Legality of Cannabis Worldwide: A Prominent Tide of Legalization

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Legality of Cannabis Worldwide: A Prominent Tide of Legalization

The legality of cannabis varies from different countries, and it continues to change every year, countries that ban it far exceed those that legalized it. Scientific researches on cannabis have proved its economic and medical benefits, pushing the legalization of cannabis in developed countries. In Asia, countries known for their strict drug regulations, such as Japan and Singapore, have participated in research into the medical applications of cannabis. It can be expected that more countries will have cannabis reforms in the near future.

The global Cannabis industry has been booming since the full legalization in Canada and the passage of the Farm Bill in 2018. Now, let’s take a close look at the legality of cannabis worldwide.

Countries & Regions Where Recreational Cannabis Is Legal

  1. Canada (Legal for recreational purposes and personal cultivation since 17 Oct. 2018)
  2. Georgia (Legal for personal possession and use, but not for sale since July. 2018)
  3. South Africa (Legal for personal use and cultivation, but not for sale since 18 Sep. 2018)
  4. Uruguay (Legal, but buying prohibited for foreigners since 10 Dec. 2013)
  5. United States (Legal in 11 states, but illegal at the federal level)
  6. Canberra, Australia (Will be legal from 31 Jan. 2020)
Research Activity

Countries & Regions Where Medical Cannabis Is Legal

  • 1 Argentina (Legal since 21 Sep. 2017,)
  • 2 Australia (Legal since 2016)
  • 3 Bermuda (Legal since 2016)
  • 4 Canada (Legal since 2001)
  • 5 Chile (Legal since 2016)
  • 6 Columbia (Legal since 2016)
  • 7 Croatia (Legal since 2015, but illegal for personal cultivation)
  • 8 Cyprus (Only legal for cancer treatment, cultivation and other means of use remains illegal)
  • 9 Czech Republic (Legal since 2013, need for prescription)
  • 10 Denmark (Legal since 2018, cultivation for medical purpose only)
  • 11 Finland (Legal under license, cultivation for medical purpose only)
  • 12 Georgia (Legal since 2018)
  • 13 Germany (legal since 2017, cultivation for medical purpose only)
  • 14 Greece (Legal since 2017, illegal for cultivation)
  • 15 Ireland (Legal as part of 5-year pilot program enacted in June 2019)
  • 16 Israel (Legal since the early 1990s, cultivation for medical purpose only)
  • 17 Italy (Legal since 2013)
  • 18 Jamaica (Legal since 2015)
  • 19 Lithuania (Legal since 2018)
  • 20 Luxembourg (Legal since 2018)
  • 21 Malta (Legal since 2018)
  • 22 Mexico (Legal since 2017, THC content below 1%)
  • 23 Netherlands (Legal since 2003 )
  • 24 New Zealand (Legal since 2018)
  • 25 North Macedonia (Legal since 2016)
  • 26 Norway (Legal since 2016)
  • 27 Peru (Legal since 2017)
  • 28 Poland (Legal since 2017)
  • 29 Portugal (Legal since 2018)
  • 30 San Marino (Legal since 2016)
  • 31 South Africa (Use is legal, but no system for the dispensing of medicinal cannabis exists.)
  • 32 Sri Lanka (Legal since 2008)
  • 33 Switzerland (Legal since 2011)
  • 34 Thailand (Legal since 2018)
  • 35 United Kingdom (Legal since 2018)
  • 36 United States (Legal in 33 states)
  • 37 Uruguay (Legal since 2013)
  • 38 Vanuatu (Legal since 2018)
  • 39 Zimbabwe (Legal since 2018)

Countries and Regions Where Cannabis Derived-Drugs Are Legal Under Certain Conditions

  • 1 Austria (Legal for cultivation for medical and scientific research only)
  • 2 Belgium (Legal for up to 3 grams for adults)
  • 3 Brazil (Legal under license for cannabis-derived drugs Sativex)
  • 4 Estonia (Legal with a special permit)
  • 5 France (Legal for some cannabis derived-drugs)
  • 6 Philippines (Mostly illegal, but maybe allowed with special permit)
  • 7 Romania (Cannabis-derived drugs less than 0.2% THC can be prescribed)
  • 8 Slovenia (Legal for Cannabis-based drugs only)
  • 9 Spain (Limited cannabis-derived pharmaceuticals)
  • 10 South Korea (Legal, but limited to Epidiolex, Marinol and Satives)
  • 11 Turkey (Legal for cannabis-derived pharmaceuticals)

Countries & Regions Where Recreational Cannabis Is Decriminalized but Fully Legalized

Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Australia-Northern Territory and South Australia, Austria, Belgium, Belize, Bermuda, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Germany, Ecuador, Estonia, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Luxembourg, Malta, Mexico, Moldova, Netherlands, Paraguay, Peru, Portugal, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland, United States.

Countries & Regions Where Cannabis Is Illegal but Often Unenforced

Bangladesh, Cambodia, Egypt, Finland, Germany, Iran, Laos, Lesotho, Morocco, Myanmar, Pakistan, Poland, Thailand

Countries & Regions Where Cannabis Is Completely Illegal

Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Angola, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Barbados, Belarus, Benin, Bhutan, Bosnia, Botswana, Brunei, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central Africa Republic, Chad, China, Comoros, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Cuba, Djibouti, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Timor-Leste, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Eswatini, Ethiopia, Fiji, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Greenland, Grenada, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, Indonesia, Iraq, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kiribati, Kosovo, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lebanon, Liberia, Libya, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Marshall Islands, Mauritania, Mauritius, Micronesia, Nago, Mongolia, Montenegro, Mozambique, Namibia, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Oman, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Qatar, Russia, Rwanda, Saint Lucia, Samoa, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia, Seychelles, Sierra Leone , Singapore, Slovakia, Solomon Islands, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Suriname, Sweden, Syria, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Togo, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Uganda , Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, Venezuela, Vatican, Yemen, Zambia

Data in these charts are subjected to change without notice

Further reading:

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Columbia University | New York, NY (Currently enrolled) Master of Laws (LL.M.) Criminal Defense Candidate Penn State University | University Park, PA (2019) Bachelor of Science (B.S.), Bachelor of Art (B.A.) English, Criminal Justice, Counselling Psychology, Human Sexuality, Piano CREDENTIALS AND LICENSES: • Paralegal • English and Chinese Interpreter • English Professor in College • Clinical Psychotherapist • Musical and Art Psychotherapist • Child and Adult Piano Teacher • Performance pianist of Level 8

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