Marijuana Legalization Across the Globe
Whether you’re looking to change your home region or seeking the perfect vacation getaway, becoming familiar with marijuana legalization laws can help you to stay out of trouble. The problem is that even federal laws can have grey areas or unexplained limits that make it difficult for consumers to decipher. Luckily, we are here to help, and below you will find everything that you might need to know about marijuana legalization worldwide.
Recreational vs medical marijuana
Most countries where weed is legal, hold strict rules and guidelines that differ, depending on the intent behind the individual who wishes to use cannabis. Medical marijuana laws are typically offered to individuals who obtain a license or permit that proves a need. Recreational cannabis is an entirely different category, and not all countries with a form of marijuana legalization in place will allow for both kinds of consumption.
CBD vs THC
Most consumers don’t realize that THC and CBD products are governed by vastly different regulations. That is because most CBD is derived from hemp and is non-psychoactive, whereas THC can result in mind-altering effects, and is harvested from a cannabis plant. While both plant species are incredibly similar, the cannabinoid content is what sets them apart in the eyes of the government. So if you are interested in the legality of CBD products by country or region, then you might want to check out our guide page that is full of rules that regulate CBD.
Countries where weed is legal and their current restrictions
Marijuana legalization in the United States has been a slow process, and so far 33 states have permitted their citizens to partake however products cannot travel outside of state lines.
This country has legalized medical marijuana and recreational consumption has been decriminalized since 2009 for amounts under 30 grams. Though public consumption is still shunned here, the relaxed possession laws have encouraged a bustling black-market industry.
Since November of 2016, medical cannabis has been legal in this region with a permit. While recreational marijuana is not legal, it has been decriminalized and carries a maximum fine of under $1000.
Canadians have enjoyed legal medical marijuana since 2001, and on October 17 of 2018, recreational consumption, sales and possession were also legalized. Here, you can enjoy a puff from a joint or vaporizer in nearly any public place, grow up to 4 plants per household, and carry up to 30 grams of dry product in public.
Public consumption and cultivation are permitted here for medicinal purposes as long as the individual obtains a proper license from the Chilean Agriculture Service. Recreational cannabis is not legal, but both growing and possession have been decriminalized.
If you reside in or travel through the district of Columbia, the limits in this region will afford you the ability to have up to 22 grams in your possession. Medical marijuana is permissible with a license, but patients must abide by a maximum of no more than 20 plants at a time.
This country considers small amounts of cannabis a misdemeanor, which can result in a fine, so consumers must enjoy their products in private, as public consumption can lead to a night in jail or a fine of up to $2000.
Recreational marijuana is completely illegal in this country, as cannabis currently sits listed as a Class B substance, which can result in up to 8 years in prison for possession and an entire lifetime behind bars for anyone who is caught distributing it.
Medicinal use of marijuana is legal, but very few doctors are licensed to prescribe it. If you happen to find a doctor who can prescribe it, only an amount of 180 grams can be supplied for a month’s use. Laws for recreational use are relaxed for possessing small amounts, and to be caught with a small amount is not punishable by law. You may, however, have to pay a fine if you have a large amount of marijuana, you could be facing prison time of up to one year.
Denmark is a bit late to the marijuana legalization game, as they just introduced a 4-year pilot program that will allow medical patients access to cannabis and infused products. However, if you are a recreational consumer, this isn’t a good region to reside as getting caught with marijuana in this country can result in imprisonment for 2 years, and a fine of between $400 and $760.
This region still has laws in place that prohibit the use, possession and cultivation of cannabis without a license, but since the views of citizens have shifted towards the support of full marijuana legalization, they are rarely enforced. Medical marijuana has been available in Finland since 2006 and by 2014 well over 200 licenses were approved.
Georgians have been allowed to possess, grow and consume cannabis for recreational purposes since 2018, but you won’t find any dispensaries here, as the sale of any marijuana-related product is completely prohibited.
When in this country, you will notice that the laws here around cannabis are a bit less stringent and slightly more flexible. Germany has permitted medical marijuana as legal medicine since 2017 and it remains that small amounts for personal use are illegal. However, 6g to 15g is considered the amount for personal use, and if caught with this amount, you may escape prosecution.
This region still maintains a firm stance against the recreational use of cannabis, but with a permit, medical products including buds, concentrates and oils, can be purchased through either the government or another licensed dispensary.
Ireland has been a major contributor to cannabis research for the medical community, but they have yet to recognize the substance as one that should be enjoyed recreationally. However, with a medical license, consumers can now grow up to 3 plants and consume cannabis in their homes and in specified public areas.
Here, cannabis is decriminalized, so citizens can grow and enjoy their products at home without fear of persecution, but that change wasn’t made official until April of 2019, and public use is still a fineable offense. Despite the late decision to implement some form of marijuana legalization, Israel has supported medical consumers right to use cannabis since 2014.
Be mindful when visiting here as this country has some confusing laws regarding weed. It is legal to purchase from the many shops, weed with low THC content, just like Switzerland, however, there is a catch as it remains illegal to consume marijuana, and these shops are technically only selling the weed as a collector’s item. For medical conditions like AIDS, Tourette’s and nausea medicinal cannabis can be prescribed.
Jamaicans can legally grow up to 5 cannabis plants and possess up to 2 ounces of dry product in public, and they have enjoyed this permission since 2015. Unfortunately, medical patients had to wait until 2018 to see the very first medical dispensary open, but this area is now well suited to all cannabis enthusiasts.
Lithuania passed a bill to allow for the use of medical marijuana by permitted individuals, but this region is not cannabis-friendly for recreational consumers. Permit holders may purchase medical cannabis through a select few vendors, and any action outside of these restrictions is fineable by law.
This country is a tricky one that offers some legal weed, but far too many restrictions. Traveling and public consumption is not legal, although it is decriminalized and anyone caught selling, cultivating or smoking cannabis in public areas may receive a fine of between $250-$2500.
Cannabis possession is decriminalized and has been since 2018, but only a small amount of 3.5 grams or less is safe, as any more can lead to arrest imprisonment and fines. Though recreational consumers don’t have it easy here, medical marijuana patients can grow, consume, and buy products from licensed dispensaries.
Marijuana use here is not legal, although it is decriminalized. The 1970s saw the beginning of marijuana selling in the cafes. Some of the conditions that allow this are that only 5 grams of cannabis can be sold to an individual at a time, nationals do not have the legal right to possess marijuana and can be prosecuted if they are in possession of more than 5 grams.
Medical marijuana use is legal in this region and has been since 2018. Here, recreational users who are carrying less than 28 grams are assumed to hold only enough for personal consumption, which is at most a minor fine. A referendum to introduce marijuana legalization is set to take place in 2020, and it is expected that New Zealand will join the ranks of the other more cannabis-friendly countries with complete reform.
Recreational consumers are still barred from partaking in the cannabis industry here, and getting caught with a large amount of product can result in imprisonment for between 3months and 5years. Medical marijuana became legal here in 2016, but consumers are still prohibited from cultivation.
Norway is currently undergoing the process of full decriminalization, but until then personal consumption or possession of up to 15 grams is punishable by a criminal record and fines. Every charge after the first is to be proceeded by an ever harsher result, which makes this a difficult place to be for recreational consumers. However, medical licenses to cultivate, process and enjoy cannabis have been available since 2016.
In Peru, anyone can carry up to 8 grams of cannabis without being punished, as it has reached a decriminalized status. However, anyone caught selling or cultivating without a license may receive between 8-15 year in prison.
This region abides some of the strangest limitations, with all cannabis products that contain less than 2% THC is legal since 2017, but anything exceeding that amount can be punishable by jail times and or fines. Despite the difficulty that recreational users face, medical consumers can obtain a permit that allows for growing a maximum of 5 plants, purchasing products through approved vendors, and public consumption in some areas.
This country has reasonable relaxed laws. Portugal has decriminalized all narcotics, of which they include cannabis, however, repeat offenders may be fined and have to go before a 3 person panel consisting of medical, legal and social care members. The thought is rehabilitation as compared to prosecution. Cannabis consumption laws are relaxed here, but cultivation could land you in jail.
Cannabis enthusiasts flock to South Africa for its relaxed cannabis laws, as marijuana legalization here allows everyone, including both recreational and medical users, to grow, possess and publicly consume cannabis products with no limitations.
Here too, marijuana laws are complex when discussing cannabis use. To consume weed in public is an offence punishable by a hefty fine. Luckily for the Spanish, if you privately cultivate and consume, all is good in small amounts.
Sr Lanka does not allow for recreational cannabis, but it has one of the oldest medical marijuana systems in the world. In the 1980’s, the Ayurveda Act came into effect, which protects traditional herbal medicines practitioners and vendors of the products that they prescribe.
In this country, you can smoke freely as marijuana use is legal here, and available especially for medical use. Of any particular note, the cannabis strain must contain no more than 1% THC. This is truly looked upon as medicinal, which may help some conditions, but you likely will not get those high feelings. There is a penalty if you consume illegal weed, and you may be given a fine. You may not be prosecuted if you are found with less than 10g.
Thailand is known for its cannabis laws that are so rarely enforced that recreational consumers often feel completely comfortable toking less discreetly, but unless you have a medical license, possession, cultivation and selling are all technically illegal and punishable by fine or imprisonment. Medical permits have been available to the public here, since 2018.
This country is changing its perception of cannabis; marijuana is available through dispensaries for medicinal use for those with legal license. If you are found in possession of a relatively small amount of marijuana, your stash will be seized, and a warning will be issued. A second offense will include a fine, and the third could land you in prison for up to 5 years.
Citizens of Uruguay enjoy full access to legal cannabis and have, since 2013. Travelers are barred from purchasing marijuana products and only citizens who are over the age of 19 may purchase marijuana products from dispensaries.
Here, medical permits are required to buy or consume cannabis and it cannot be grown or sold without accreditation from the federal government. Anyone who is caught possessing cannabis without a permit may have their products confiscated, and face fines of under $100. Selling is punished more harshly with up to 5 years in prison.
Cannabis is illegal here without a license for medical use, and anyone caught using, cultivating or selling marijuana products may face fines or up to 12 years in jail.