There are dozens and dozens of countries where marijuana is “legal” , but that doesn’t necessarily mean that marijuana is fully legal. Many countries have either full legalized the medical use of marijuana for patients with certain ailments, others have decriminalized the personal use of marijuana under a certain possession amount and some have kept it illegal but not making it a punishable offense. Cannabis legality is a complicated process that requires years of political movement, scientific studies, economic clarity and legal red tape. This is why unlike Canada and Uruguay where weed is fully legal, most countries throughout the globe haven’t or wont fully legalize weed. Here we’ll look at several countries by continent that have relaxed their marijuana laws and have become one of the countries where pot it “legal”.
The United States still considers cannabis federally illegal if has a THC percentage of 0.3 and is classified as a Schedule 1 drug. This however doesn’t mean it is illegal in particular states, districts and territories throughout the country. To date medical marijuana is legal in 33 states, 4 U.S. territories and the District of Columbia. Each state, territory and district have their own rules and laws towards how it is sold and produced, how it can be consumed and what specific medical conditions it can be used for.
To date 11 states have legalized the use of marijuana, along with two territories and one district, this includes:
- District of Columbia
- Northern Mariana Islands
Though illegal at a federal level, the Justice Department does not enforce that law within states that have legalized cannabis.
In 2017 Mexico signed a bill allowing for the use of medical cannabis that contains less then 1% of THC. In Mexico cannabis is still considered illegal but the Supreme Court of Mexico ruled in 2018 that the law prohibiting the use of marijuana was unconstitutional. The Supreme Court of Mexico has ruled the Mexican government must legalize cannabis by December 15, 2020.
Medical cannabis has been legal in the provinces of Chubut and Santa Fe since 2016 and as of 2017 the Argentine senate approved the use of CBD for medical use. In 2009 Argentina decriminalized the use of small amounts of cannabis for personal use in private areas.
As of 2016 the Supreme Court of Bermuda ruled in favor of the use of medical cannabis by its citizens. Though legislative steps towards providing legal marijuana as a medical option have not progressed, changes to self-imposed United Nations restrictions may help make medical marijuana more available. Bermuda decriminalized the personal possession of up to 7 grams of cannabis in 2017. Allowing citizens to carry 7 grams of marijuana without repercussion from the law.
Medical marijuana was legalized in 2015 and can be prescribed by doctors and purchased through pharmacies. Private cannabis consumption is decriminalized in Chile as of 2015, but only for home use or on private property.
Medical marijuana is legal in Columbia allowing for both cannabis and cannabis derivates for medical use, along with the opening of several medical marijuana dispensaries post the 2015 legislation. In 1994 the Columbian government ruled that possession of cannabis and other drugs for personal use were legal. In 2012 cannabis was officially decriminalized for the possession of up to 22 grams and in 2015 it was ruled that cultivation of up to 20 plants was permitted.
Possession of cannabis for medical use or therapeutic purposes is legal in Jamaica. A patient needs permission and a prescription from their doctor in order to obtain legal cannabis. Although cannabis is synostosis with Jamaica, it wasn’t until 2015 that Jamaica officially decriminalized cannabis. Specifically, the amendment decriminalized possession for personal usage. Up to 56.6 grams is considered a petty offence, which means it cannot result in a criminal record. Jamaican citizens are also allowed to grow upwards of five cannabis plants for personal use. Smoking in private residences is legal, however smoking in public is a punishable offence. Those who practice the religion of Rastafarian are allowed to use cannabis freely for spiritual purposes. This makes Jamaica the first country to legalize cannabis for religious reasons.
The use of medical Marijuana in Peru became legal in 2017 and can be accessed by patients who meet certain medical criteria. Possession of cannabis in Peru is illegal, however possession of up to 8 grams is considered “personal usage” and is not deemed punishable. Those who sell, cultivate or produce cannabis can get 8-15 years in prison.
In 2009 the Austrian government approved cannabis cultivation for scientific and medical use, which is controlled by the Austrian government. The use of personal cannabis is decriminalized in Austria. The commercial sale of cannabis is however illegal and deemed a criminal offence.
Medical cannabis was permitted by a royal decree, legalizing certain uses cannabis as a medical use. To date the only drug permitted for medical cannabis use it Sativex oral spary for those suffering from MS. Cannabis has been decriminalized in Belgium since 2003, with adults over the age of 18 allowed to legally posses a maximum of 3 grams.
In 2018 after a ruling by the Constitutional Court of Georgia possession and consumption of cannabis became legal. However it is illegal to sell or cultivate cannabis.
Arguably the pot mecca of the world before the wave of legalization, the Netherlands have seen millions flock to their cities to enjoy the endless supply of cannabis with no repercussions. Cannabis coffee shops have been in recreational use since 1976. These coffee shops sell cannabis products openly and possession is decriminalized up to 5 grams for personal use. Medical cannabis has been legal since 2003, available at all dutch pharmacies.
In 2001 Portugal made the decision to decriminalize all illegal drugs, including cannabis. The Portuguese government permits up to 25 grams of plant material and 5 grams of hashish. Medical cannabis was legalized in 2018, sold in pharmacies throughout Portugal. Cultivation for medical or personal use still remains illegal.
The consumption and cultivation of cannabis is a private space is legal in Spain, it is however illegal for commercial purposes and to sell at any amount. When cannabis was decriminalized it opened up a wave of cannabis clubs that were opened in private spaces. this has lead to over 700 cannabis clubs located throughout all of Spain.
In 2018 South Africa decriminalized the use , possession and growth of cannabis. There is no maximum quantity of cannabis an individual cannot hold, but with new legislation in the pipe line it looks like you can posses upwards of 600 grams per person and 1200 grams per household.It is however illegal to consume cannabis in public along with buying and selling.
in 2019 cannabis legal possession was passed in the Australia Capital Territory, the bill allows for personal possession of small amounts of cannabis for personal use only. Similar to America the law conflicts with the federal law, which prohibits recreational use of cannabis. in 2016 marijuana became legal at the federal level.