North Korea, pot has never been a controlled substance and is not considered to be a drug. Don't be fooled though, if you make your way into North Korea to do some harder drugs like meth, the punishment will be severe.

Marijuana is highly accessible in the DPRK, often growing along roadsides. People in North Korea make regular trips to the countryside to harvest the plant. Many residents have smoked the plant, calling it "leaf tobacco" and is especially popular among young soldiers in the North Korean military.

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