Where is cannabis legal in Europe?

Published May 19, 2019 12:08 p.m. ET
Can you smoke pot legally in Europe? Photo by freestocks.org from Pexels

Marijuana use in most of Europe remains illegal, however many countries have decriminalized or turned a blind eye to personal use. Cannabis laws differ from country to country in Europe, should you be planning a trip with the intentions of smoking your way through Europe, stop and do your research. Each country has its laws on this subject.

There are studies that indicate 1% of the population of Europe are regular pot smokers. The EU has uniformed laws between countries except in the decisions around marijuana laws. Some of the countries in Europe that you should not smoke in include Sweden, Finland, Greece, and Hungary, to name a few. These countries laws include marijuana use as a criminal offense punishable with jail times.

Major countries throughout Europe where marijuana is legal or at least decriminalized:

The Netherlands
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 you can only sell 5 grams of cannabis 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.

This country also has reasonable relaxed laws. Portugal has decriminalized all narcotics, of which they include cannabis. Repeat offenders may be fined and have to go before a three-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.

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.

Be prepared to face perhaps some of the toughest cannabis laws that exist in Europe. The penalties in this country for being caught with marijuana can range from having to participate in a drug awareness class and can span to having to serve up to one year in prison when using for your personal use. France is one of the countries that consume the most marijuana use in Europe.

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. It remains that small amounts for personal use are illegal. However, 6g to 15g is considered the amount for personal use, and you may escape prosecution.

In this country, you can smoke freely; marijuana use is legal here and available, especially for medical use. Of particular note, the cannabis strains must contain no more than 1% THC. This is truly looked upon as medicinal, it 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.

Be mindful when visiting here. 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. There is a catch; however, 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, you can be prescribed medicinal cannabis.

Czech Republic
Medicinal use of marijuana is legal, but very few doctors are licensed to prescribe it. If you happen to find a doctor to prescribe for you, a 180g prescription can be supplied for a month use. Recreational use laws are relaxed for possessing small amounts. 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.

This country is changing its perception of cannabis and medicinal use for those with legal license marijuana is available through dispensaries. If you are found to possess a relatively small amount of marijuana, your stash will be seized, and a warning will be issued to you. A second offence will include a fine, and the third could land you in prison for up to 5 years.

So as mentioned, before you go hiking to higher grounds, do your research find out where legal marijuana can be consumed, and enjoy your trip!


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