What is the difference between legalisation and decriminalisation?

Contrary to common belief, marijuana is not legal in the Netherlands, but decriminalised.

In the debate over drug policy reform, we often hear the words ‘decriminalisation’ and ‘legalisation’ being used. Both are alternatives to prohibition, however they vary significantly. Below are some of the key differences.

(Note: Specific legislation may vary by jurisdiction)

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