Cannabis Legalization

Legality of cannabis is different from one country to the next.

It depends on where it is located, how it is distributed, grown, and what its purpose and mode of consumption are. The United States banned cannabis for the first time in 1937 with the passage of the Marijuana Tax Act. This was signed by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. The prohibition of cannabis was extended to other countries, especially the West, in the years that followed. After the previous prohibition, California became the first country to legalize Marijuana for medical purposes in 1996.

Australia, Canada and Chile have legalized medical cannabis use. The legalization of medical cannabis in the United States has been approved by 31 states.


Afghanistan is illegal. It was cultivated for centuries in Afghanistan, but Mohammed Zahir Shah made it illegal.

Albania: Although there is an illegal prohibitionist law in place, there are high levels of Cannabis plants available. It is not always enforced.

Algeria: illegal.

Andorra: illegal.

Angola: Illegal, also known as diamba or Liamba in the local language, Angola has cultivations in all of its provinces.

Antigua and Barbuda are illegal. The country is not a producer and imports the plant from Jamaica, Saint Vincent and Grenadines.

Argentina: Possession of up to 5g of dried inflorescences is legal. [2] Legal to use medicinally.

Armenia: Illegal, but there are small cultivations within the country that can be used for local purposes.

Australia: Illegal in Tasmania and New South Wales. Decriminalized in all other states. Therapeutic use is legal.

Austria: Legal for therapeutic purposes, but illegal for recreational. In 2016, possession of small amounts of cannabis has been made illegal. It is legal to sell cannabis seeds and plants.

Azerbaijan is illegal but illegally grown, and was historically used for medical purposes.


Bahamas: illegal.

Bahrain: Illegal

Bangladesh: Illegal, but rarely prosecuted. 1989 saw the prohibition of cannabis sale. Possession of cannabis is illegal and can result in penalties that range from six to fifteen years imprisonment. However, Marijuana is still legal in some parts of the country.

Barbados: illegal. Due to high demand, the plant is imported via speedboats from Jamaica and Saint Vincent and Grenadines.

Belarus: Both cultivation and use of cannabis are illegal.

Burma is illegal. A young man was convicted of possessing several cannabis packets and was executed in 2017.

Belgium: Possession of up to 3 grams is not illegal but it has been decriminalized for adults. The Belgian government started a research program to establish its medical efficacy.

Belize: Although illegal, possession of cannabis is allowed up to 10 grams. Although cannabis use is tolerated in Belize, possession of Marijuana can land you in jail.

Benin: Illegal.

Bhutan: Although illegal, it is a country where cannabis can be grown in large quantities. It also has many traditional uses such as animal feed and textile production. The textile fiber made of cannabis is known as kenam in the Dzongkha language.

Bolivia: Illegal but not criminalized for up to 50 grams

Bosnia and Herzegovina: Illegal. The Minister of Affairs established a task force in 2016 to study the medical benefits of cannabis.

Botswana: Illegal. It is also known as dagga in Botswana.

Brazil: Illegal, but decriminalized for possessions less than 20g. This is considered recreational use.

Brunei: Illegal. Dealing could result in the death penalty

Bulgaria: Illegal. It is classified as a type-A drug, which means it is on par with heroin and cocaine, and amphetamines, and ecstasy.

Burkina Faso: Illegal.

Burundi: illegal.


Central African Republic: Illegal

Czech Republic: You can possess up to 15g of Marijuana. It is also legal for you to grow this species of cannabis for your personal use. It is not allowed to be sold. It is legal to use it for therapeutic purposes.

Cambodia: Although technically illegal, the prohibition in Cambodia is permissive. Many restaurants in Phnom Penh offer cannabis-infused dishes.

Cameroon: It is illegal to grow cannabis sativa in Cameroon. Those with cancer or AIDS might use it as a painkiller.

Canada legalized for medicinal and recreational use. On June 20, 2018, the Canadian parliament voted 52 to 29 in favour, 29 against, and 2 abstentions for the Cannabis Act. This legalization allows citizens to grow up 4 plants at home.

Cape Verde: Illegal, but illegally produced and traded.

Chad: Illegal.

Chile: The private and personal use cannabis was decriminalized in 2005. Since 2014, cannabis cultivation is legal for both medicinal and recreational purposes. Since 2015, cannabis-derived medicine sales are legal.

China: Illegal since 1985. Considered a dangerous and narcotic drug.

Cyprus: Illegal with maximum penalty of 8 Years for Possession (2 years on the first warning and below 25 years old), legal therapeutically for patients with cancer

Colombia is illegal, but you can possess up to 22 grams. Personal consumption: You may possess up to 20 plants. You can use the plants for medicinal purposes.

Comoros: illegal. It was legalized by Ali Soilih (third president of Comoros) from 1975 to 1978.

Costa Rica has legalized cannabis, but it is not criminalized. People who bring small amounts of cannabis (not yet identified) to use for personal recreational purposes are not subject to arrest.

Croatia: Illegal, but not criminalized. Possession of any amount can lead to a fine between 700-3200EUR. It is now used for therapeutic purposes in the treatment of cancer patients since 2015.

Cuba: illegal. It is illegal to sell or consume for recreational purposes. Penalties range from 2 to 15 years imprisonment.


Dominican Republic: Illegal

Djibouti: illegal.

Denmark: Illegal for recreational usage, but authorities rarely enforce the law. It is legal for therapeutic use. Christiania, a self-declared independent micronation, is well-known for its cannabis trade.


East Timor: illegal.

Equatorial Guinea: illegal.

Ecuador: Possession of less than 10 grams is illegal, but it is not criminalized.

Egypt: The law may be illegal, but it is sometimes not enforced.

El Salvador: illegal.

Eritrea: illegal.

Estonia: Illegal, up to 7.5g are considered personal use and are subject to a monetary fine.

Ethiopia is illegal, despite it being the birthplace Rastafarianism (although some Rastafarians use this for meditative purposes).


Fiji: illegal.

Finland: Illegal. Personal use cases are not being prosecuted since 2001. However, a fine can be imposed. Licenses have been issued for the therapeutic use of cannabis since 2006. In 2014, 223 licenses had been issued.

France: illegal. The user can be sentenced to up to one year imprisonment. However, the Ministry of Justice (to whom the magistrates of the prosecutors are subordinate) recommends that casual users not be subject to criminal prosecutions. In the event of a flagrant offense, police can only intervene to deterrence.


Gabon: illegal.

Gambia: illegal.

Georgia: Legalized since July 2018, following the Georgian Constitutional Court’s decision. Possession and consumption (both therapeutic and recreational) are legal, but not dealing.

Germany: Possession of small amounts (no more than 10g) is legal. With a doctor’s prescription, legal for therapeutic purposes.

Greece: Illegal. However, if you have small quantities the court might decide that they are personal use. Large quantities of drugs can result in years of imprisonment. For therapeutic purposes, legal use.

Grenada: illegal.

Greenland: Illegal, but widely used in the country.

Guatemala: illegal.

Guinea: illegal.

Guinea-Bissau: illegal.

Guyana: Possession of more than 15 grams of drug is illegal.


Haiti: illegal.

Hungary: Illegal. It is illegal to possess cannabis.

Honduras: illegal.

Hong Kong: Illegal.


Ivory Coast: Illegal

India: Illegal at the federal level. Tolerated or legal in Bihar, Orissa and Uttarakhand. Gujarat is now decriminalized

Indonesia is illegal since 1927

Iran: Illegal, but not prosecuted. Iran established a death penalty in 1989 for anyone who possessed more than 5 kilograms hashish.

Iraq: illegal.

Ireland: illegal.

Iceland: Illegal, Banned in 1969

Israel: Medical use is illegal. The Ministry of Health must approve each case. Consent is rarely issued.

Italy: It is illegal to sell, even for free, but it is not illegal to possess for personal use. This administrative offense, however, can be punished by a fine but does not affect the criminal record. The judge reviews each case individually to determine whether possession can be considered personal or transferable to third parties. This includes the amount found, cash, and tools used for packaging and dosing the substance. The Supreme Court ruled on 19/12/2019 that cultivation is not a crime provided it is of minimal size, carried out using rudimentary techniques, and with a limited number of plants. Instead, it is allowed to sell Cannabis light with a threshold of 0.2% to 0.6%.


Jamaica: Legal possession of up to 56.60 grams, and cultivation of up to five plants. Rastafarians, since there are many of them in Jamaica, can possess, cultivate and use cannabis without restrictions at their places of worship. This law was adopted on February 25, 2015.

Japan: All THC-containing preparations are illegal in Japan since 1948. This was made possible by a law that was passed by the US occupation forces after the Second World War.

Jordan: illegal.


Kazakhstan is illegal

Kenya: illegal.

Kiribati: illegal.

Kosovo: illegal.

Kuwait: Illegal, possession carries a sentence of 2 years imprisonment or the death penalty

Kyrgyzstan: illegal.


Laos: Illegal, but not prosecuted Public use is punishable with 12 months imprisonment. Some cases can result in the death penalty as of 2009. Despite prohibitionist laws, there are still some Marijuana markets in the country.

Lesotho: Illegal but accepted. Lesotho was home to more than 70% of South Africa’s cannabis in 2000. It became the first African country to issue a license for cannabis cultivation for medicinal purposes in 2017. Latvia: Possession of small amounts can result in 15 years imprisonment. A fine of 280 EUR is imposed for possession of more than 1 gram.

Lebanon: illegal. Hashish is illegal since 1926. Cannabis cultivation has been legal since 1992.

Liberia: illegal.

Libya: illegal.

Liechtenstein: illegal.

Lithuania is illegal

Luxembourg: Legal possession and medical use, provided that the user is at least 18 years old.


Marshall Islands illegal

Macao: illegal.

Madagascar: Although illegal, it is produced and eaten locally

Malawi: Illegal, but widely cultivated.

Malaysia: illegal. Drug traffickers face the death penalty Traffickers are those who possess more than 15 grams of heroin and 200 grams of Marijuana.

Maldives: illegal.

Mali: illegal.

Malta: Possession of up to 3.5 grams is illegal but not criminalized Use for medicinal purposes is legal.

Mauritania: illegal.

Mauritius: illegal.

Morocco: illegal. It is however the world’s largest producer and exporter hashish.

Mexico: Illegal, but not criminalized for personal use. It is legal for medicinal purposes, provided that the THC content in the plant is less than 1%. After appealing to the Supreme Court, four people were granted an administrative authorization by the Government that permits them to legal cultivate and use cannabis for recreational purposes.

Micronesia: Illegal.

Moldova: Illegal, but decriminalized.

Monaco: illegal.

Mongolia: illegal.

Montenegro: illegal.

Mozambique: illegal.


Netherlands: Legal, in accordance with specific regulations. See “Netherlands Drug Policy”

North Macedonia: Illegal, with a 3 month to 5 year imprisonment penalty In 2016, the legalization of therapeutic use of the plant was made.

Namibia: illegal.

Nepal: illegal. During the Maha Shivaratri, cannabis was made illegal.

Nicaragua: illegal.

Niger: illegal.

Nigeria: illegal.

Norway: Recreational drug use is prohibited. The legal status of therapeutic use is not known.

North Korea: Illegal sale and use according to a Swedish diplomat. However, it appears that hemp use is accepted by the rural population.

New Zealand: Illegal (The Ministry of Health stated that medical use of cannabis is not prohibited, but more research and regulation are required). The Health Committee of the New Zealand Parliament recommends that cannabis laws be relaxed and that cannabis-based medicines are made available.


Oman: Illegal.


Philippines: Illegal. The sentences for possession, importation, and sale of cannabis include life imprisonment and a stiff fine.

Pakistan: Illegal, but not usually prosecuted.

Palau: illegal.

Panama: illegal.

Papua New Guinea: illegal.

Paraguay: Illegal, but allowed to possess up to 10 grams

Peru: illegal. Use for therapeutic purposes only.

Poland: Illegal importation and production, sale, and possession. Possession can result in up to three years imprisonment. Sale is a felony that can lead to up to 10 year imprisonment. A felony that can result in 3 to 15 years imprisonment is selling a minor’s property.

Portugal: Since 2001, possession has been decriminalized. Selling and buying is now a crime.


Qatar: illegal.


Rep. of Congo: Illegal. In the country, cannabis is called mbanga.

Romania: illegal.

Russia: Possession of up to 6 grams is illegal.

Rwanda is illegal


Saudi Arabia: illegal. A minimum of six months imprisonment is required for possession and use. Trafficking in cannabis could result in the death penalty.

Solomon Islands: illegal.

San Marino: Cannabis is illegal, except for therapeutic purposes. San Marino’s political party San Marino3.0 proposed legalizing cannabis and other soft drugs through a referendum in the 2012 San Marino political elections.

Saint Kitts and Nevis is illegal.

Saint Lucia: illegal.

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines are illegal.

Samoa: illegal.

Sao Tome & Principe are illegal.

Senegal: illegal.

Serbia: illegal. Possession can result in a three-year sentence of imprisonment or a fine. For cultivation, you can be sentenced to 6 months to 5 year imprisonment.

Seychelles : illegal.

Sierra Leone: Illegal, banned since 1920

Singapore: Illegal, prohibited since 1870 You can be charged with drug trafficking if you possess more than 500 grams of cannabis.

Syria: Illegal. Bashar al-Assad’s government sentenced a journalist who was in possession of cannabis to life imprisonment

Slovakia: Illegal. Possession of small amounts can lead to up to 8 years imprisonment.

Slovenia: Illegal, but decriminalized. A lower than 0.2% amount of THC is legal for pharmaceutical use.

Somalia: illegal.

Spain: Personal cultivation is legal. This can also be done in a group (in Cannabis Social Clubs), and for private consumption.

Sri Lanka: Illegal, but recreational use decriminalized. Since 1980, both therapeutic use and cultivation are legal.

South Africa: It is illegal to buy or sell. Legal for medicinal purposes. Legal for personal cultivation and consumption for recreational purposes.

Sudan: Illegal.

South Sudan: Illegal.

Suriname: Illegal.

Sweden: Illegal.

Switzerland: Illegal possession, cultivation and sale of cannabis as a narcotic (THC>1%). Some cantons have conducted legalization trials. On November 30, 2008, Switzerland voted against a popular initiative to legalize hemp. It is now legal to cultivate up to five plants in a home in Vaud and Geneva. However, the THC content must be less than 1%. light cannabis.


Taiwan: Illegal, possession can lead to three years imprisonment

Tajikistan: illegal.

Tanzania: illegal.

Thailand: Illegal, but rarely prosecuted. Possession, cultivation and transport of 10kg or more can result in a maximum five-year sentence or a fine.

Trinidad and Tobago: illegal.

Togo: Illegal.

Tonga: illegal.

Tunisia is illegal since 1953. The penalty for possession or use of Tunisian dinars is approximately 1000-3000 Tunisian Dinars.

Turkey: It is illegal to use. In 19 provinces, cultivation for medical purposes is allowed. Possession, purchase, or receipt of any quantity are all punishable by 5-10 years imprisonment. Trafficking can result in a minimum of 10 years imprisonment.

Turkmenistan: illegal.

Tuvalu: illegal.


United States: It is illegal to use at federal level for any reason. However, 29 states and District of Columbia have passed legislation that could allow for exemptions from prohibition for medical uses. The voters of Washington and Colorado voted in November 2012 to allow personal use of up to 1 ounce (28.5 g) and to issue licenses for recreational cannabis cultivation and distribution. After the November 2016 Referendum, Nevada, California, Massachusetts and Maine legalized recreational cannabis sales in November 2014. In January 2018, Vermont was the ninth state in the United States to legalize recreational Marijuana. It was also the first to do this by legislative action. Illinois has voted in support of legalization. It will officially go into effect in January 2020.

United Kingdom: Illegal (in 1998, the House of Lords recommended cannabis be made legally available for medical purposes by prescription. The recommendation was rejected by the government after clinical trials. Recent changes have allowed personal home use to be made illegal.

United Arab Emirates: illegal

Uganda: illegal.

Ukraine: possession of up to 5 grams is illegal but not criminalized The cultivation of up to 10 plants is now decriminalized

Uruguay: Uruguay became the first country in the world to allow the sale and cultivation of Marijuana. It was established as a state monopoly in December 2013.


Vatican City: Illegal

Venezuela: Illegal. A prison sentence of between one and two years is given for possession of approximately 20 grams.

Vietnam: Illegal, but often decriminalized


Yemen: illegal.


Zambia: illegal. If you have a Minister of Health license, cultivation is legal.

Zimbabwe: illegal. The legality of therapeutic use.


“By regulating cannabis, we can get black market drug dealers out business and end the rebellious lure that draws young people to it.”

(Sal Albanese).

Originally posted 2021-08-03 20:24:19.

Author: Ronald Rogers
Sunny Dupree is a seasoned journalist, keynote speaker and founder of Weed America: A Journalism-Minded Agency, which handles public relations, content marketing, social media, events and thought leadership for brands and executives in legal cannabis, hemp technology, alternative healthcare, and other new industries.