Where is cannabis legal in the world?

A world map.

Countries around the world.

Marijuana laws vary globally

There are very few places in the world where the use of cannabis is totally free and uncontrolled. North Korea has no drug laws, as such, and all drugs are available there (including cannabis. There are a number of countries around the world where having a limited amount of recreational or medical marijuana is now legal. And, as you will no doubt have seen in the news, it is expected that a number of other countries will soon relax their laws on Cannabis. New Zealand, for example, is expected to follow and both will probably have laws that allow personal recreational cannabis soon.

Countries around the world where having a limited amount of marijuana is now legal



Countries or States where Marijuana is now Legal

  • USA:
    As of 1st of January 2018, California joined several other US states in declaring cannabis was legalwith certain restrictions. It is now legal to have and use marijuana in Massachusetts, Colorado, Alaska, California, Oregon, Maine, Nevada, and Washington DC
  • Uruguay:
    The first country to totally legalise cannabis was Uruguay in December 2013 The law allows each household to grow 6 plants for personal use. In 2017 the local pharmacies were authorized to sell cannabis commercially
  • Other legal places:
    There are several other countries where cannabis for both recreational and medical use is either legal such as Peru, Ecuador and Colombia



Countries that tolerate limited cannabis use

  • Tolerated or decriminalized:
    Many other countries, although cannabis is still technically illegal,allow or tolerate and sometimes even license establishments and vendors to sell and supply people with a personal supply of a limited amount. They also often allow people to grow cannabis for their own consumption, but not to sell it.These countries are:Austria, Croatia, Ukraine, Czech Republic, Slovenia, Denmark, Italy, Spain,Luxembourg, Malta, Greece, Estonia, Belgium, Belize, Brazil, Portugal, Israel, Netherlands, Norway, Russia, Switzerland, Mexico, Jamaica,Costa Rica,Paraguay, South Africa, parts of India, Myanmar, Bangladesh and Cambodia
  • Netherlands:
    Although cannabis is still illegal, there are 173 licensed coffee shops in Amsterdam where they sell cannabis to anyone over the age if 18. In some of the cities near the border, they will only sell to people with Dutch residency because of many problems they have had with people from outside the country
  • Jamaica:
    Under the law in Jamaica amounts of under two ounces of cannabis isconsidered a petty offense that can attract a fine of 500 pounds or $US4 without a criminal record. Each household can grow up to 5 plants for personal use. Medical or therapeutic cannabis is also legal and this broad description allows tourists to buy with overseas prescriptions
  • Israel:
    It is still illegal for recreational use in Israel, but allowed for specified medical usages. Citizens may face fines if caught using cannabis in public, but cannot be arrested. The money collected from all drug fines goes towards education and rehabilitation programs. Israel has one of the highest rates of cannabis usage in the world of around 27% of the people there between ages 18 to 65 years of age using
  • Spain:
    Cannabis is illegalfor commercial purposes, but it has been decriminalised for all personal cultivation and private use, but remains a legalgray area mainly because of the 1900’s world treaties signed to stop cannabis usage



Place with strict Cannabis Laws

Some countries are still extremely strict when it comes to the use of cannabis. Most are in Asia,where strict anti-cannabis laws persist. Those that break them canfind themselves being fined, publicly flogged imprisoned. They may even face the death sentence. These are:Indonesia, Malaysia, Japan,Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, the United Arab Emirate, France, Poland, Turkey and Ukraine



The tide of change

Surprisingly, some of these (apparantly draconian) countries are beginning to look at changing their cannabis laws. The new President of the Philippines has said he is interested in allowing medical grade cannabis.

The government in Indonesia who have over the past few years jailed and even publicly flogged some westerners for having cannabis in Indonesia are now talking about making it legal for personal and medicinal consumption

The world is quickly changing as governments finally realise that the overwhelming majority of people support legal cannabis. They are also starting to see that they could potentially have a cash windfall through tax revenue and that this new cannabis industry would provide thousands of jobs for people especially in isolated areas where employment opportunities are lacking.