Two prestigious non-partisan groups have released reports in recent weeks urging leaders to decriminalize, legalize, and regulate marijuana. The Adam Smith Institute, a libertarian-leaning think tank based in the UK, put out a report titled The Tide Effect: How the World is Changing its Mind on Cannabis.

The release, backed by a bunch of British government bigwigs including former deputy prime minister Nick Clegg, urges the UK to follow in the footsteps of US states such as California, saying, “The people of California have just voted to legalise cannabis – a decision which will have immense repercussions both in America and around the world,” and that “the legalisation of cannabis [in the UK] is both overdue and imperative.”

“The Tide Effect” posits that the current UK government’s “strategy is based around three main pillars: reducing demand, restricting supply and building recovery. All three are failing.” It argues that cannabis policy should fall with the Department for Health, not law enforcement and that the language used to discuss marijuana policy should be changed from “using the words of public fear – ‘illegal,’ ‘criminal’, ‘dangerous’, and so on” to “using the language of public health, consumer rights and harm reduction, the same language used about alcohol and tobacco.”

The report comes hot on the trail of another from the Global Commission on Drug Policy which carried a detailed argument for the worldwide decriminalization of drugs in order to avoid human rights violations which befall drug convicts around the globe. GCDP is a group made of world leaders including several former presidents and prime ministers including former Secretary General of the United Nations Kofi Annan, former U.S. Secretary of State George Schultz, and former heads of state of Mexico, Greece, Brazil, Portugal, and Colombia.

America is arguably making the most visible headway in cannabis policy at the moment, with eight states now having legal recreational marijuana, but Uruguay took an even bigger step in 2013 and legalized cannabis nationally while Portugal decriminalized all drugs in 2001. The 30 top cannabis-consuming countries in the world are as follows, according to data from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) reported by The Telegraph

  1. Iceland – 18.3% (prevalence of use as percentage of population)
  2. US – 16.2%
  3. Nigeria – 14.3%
  4. Canada – 12.7%
  5. Chile – 11.83%
  6. France – 11.1%
  7. New Zealand – 11%
  8. Bermuda – 10.9%
  9. Australia – 10.2%
  10. Zambia – 9.5%
  11. Uruguay – 9.3%
  12. Spain – 9.2%
  13. Italy – 9.2%
  14. Madagascar – 9.1%
  15. Czech Republic – 8.9%
  16. Israel – 8.88%
  17. St Lucia – 8.87%
  18. Belize – 8.45%
  19. Barbados – 8.3%
  20. Netherlands – 8%
  21. Greenland – 7.6%
  22. Jamaica – 7.21%
  23. Denmark – 6.9%
  24. Switzerland – 6.7%
  25. Egypt – 6.24%
  26. UK – 6.2%
  27. Ireland – 6%
  28. Estonia – 6%
  29. Bahamas – 5.54%
  30. Sierra Leone – 5.42%

Photo via Flickr user Soumyadeep Paul