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June 19, 2012 | Like this article? Join our email list:
The legality of cannabis varies from country to country. Possession of cannabis is illegal in most countries and has been since the beginning of widespread cannabis prohibition in the late 1930s. [ 1 ] However, many countries have decriminalized the possession of small quantities of cannabis, particularly in North America , South America and Europe . Furthermore, possession is legal or effectively legal in the Netherlands , North Korea [ 2 ] and would be in the U.S. states of Washington and Colorado if it were not for federal law, which governs persons in all states. [ 3 ] The medicinal use of cannabis is legal in a number of countries, including Canada , the Czech Republic and Israel .