Legality of cannabis

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World laws on possession of small amounts of cannabis for personal use.
  Legal
  Partially or essentially legal
  Illegal but decriminalized
  Illegal but often unenforced
  Illegal
  No information

The legality of cannabis varies from country to country. Possession of cannabis is illegal in most countries and has been since the agreement about Indian hemp, also known as hashish, in the International Opium Convention (1925)[1] and the beginning of widespread cannabis prohibition in the late 1930s.[2] However, possession of the plant in small quantities has been decriminalized in many countries and sub-national entities in several parts of the world, on 10 December 2013, Uruguay became the first country in the world to legalize the sale, cultivation, and distribution of cannabis.[3][4] In the Netherlands the Opium Law of 1976 enables consumers to buy marijuana in legal "coffeeshops" if certain rules are followed, but large scale production and trade remain illegal; in the United States, federal law prohibits possession or sale of marijuana for any purpose, but the Obama Administration refrained from prosecuting users and dealers operating in compliance with state (see Legality of cannabis by U.S. jurisdiction), territory, and Indian reservation laws which permit medical or recreational marijuana.[5][6]

The medicinal use of cannabis is legal in a number of countries, including Canada, the Czech Republic and Israel. Medical cannabis in the United States is legal in 29 states as of December 2016. Pot parlors were legalized in California in November 2016.[7]

Some countries have laws which are not as vigorously prosecuted as other countries, but apart from the countries which offer access to medical marijuana, most countries have penalties ranging from lenient to very severe, some infractions are taken more seriously in some countries than others in regard to the cultivation, use, possession or transfer of cannabis for recreational use. A few jurisdictions have lessened penalties for possession of small quantities of cannabis, making it punishable by confiscation and a fine, rather than imprisonment. Some jurisdictions/drug courts use mandatory treatment programs for young or frequent users, with freedom from narcotic drugs as the goal and a few jurisdictions permit cannabis use for medicinal purposes. Routine drug tests to detect cannabis are most common in the United States, and have resulted in jail sentences and loss of employment even for medical use; in most European countries, privacy and labor laws prevent such testing for job applicants.[8] Simple possession can carry long jail sentences in some countries, particularly in parts of East Asia and Southeast Asia, where the sale of cannabis may lead to life imprisonment or execution.

Contents

History[edit]

Cannabis has been in use for thousands of years. In India and Nepal, Cannabis has long been used in religious rituals.[9]

Under the name cannabis, nineteenth-century medical practitioners sold the drug (usually as a tincture), popularizing the word among English-speakers; in 1894, the Report of the Indian Hemp Drugs Commission, commissioned by the UK Secretary of State and the Government of India, was instrumental in a decision not to criminalize the drug in those countries (See Shamir and Hacker (2001) in 'further readings' below.)[10] From the year 1860, different states in the US started to implement regulations for sales of Cannabis sativa.[11] A 1905 Bulletin from the US Department of Agriculture lists twenty-nine states with laws mentioning cannabis;[12] in 1925, a change of the International Opium Convention[13] banned the exportation of Indian hemp to countries that have prohibited its use. Importing countries were required to issue certificates approving the importation, stating that the shipment was to be used, "exclusively for medical or scientific purposes".

Around 1840, doctors came to believe that cannabis had a medical value, and it was freely sold for over a century in pharmacies.[14] Marijuana was freely grown, sold, and used in the United States until it was criminalized in 1937,[14] the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937 made cannabis possession illegal in the United States, except for industrial or medical purposes. Growers of hemp products were required to purchase an annual tax stamp, while hemp retailers were required to purchase stamps priced at $1 per annum.[15][citation needed] Mexico prohibited cannabis in 1925, following the International Opium Convention.[16]

In the late 1980s in California, Dennis Peron started a movement to legalize medical cannabis, opening the San Francisco Cannabis Buyers Club in 1992. It became the headquarters for an activist movement that drafted the Compassionate Use Act, which was transformed into Proposition 215. Proposition 215 was passed into law in November 1996.[17]

On November 6, 2012, Colorado Amendment 64 and Washington Initiative 502 were passed by popular initiative, thereby becoming the first American states to legalize the recreational use of cannabis under state law. However cannabis is still classified as a Schedule I substance.[18]

On January 1, 2013, an amendment to the Netherlands' cannabis policy was introduced to "combat drug-related crime and nuisance", the new rule requires cannabis coffee shop owners to monitor the identities of their customers to ensure that only residents of the Netherlands purchase cannabis. Owners are expected to maintain adherence through procedures such as asking customers to produce valid documents to prove their status.[19]

On May 28, 2013, Colorado governor John Hickenlooper signed two bills that made Colorado the world's first fully regulated recreational cannabis market for adults;[20] in its independent analysis, the Colorado Center on Law and Policy found that the state could expect to see "$60 million in total combined savings and additional revenue for Colorado's budget with a potential for this number to double after 2017".[21] Since then, Colorado has had to increase public surveillance and public health awareness on the use of marijuana, as more people have access to the drug.[22]

Uruguay became the world's first nation to legalize the production, sale, and consumption of cannabis in December 2013 after a 16–13 vote in the Senate,[3] the government stated that it intended to control production, price, and quality.[23] Under the new law, people are allowed to buy up to 40 g (1.4 oz) of cannabis from the Uruguayan government each month. Users have to be 18 or older and register in a national database that tracks their consumption. Cultivators are allowed to grow up to 6 crops at their homes each year and must not surpass 480 g (17 oz). Registered smoking clubs are allowed to grow 99 plants annually. Buying cannabis is prohibited for foreigners, and it is illegal to move it across international borders;[24] in July 2014, implementation was postponed to 2015, amidst controversy about the law's practicality.[25][26][27]

As of October 2014, the Government of the Netherlands website explained that coffee shops were permitted to sell cannabis under certain strict conditions: venues could not sell alcoholic drinks; the consumption of alcohol on the premises would not be permitted; the venues must not create any form of public nuisance; "hard drugs" must not be sold; cannabis could not be sold to minors; drugs could not be advertised; and "large quantities" of cannabis (more than five grams) cannot be sold in a single transaction. Individual municipalities were responsible for permitting the establishment of cannabis coffee shops within their boundaries, and also allowed to introduce additional rules,[19] the Dutch Public Prosecution Service does not prosecute members of the public for "possession of small quantities of soft drugs", which are defined as: "no more than 5 grams of cannabis (marijuana or hash); no more than 5 cannabis plants". It is illegal to grow cannabis plants in the Netherlands, but in cases in which a maximum of five plants is grown for "personal consumption", the authorities will most likely seize the plants, without taking any further action. If more than five plants are seized, the police may also seek prosecution.[19]

In Switzerland, a ballot measure legalizing Cannabis for personal cultivation and use ("Hemp-Initiative") was rejected in 2008 by popular vote; in some larger Swiss cities, cannabis regulations were relaxed, and the drug was offered as potpourri not intended for smoking. These cannabis stores were tolerated in the late 1990s until about 2003, when they were raided largely due to accusations of tax avoidance;[28] in 2005, a top-down measure to legalize cannabis through an effort of Swiss parliament was rejected with a narrow margin. With regard to cannabis products derived from fiber hemp or cannabidiol-rich chemotypes, Swiss law explicitly allows for the legal use of all cannabis varieties with a limit of 1% (in most other European countries 0.2%) THC. While narcotic cannabis possession has been decriminalized on a national level since 2010, larger cities and agglomerations have started decriminalization efforts already in the 1970s, limiting legal consequences of cannabis possession to fines, and later tolerating private cannabis clubs; in 2016, a number of shops have started to offer cannabidiol-based cannabis products, which are tolerated by authorities. However, such products are subject to Swiss tobacco tax, with expected federal tax revenues of about 24 million CHF per year.[29]

In November 2015, Uttarakhand became the first state of India to legalize the cultivation of cannabis for industrial purposes.[30]

Possession of cannabis in Canada for recreational use is planned to be legalized by the government in 2018; medical cannabis is already legal in line with the country's Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations. During the 2015 federal election campaign, the Liberals (who subsequently formed the new federal government) had promised "new, stronger laws" against sales to minors, driving while impaired, and sales through channels not specifically authorized to do so.[31]

After November 2016 elections and voting on propositions ended, four states in America, namely Florida, North Dakota, Arkansas, and Montana legalized medical marijuana. Four other states, namely California, Massachusetts, Maine, and Nevada legalized the recreational use of marijuana for adults 21 and older.[32]

In May 2017, during campaigning for the 2017 United Kingdom general election, the Liberal Democrat party announced in its manifesto that it would support the legalisation of cannabis if elected, permitting licensed stores to sell it to over-18s, letting people use it in their own homes and introducing small "cannabis-smoking clubs". In doing so, the Lib Dems became the first major UK party to advocate cannabis legalisation[33] (the Green Party of England and Wales having already been in favour of cannabis decriminalisation since the party was formed in 1990[34]).

By country[edit]

Country/Territory Recreational Medical Cultivation Notes

 Afghanistan[edit]

Illegal Illegal Illegal
Notes
Production banned by King Zahir Shah in 1973.[35]

 Albania[edit]

Illegal but often unenforced Illegal Illegal
Notes

The law of prohibition exists but however with high availability of cannabis plants throughout the country, this law is often unenforced.[36][37][38]

 Algeria[edit]

Illegal Illegal Illegal

 Andorra[edit]

Illegal Illegal Illegal

 Angola[edit]

Illegal Illegal Illegal

 Antigua and Barbuda[edit]

Illegal Illegal Illegal

 Argentina[edit]

Illegal (decriminalized) Legal Illegal
Notes

Decriminalized for personal use in small amounts and for consumption in private locations, the Supreme Court ruled in 2009.[39]

Medicinal cannabis is legal in Chubut since 23 September 2016[40], in Santa Fe since 30 November 2016[41] and at national level since 21 September 2017.[42]

 Armenia[edit]

Illegal Illegal Illegal

 Australia[edit]

Decriminalised for personal use in the Northern Territory, South Australia, the Australian Capital Territory, and Victoria. Legal for medicinal and scientific purposes. Legal only for medicinal and scientific purposes.

 Austria[edit]

Possession for personal use decriminalized as of January 2016. Cannabis-derived drugs Allowed for medical and scientific purposes.[43]

 Azerbaijan[edit]

Illegal Illegal Illegal
Country/Territory Recreational Medical Cultivation Notes

 Bahamas[edit]

Illegal Illegal Illegal

 Bahrain[edit]

Illegal Illegal Illegal

 Bangladesh[edit]

Illegal (unenforced) Illegal Illegal
Notes
Sale banned in 1989.[44] Possession of cannabis is illegal in Bangladesh, with penalties ranging from six months to fifteen years. However, cannabis is openly sold in many parts of the country and the laws are rarely enforced.[45][46]

 Barbados[edit]

Illegal Illegal Illegal

 Belarus[edit]

Illegal Illegal Illegal

 Belgium[edit]

Illegal (decriminalized up to three grams) Cannabis-derived drugs[47] Illegal (decriminalized one plant)
Notes
Since 2003, adults over the age of eighteen had been allowed to possess up to three grams.[48][49]

 Belize[edit]

Illegal (decriminalized to 10 grams) Illegal Illegal
Notes
Cannabis use in Belize is common and largely tolerated; however, possession can result in fines or imprisonment.[50] In 2016, national media reported that legislation to decriminalize possession of up to ten grams was "in the works".[51]

 Benin[edit]

Illegal Illegal Illegal

 Bhutan[edit]

Illegal Illegal Illegal
Notes
Cannabis is illegal, but grows prolifically in Bhutan and has multiple traditional uses, such as feeding pigs and producing textiles.[52]

 Bolivia[edit]

Decriminalized up to less than 50 grams Illegal Illegal

 Bosnia and Herzegovina[edit]

Illegal Illegal Illegal
Notes
In 2016 it was announced that the Ministry of Civil Affairs had formed a task force to explore the legalizing of cannabis and cannabinoids for medicinal purposes.[53]

 Botswana[edit]

Illegal Illegal Illegal
Notes
Cannabis (or dagga) is illegal.[54][55]

 Brazil[edit]

Illegal (decriminalized for small amounts and private use) Illegal Illegal (decriminalized for small amounts)
Notes

Since 2006, the possession of illegal drugs like cannabis (for personal consumption) entails a warning, community service and education on the effects of drug use, the same measures apply to the planting or preparation of small amounts of any illegal drug.

Selling and transportation of any illegal drugs, as well as the possession or cultivation of larger amounts is characterized as drug trafficking, a criminal act punished with five to fifteen years in prison and a significant fine.[56]

 Brunei[edit]

Illegal Illegal Illegal

 Bulgaria[edit]

Illegal Illegal Illegal
Notes
Cannabis is classified as a class A (High-risk) drug, together with Heroin, Cocaine, Amphetamines and MDMA (ecstasy). Until 2004, a loosely defined "personal dose" existed.

 Burkina Faso[edit]

Illegal Illegal Illegal

 Burundi[edit]

Illegal Illegal Illegal
Country/Territory Recreational Medical Cultivation Notes

 Cambodia[edit]

Illegal (unenforced) Illegal Illegal (unenforced)
Notes
Cannabis is formally illegal in Cambodia.[57] This prohibition is however lax and enforced opportunistically.[58][59][60] Many "Happy" restaurants located in Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Sihanoukville publicly offer food cooked with marijuana, or as a side garnish.[61]

 Cameroon[edit]

Illegal Illegal Illegal

 Canada[edit]

Illegal (to be legalized October 17, 2018) Legal Illegal (small amounts of plants tolerated)
Notes
Legal with government issued licence for medicinal or industrial purposes. On April 20, 2016, Health Minister Jane Philpott announced that new legislation would be introduced in spring 2017 to legalize and regulate cannabis in Canada.[62] See Legislation: "Controlled Drugs and Substances Act"[63]

 Cape Verde[edit]

Illegal Illegal Illegal

 Central African Republic[edit]

Illegal Illegal Illegal

 Chad[edit]

Illegal Illegal Illegal

 Chile[edit]

Illegal (decriminalized) Legal Legal[64]
Notes

In 2005, Law 20.000 formally decriminalised private and personal cannabis use.[65] Since 2014, Chile allows the cultivation of cannabis for medicinal purposes with the authorization of The Chilean Agriculture Service (SAG).[66] Cultivation of marijuana, personal or collective, is legal in Chile, the Supreme Court ruled in 2015.[67][68][69] Sale of marijuana-derived medication is allowed on prescription in pharmacies, from December 2015.[70]

Currently in 2016, a regulation bill which will allow Chileans to grow small amounts of marijuana for medicinal, recreational or spiritual use has been approved by the country's lower house of Congress.[71][72]

 People's Republic of China (PRC)[edit]

Illegal Illegal Illegal[73]

 Colombia[edit]

Illegal (decriminalized for up to 22 grams for personal use). Legal for medicinal and scientific use. Legal up to twenty plants for personal consumption. No limit for medicinal or scientific use, and if licensed by the "National Anti-narcotics Council"
Notes
Since 1994, cannabis has been legalized for possession of small amounts up to 22 grams for personal consumption. In 2016, The Supreme Court of Justice stated that someone who is caught with a greater amount than the statutory limit cannot be criminally prosecuted if it is found that the person carries the substance to satisfy their own consumption needs,[74] it is legal to possess up to twenty plants for personal consumption.[75][76][77]

 Comoros[edit]

Illegal Illegal Illegal
Notes
Cannabis was legal during the Comorian historical period between January 1975 and May 1978, when president Ali Soilih legalized cannabis consumption among other measures.[78][79]

 Democratic Republic of the Congo[edit]

Illegal Illegal Illegal

 Republic of the Congo[edit]

Illegal Illegal Illegal

 Costa Rica[edit]

Illegal (decriminalized)[80] [81] Illegal Illegal (decriminalized)
Notes
Some interpret the law to say cannabis is illegal, but there is a high tolerance of smoking marijuana throughout the country.[80] A decriminalization system is de facto implemented, since police officers do not detain people carrying enough for only personal consumption, yet no amount has been defined as a minimum for possession, the usage of cannabis in Costa Rica is very high.[81]

 Croatia[edit]

Illegal (decriminalized[82][83] Legal for cannabis-based drugs[83] Illegal
Notes

From 2013, the possession of small amount of marijuana and other light drugs is a misdemeanor which leads to a fine of 5000–20000kn ($800–3500) depending on the case in question.

In 2015, the Ministry of Health officially legalized the use of cannabis-based drugs for medicinal purposes for patients with illnesses such as cancer, multiple sclerosis, or AIDS.[84]

 Cuba[edit]

Illegal Illegal Illegal

 Cyprus[edit]

Illegal Limited use of cannabis-derived drugs.[85] Illegal (decriminalized for some farms to grow hemp)
Notes
Class B substance – life imprisonment is possible for use and maximum eight years for possession (at the maximum two years for the first offence for under 25-year-olds).[86]

 Czech Republic[edit]

Illegal (possession of up to 15g decriminalized) Legal Illegal (cultivation of up to five bushes decriminalized/cultivation for medicinal purposes subject to license legal)
Notes

Since 2010 possession of up to fifteen grams for personal use or cultivation of up to five plants is a misdemeanor subject to minor fine - mostly not enforced. Popular destination for smokers.[87][88]

Medicinal use of cannabis on prescription has been legal and regulated since 2013.[89][90]
Country/Territory Recreational Medical Cultivation Notes

 Denmark[edit]

Illegal for recreational use, however, the law is often unenforced by police. (Declared legal in Freetown but this is unrecognized by Danish authorities) Legal Legal with government license. Licenses issued for medical production only.
Notes
As with all drugs, cannabis-related offences are punishable by a fine or imprisonment for up to two years[91] Freetown Christiania, a self-declared autonomous community in Copenhagen, is known for its cannabis trade.

 Djibouti[edit]

Illegal Illegal Illegal

 Dominica[edit]

Illegal Illegal Illegal Class B drug to cultivate, sell or possess.[92]

 Dominican Republic[edit]

Illegal Illegal Illegal
Country/Territory Recreational Medical Cultivation Notes

 East Timor[edit]

Illegal Illegal Illegal

 Ecuador[edit]

Illegal (decriminalized up to ten grams) Illegal Illegal
Notes
As defined by Law 108, possession of small amounts of cannabis is decriminalized.[93][94][95] Possession of under ten grams is considered personal use and it is not punished.[96]

 Egypt[edit]

Illegal Illegal Illegal
Notes
Although technically illegal, use is widespread and part of every day culture. Convictions for personal use are very rare.[97] Formerly a plant of high status with several documented medicinal uses in ancient times, cannabis was made illegal in 1925 with the League of Nations’ Geneva International Convention on Narcotic Control, and has been aggressively targeted at various points since then.[98]

 El Salvador[edit]

Illegal Illegal Illegal

 Equatorial Guinea[edit]

Illegal Illegal Illegal


 Eritrea[edit]

Illegal Illegal Illegal

 Estonia[edit]

Illegal (decriminalized) Illegal Illegal
Notes
Up to 7.5 grams is considered an amount for personal use, and is punished with a fine. Large amounts and distribution are criminal offences and punishable with a custodial sentence of up to half a decade.[99]

 Ethiopia[edit]

Illegal Illegal Illegal
Notes
Despite being the spiritual homeland of the Rastafari movement, possession of cannabis can result in up to six months imprisonment.[100]
Country/Territory Recreational Medical Cultivation Notes

 Fiji[edit]

Illegal Illegal Illegal

 Finland[edit]

Illegal Legal under license. Illegal (medicinal use only)
Notes

Since 2001 personal use cases are generally not prosecuted in court but subject to summary fine.

Since 2006, use of medicinal cannabis has been possible under a special license. In 2014, 223 licenses were issued.[101]

 France[edit]

Illegal Some cannabis-derived drugs. Illegal
Notes
Cultivating, selling, owning or consuming cannabis is prohibited.[102] However, legislation permitting the sale of medications containing cannabis derivatives was enacted in June 2013.[103][104]
Country/Territory Recreational Medical Cultivation Notes

 Gabon[edit]

Illegal Illegal Illegal

 Gambia[edit]

Illegal Illegal Illegal

 Georgia[edit]

Illegal, but possession for personal use decriminalized Illegal Illegal

 Germany[edit]

Illegal
Recreational consumption is allowed on the basis of it being considered self-harm.
Legal to those with a prescription Illegal
(Legal if permission is given by "Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices")
Notes

The possession of recreational cannabis is illegal, while consumption itself is legal on the basis of it being considered self-harm, which is not considered a crime, the possession of small amounts is prosecuted, but charges are virtually always dropped.

By January 2015, 241 patients have obtained permission for medicinal cannabis products from a pharmacy since 2008;[105] in mid 2016 around 5000 patients received cannabis products.[106]

On 4 May 2016 the Cabinet of Germany decided to approve the measure for legal cannabis for seriously ill patients who have consulted with a doctor and "have no therapeutic alternative". German Health Minister, Hermann Gröhe, presented the legal draft on the legalization of medicinal cannabis to the cabinet, which took effect in early 2017.[107][108][106][109][110][111]

 Ghana[edit]

Illegal Illegal Illegal

 Greece[edit]

Illegal (but the amount of 0.5 grams or 1 pure/2 impure cannabis cigarettes decriminalised in court if made sure to be for personal use).[112][113] Legal for medicinal purposes Illegal
Notes
Possession or use of even small amounts is illegal in Greece, but if found to be for personal use it's decriminalized in court. Individuals are arrested, although rarely convicted by court. Possession of large quantities may lead to several years in prison.[114]

 Greenland (Kalaallit Nunaat)[edit]

Illegal Illegal Illegal

 Grenada[edit]

Illegal Illegal Illegal

 Guatemala[edit]

Illegal Illegal Illegal
Notes
In 2016 a constitutional commission rejected proposals to legalize medicinal or recreational use of cannabis.[115][116]

 Guinea[edit]

Illegal Illegal Illegal

 Guinea-Bissau[edit]

Illegal Illegal Illegal

 Guyana[edit]

Illegal Illegal Illegal
Notes
Possession of 15 grams or over can result in charges of drug trafficking.[117]
Country/Territory Recreational Medical Cultivation Notes

 Haiti[edit]

Illegal Illegal Illegal

 Honduras[edit]

Illegal Illegal Illegal
Notes
The possession, sale, transportation and cultivation of cannabis is illegal in Honduras.[118]

 Hong Kong, SAR of China[edit]

Illegal Illegal Illegal
Notes
The possession, sale, transportation, cultivation of cannabis is illegal under the Dangerous Drug Ordinance.[119] (Chapter 134 of the Law of Hong Kong)

 Hungary[edit]

Illegal Illegal illegal
Notes
There is no distinction in Hungarian law between illicit drugs according to dangers. Heroin use has the same legal consequences as cannabis use.[120]
Country/Territory Recreational Medical Cultivation Notes

 Iceland[edit]

Illegal Illegal Illegal
Notes
Banned in 1969.[121] Consumption is illegal even in small amounts. Possession, sale, transportation and cultivation could result in jail time. Possession is not strictly enforced. Heavy fines are given.[122]

 India[edit]

Illegal at the federal level.
Legal or tolerated in several states such as Bihar, Odisha, Uttarakhand, West Bengal and the North-Eastern states.
Decriminalized in Gujarat.
No Illegal at the federal level.
Industrial hemp legal at the state level in Uttarakhand.
Legal or tolerated in several states such as Bihar, Gujarat, Odisha, West Bengal and the North-Eastern states.
Notes
Government-owned shops in holy cities like Varanasi and few other north Indian states sell cannabis in the form of bhang. Despite the high prevalent usage, cannabis remains illegal, but is rarely enforced and treated as low priority across India. Large tracts of cannabis grow unchecked in the wild in many parts of northern and southern India;[123] in November 2015, Uttarakhand became the first state of India to legalise the production of industrial hemp.[124] Bhang was removed from the Prohibition Act in Gujarat in February 2017, hence its consumption and sale has been decriminalized in the state.[125] Many states such as Bihar, Odisha, West Bengal and the North-Eastern states have their own laws allowing cannabis, locally known as Ganja. In 2016, a Private Member’s Bill was scheduled to be tabled in the Lok Sabha, which calls for the legalisation and regulation of "non-synthetic" intoxicants, including cannabis and opium.[126]

 Indonesia[edit]

Illegal Illegal Illegal
Notes
Banned in 1927.[127] Minimum sentence of four years in prison (additional fines may apply) if caught in possession.[128] However, if the user voluntarily reports himself/herself to the police, or is reported by his/her family, the charges will be dropped in accordance to 2009 Narcotics Act, article 24 paragraph 2, 3, 4.

 Iran[edit]

Illegal Illegal Illegal

 Iraq[edit]

Illegal Illegal Illegal

 Ireland[edit]

Illegal[129] Illegal[129] Illegal[129]
Notes
The National Drugs Strategy of 2009–2016 did not favour decriminalising cannabis.[130] A new strategy is planned from 2017.[131] Cannabis-derived medicines may be licensed since 2014.[132][133] A review of policy on medicinal cannabis was announced in November 2016,[134] and a private member's bill to legalise it passed second stage in the Dáil in December 2016.[135][136][137]

 Israel[edit]

Illegal Legal Licensed medicinal providers only
Notes
Illegal for recreational use, but limited medicinal uses have been permitted since the 1990s.[138]
In early 2017, Gilad Erdan, the nation's Public Security Minister, announced that Israel planned to decriminalise the possession of cannabis for personal use.[139]

 Italy[edit]

Illegal (decriminalized; allowed religious usage) Legal Illegal
Notes
Possession of small amounts for personal use is a misdemeanor subject to fines and the suspension of documents (passports or drivers licenses). The sale of cannabis products is illegal and punishable by imprisonment; cultivation is likewise punishable by imprisonment, even if in small amounts and for exclusive personal use. Licensed cultivation for medicinal and industrial use is strictly regulated.[140]

 Ivory Coast[edit]

Illegal Illegal Illegal
Country/Territory Recreational Medical Cultivation Notes

 Jamaica[edit]

Illegal (decriminalized), legal if Rastafarian Illegal Legal
Notes
On 25 February 2015, the Jamaican House of Representatives passed a law decriminalizing possession of up to two ounces of cannabis. The new law includes provisions legalizing the cultivation for personal use of up to five plants, as well as setting up regulations for the cultivation and distribution of cannabis for medicinal, religious purposes and natural growth.[141]

 Japan[edit]

Illegal Illegal Illegal
Notes
Restricted in 1948.[142] Use and possession are punishable by up to half a decade imprisonment and a fine. Cultivation, sale, and transport are punishable by up to 7 years or a decade imprisonment and a fine.[143]

 Jordan[edit]

Illegal Illegal Illegal
Country/Territory Recreational Medical Cultivation Notes

 Kazakhstan[edit]

Illegal Illegal Illegal

 Kenya[edit]

Illegal Illegal Illegal

 Kiribati[edit]

Illegal Illegal Illegal

 Kosovo[edit]

Illegal Illegal Illegal

 Kuwait[edit]

Illegal Illegal Illegal

 Kyrgyzstan[edit]

Illegal Illegal Illegal
Country/Territory Recreational Medical Cultivation Notes

 Laos[edit]

Illegal (unenforced) Illegal Illegal

 Latvia[edit]

Illegal Illegal Illegal
Notes
Cannabis is illegal in Latvia.[144] Possession of larger quantities can be punished with up to 1.5 decades in prison. Possession of quantities up to one gram can result in a fine of €280, for second offences within a year period criminal charges are applied.

 Lebanon[edit]

Illegal Illegal Illegal
Notes
Hashish banned in 1926;[145] cannabis cultivation banned in 1992.[146] Possession is illegal. However, large amounts are grown within the country and personal use, as long as not in public is not a major issue.[147]

 Lesotho[edit]

Illegal Illegal Medicinal cultivation with Ministry of Health authorisation[148]

 Liberia[edit]

Illegal Illegal Illegal

 Libya[edit]

Illegal Illegal Illegal

 Liechtenstein[edit]

Illegal Illegal Illegal

 Lithuania[edit]

Illegal Illegal Illegal

 Luxembourg[edit]

Illegal (decriminalized) Legal Illegal
Notes
Transportation and consumption are illegal. Since 2001, decriminalized and prison penalty has been substituted by a monetary fine ranging from €250 to €2,500.[149][150]
Country/Territory Recreational Medical Cultivation Notes

 Macau, SAR of China[edit]

Illegal Illegal Illegal

 Macedonia[edit]

Illegal Legal Illegal
Notes

If one possesses a larger amount, a jail sentence of anywhere from three months to five years may be given.[151]

Medicinal cannabis was legalized in 2016.[152]

 Madagascar[edit]

Illegal Illegal Illegal

 Malaysia[edit]

Illegal Illegal Illegal
Notes
Malaysian legislation provides for a mandatory death penalty for convicted drug traffickers. Individuals arrested in possession of 15 grams (0.5 ounces) of heroin or 200 grams (7 ounces) of marijuana are presumed by law to be trafficking in drugs.[153]

 Malawi[edit]

Illegal Illegal Illegal
Notes
Cannabis is illegal in Malawi, but remains a popular drug and widely cultivated; Malawian cannabis is famed internationally for its quality.[154] Chamba is grown mainly in central and northern regions like Mzuzu.[155]

 Maldives[edit]

Illegal Illegal Illegal

 Mali[edit]

Illegal Illegal Illegal

 Malta[edit]

Illegal (decriminalized up to 3.5g) Legal for medicinal purposes Illegal
Notes
Cultivation of a cannabis plant for personal use will no longer be punishable by a mandatory prison sentence or suspended sentence specialized doctors will be allowed to prescribe medicinal cannabis
Notes
As of 2015, simple possession is decriminalized, but remains an arrestable offense for the police purpose of collecting intelligence about drug trafficking.[156][157]

 Marshall Islands[edit]

Illegal Illegal Illegal

 Mauritania[edit]

Illegal Illegal Illegal

 Mauritius[edit]

Illegal Illegal Illegal

 Mexico[edit]

Decriminalized for personal use. Legal for medicinal and scientific purposes.
THC content below 1%.[158]
Legal for medicinal and scientific purposes.
Decriminalized for personal use.
Notes
On 21 August 2009 Mexico decriminalized "personal use" possession of up to five grams of Cannabis.[159]
In November 2015, the Supreme Court ruled that four individuals from the Mexican Society for Responsible and Tolerant Personal Use would be permitted to grow and smoke their own marijuana. The court voted 4-1 that prohibiting people from growing the drug for consumption was unconstitutional as it violated the human right to the free development of one's personality.[160]
In December 2016, Mexico's Senate voted to legalise marijuana for medicinal and scientific purposes - this was approved by the Chamber of Deputies in April 2017.[161]

 Micronesia[edit]

Illegal Illegal Illegal

 Moldova[edit]

Illegal (decriminalized) Illegal Illegal
Notes
Possession of small quantity and personal use is not a crime in Moldova, but it is an administrative offence according to Article 85 of the Administrative Offences Code, passed in 2008. Selling, cultivation and transport, however, remain illegal and penalized, the illegal purchase or possession of narcotic drugs or psychotropic substances in small amounts without the purpose of further distribution, as well as their consumption without a prescription, are sanctioned with a fine of up to three conventional units or with community service of up to 40 hours.

 Monaco[edit]

Illegal Illegal Illegal


 Mongolia[edit]

Illegal Illegal Illegal

 Montenegro[edit]

Illegal Illegal Illegal

 Morocco[edit]

Illegal Illegal Illegal
Notes
Cannabis in Morocco has been illegal since the nation's independence in 1957, reaffirmed by a total ban on drugs in 1974, but is partially tolerated in the country, where it has been cultivated for centuries and is still among the world's top producers of hashish.

 Mozambique[edit]

Illegal Illegal Illegal

 Myanmar[edit]

Illegal (unenforced) Illegal Illegal (unenforced)
Country/Territory Recreational Medical Cultivation Notes

 Namibia[edit]

Illegal Illegal Illegal
Notes
Cannabis is illegal; in 2007 the government proposed but declined a 20-year jail sentence for any drug possession.

   Nepal[edit]

Illegal (legal during Maha Shivaratri) Illegal Illegal
Notes
All cannabis licenses canceled in 1973.[35] Despite being illegal, cannabis is cheap and widely available in Nepal, and the police have little-to-no interest in cannabis-related issues.[162]

 Netherlands[edit]

Illegal but tolerated in 'coffeeshops', Decriminalized up to five grams (in case of a police control it is still confiscated), and for public use. Legal Illegal (decriminalized up to five plants; plants are generally still destroyed.)
Notes
Personal possession has been decriminalized since 1976, and cannabis products are only sold openly in certain local "coffeeshops"
.[163][164][165]

 New Zealand[edit]

Illegal Limited cannabis-derived pharmaceuticals Illegal
Notes
Banned in 1927.[166] Cultivation, possession and sale of cannabis is illegal.[167] Legislation to decriminalize medicinal use was introduced in December 2017, but has yet to pass.[168][169] A planned referendum on legality of cannabis is to be held in the future, tentatively scheduled for 2020.

 Nicaragua[edit]

Illegal Illegal Illegal

 Niger[edit]

Illegal Illegal Illegal

 Nigeria[edit]

Illegal illegal Illegal

 North Korea (DPRK)[edit]

Unknown Unknown Unknown
Notes
There are conflicting reports on the legal status of cannabis in North Korea. Multiple reports from defectors and tourists claim there is no law regarding the possession of cannabis (as a result, it is not classified as a drug) in North Korea or if there is, it is mostly unenforced. However, other reports claim that cannabis is illegal.[170]

 Northern Mariana Islands[edit]

Illegal Illegal Illegal
Notes
A legalization bill failed in 2010.[171]

 Norway[edit]

Illegal (decriminalized) Legal Illegal
Notes

Up to fifteen grams is considered an amount for personal use, and is punished with a fine in the case of first-time offenders; possessing more is punished more harshly. In December 2017, the Norwegian Parliament announced its intention to decriminalize certain psychoactive drugs for personal use, including cannabis and provide for medical treatment to users rather than enforce fines and imprisonment.[172]

Country/Territory Recreational Medical Cultivation Notes

 Oman[edit]

Illegal Illegal Illegal
Country/Territory Recreational Medical Cultivation Notes

 Pakistan[edit]

Illegal Illegal Illegal
Notes
The use of cannabis is prohibited in Pakistan, however the smoking of hashish in Peshawar and the northern parts of Pakistan tends to be tolerated. One may be sent to jail for up to six months if found with charas in other parts of the country.[173]

 Palau[edit]

Illegal Illegal Illegal

 Panama[edit]

Illegal Legal Illegal
Notes
Law 14 of 19 May 2016 regulates the use of "controlled substances for medicinal ends.[174]

 Papua New Guinea[edit]

Illegal Illegal Illegal

 Paraguay[edit]

Illegal (decriminalized up to ten grams) Illegal Illegal
Notes
In Paraguay, Law N° 1.340 (Art. 30), exempted from punishment those in possession of a maximum of ten grams of marijuana for personal consumption.[175][176]

 Peru[edit]

Illegal (decriminalized) Limited use of cannabis oil. Illegal
Notes

Possession is decriminalized Art. 299 of the Criminal Code. Possession of under eight grams is considered personal use and it is not punished.[177][178][179][180]

Illegal: Cultivation, production or sell is punished with eight to fifteen years in prison.[181][182]

 Philippines[edit]

Illegal Provision for medicinal use as per Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002. Pending Government approval Illegal (For medicinal and scientific purposes only)
Notes
Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002, makes provision for restricted medicinal use.[183] Congress introduced House Bill No. 4477, known as the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Act, which would legalize the use of medicinal marijuana.[184]

 Poland[edit]

Illegal Legal Illegal
Notes
On 26 May 2011, Poland introduced legislation that would give prosecutors the option to not prosecute for possession of small quantities of cannabis for personal use, if it is a first offence, or if the person is drug dependent.[185] The legislation raised the maximum possible penalty for placing a large number of drugs from ten to twelve years in prison. However, for possession of large quantities of drugs would result up to ten years in prison (previously up to eight years).[186]

 Portugal[edit]

Illegal (decriminalized) Illegal Illegal (decriminalized)
Notes
In 2001, Portugal became the first country in the world to decriminalize the use of all drugs.[187]

 Puerto Rico[edit]

Illegal Legal Illegal (medicinal use only)
Notes
In 2015 the Governor of Puerto Rico signed a executive order to legalize cannabis for medicinal use only.[188]
Country/Territory Recreational Medical Cultivation Notes

 Qatar[edit]

Illegal Illegal Illegal
Country/Territory Recreational Medical Cultivation Notes

 Romania[edit]

Illegal; ban often unenforced) Legal Illegal
Notes
Romania was (before 1990) a leader in hemp fiber, second only to China. Possession of small quantities of drug preparations is punishable by a large fine for first offenders, six months to two years in prison if the person has been convicted before. Possession of large amounts or trafficking is punishable by two to seven years of jail time.[189] Decriminalization proposed.[190] Medicinal cannabis was legalized in 2013.[191][192]

 Russia[edit]

Illegal (decriminalized), possession of quantities of up to six grams Illegal Illegal (decriminalized), cultivation of up to twenty plants[citation needed]
Notes
Possession of under six grams of cannabis or two grams of hashish is an administrative rather than criminal infraction.[193]

 Rwanda[edit]

Illegal Illegal Illegal
Country/Territory Recreational Medical Cultivation Notes

 Saint Kitts and Nevis[edit]

Illegal Illegal Illegal

 Saint Lucia[edit]

Illegal Illegal Illegal

 Saint Vincent and the Grenadines[edit]

Illegal Illegal Illegal

 Samoa[edit]

Illegal Illegal Illegal

 San Marino[edit]

Illegal Legal Illegal

 São Tomé and Príncipe[edit]

Illegal Illegal Illegal

 Saudi Arabia[edit]

Illegal Illegal Illegal
Notes
Use and possession for personal use of any kind of recreational drugs is punishable by imprisonment if caught. Imprisonment for personal use could go up to six months jail time or more. Dealing and smuggling of high amounts of drugs usually result in harsher prison time or even execution, although recently executions are rare. Foreigners who use drugs might be deported.[194]

 Senegal[edit]

Illegal Illegal Illegal

 Serbia[edit]

illegal [195] Illegal Illegal
Notes
Possession is punishable by a fine or by imprisonment of up to three years. Sale and transport are punishable by imprisonment from three to twelve years. Cultivation is punishable by imprisonment from six months to five years. Higher penalties for organized crime.[196]

 Seychelles[edit]

Illegal Illegal Illegal

 Sierra Leone[edit]

Illegal Illegal Illegal
Notes
Cannabis banned in 1920.[197]

 Singapore[edit]

Illegal Illegal Illegal
Notes
Banned in 1870.[198] Cannabis is a Class A drug under the Misuse of Drugs Act, making it illegal to cultivate, sell or possess, those who are caught with 500g of cannabis or more, are presumed as drug traffickers, and are punished with a possible death penalty.[199][200]

 Slovakia[edit]

Illegal Illegal Illegal
Notes
Possession or use of small amounts of Cannabis (or only one joint) is punishable by up to eight years in prison.[201][202] In April 2012, The Wall Street Journal reported that Robert Fico, the incoming Slovak prime minister, might push for partial legalisation of cannabis possession, and has argued for the legalisation of possession of up to three doses of cannabis for personal use.[202]

 Slovenia[edit]

Illegal (decriminalized) Cannabis-based drugs Legal for quantities with ≤ 0.2 % THC on a ≤ 0.1 ha surface, or ≥ 0.1 ha surface with a governmental permit for cannabis cultivation.[203]
Notes
Cannabis-based drugs are legal for medicinal use, but not cannabis itself.[204][205] Possession of any drug for personal use is decriminalized.[206]

 Solomon Islands[edit]

legal legal legal

 Somalia[edit]

Illegal Illegal Illegal

 South Africa[edit]

illegal but unconstitutional illegal but unconstitutional illegal but unconstitutional
Notes
On the 31st of March, 2017, the Dagga Couple won a landmark ruling in the Western Cape High Court, where they said that the ban on cannabis was unconstitutional, and allowed the dagga couple to take their case on legalizing cannabis to the constitutional court. Due to this landmark ruling, so many news outlets have announced that cannabis was legal in South Africa, this is false, and has actually resulted in a spike of arrests as people were freely smoking it.[207][208][209]

 South Korea[edit]

Illegal Illegal Illegal Cannabis banned under the Cannabis Control Act of 1976.[210]

 South Sudan[edit]

Illegal Illegal Illegal

 Spain[edit]

Legal (Private areas only, illegal in public areas (decriminalized), offenders receive an administrative fine.) Possession of more than 70/100gr. (depending on the autonomous community) is considered as possession with the intention of trafficking.[211] Limited cannabis-derived pharmaceuticals Legal (Only for own consumption. If the plants are located somewhere visible from the street/public place, it is an administrative offense[212])
Notes
Sale and importation of any quantity of cannabis is a criminal offence, punishable by jail time. The purchase, possession and consumption of cannabis in a public place constitutes a misdemeanour and punishable by a fine and confiscation of the product. Consumption and cultivation by adults in a private space is legal, the latter due to a legal vacuum. Cannabis plants that are located somewhere visible from the street/public place (ie. from balconies) are considered a serious administrative offense, which leads to a fine from 601 to 30.000€.[213][214] About 500 private "cannabis clubs" exist in Spain, 200 of them in Barcelona, and Spain is spoken of as the "new Amsterdam," a destination for marijuana tourists.[215] All actions related to cannabis apart from sale or trade aren't considered criminal offenses,[216] and normally are misdemeanors punishable by a fine.[217]
In June 2017, Catalonia legalised cannabis after the government voted by 118 to 9 to regulate the local cannabis clubs; the cultivation, consumption and distribution of cannabis is now legal for those who are members of designated clubs.[218]

 Sri Lanka[edit]

Illegal Used in some Ayurvedic medicines Illegal
Notes
Cannabis is illegal in Sri Lanka though it is commonly used in Ayurvedic traditional medicines.[219]

 Sudan[edit]

Illegal Illegal Illegal

 Suriname[edit]

Illegal Illegal Illegal
Notes
Cannabis was banned in Suriname in the early 20th century, having been popularized there by Asian immigrants.[220]

 Swaziland[edit]

Illegal Illegal Illegal

 Sweden[edit]

Illegal Illegal Illegal
Notes
It is illegal to sell, transfer, purchase, use or possess any quantity of cannabis in Sweden. Social stigmatisation through social rejection and exclusion from the labourmarket and social services are the most common sanctions in matters regarding personal use, the national police runs a "disturb and annoy" program aimed at users supported by the national "zero tolerance" policy. .[221][222]

  Switzerland[edit]

Illegal (decriminalized) Legal for medicinal purposes. Illegal
Notes
Since 2012, possession of ten grams or less is decriminalized to a fine.[223]

 Syria[edit]

Illegal Illegal Illegal
Notes
Under the policies of the government of Bashar al-Assad, many cannabis offences, from simple use to trafficking, reportedly often carried a sentence of life imprisonment. As the country has become destabilised as a result of civil war, people living in areas controlled by Kurdish separatists have begun growing cannabis as a way of making money to fight poverty.[224]
Country/Territory Recreational Medical Cultivation Notes

 Taiwan (Republic of China, ROC)[edit]

Illegal Illegal Illegal
Notes
Cannabis is a schedule 2 narcotic in the ROC, and possession can result in up to three years imprisonment.[225]

 Tajikistan[edit]

Illegal Illegal Illegal

 Tanzania[edit]

Illegal Illegal Illegal

 Thailand[edit]

Illegal (Poorly enforced) Illegal Illegal
Notes
Criminalized in 1935.[226] According to the Thailand Narcotics Act, B.E. 2522 (1979), possession, cultivation, and transport (import/export) of up to 10 kg cannabis may result in a maximum sentence of half a decade in prison or a fine.[227]


 Togo[edit]

Illegal Illegal Illegal

 Tonga[edit]

Illegal Illegal Illegal

 Trinidad and Tobago[edit]

Illegal Illegal Illegal
Notes
Banned in 1925.[228]

 Tunisia[edit]

Illegal Illegal Illegal
Notes
Banned in 1953.[229] Using or possessing entails 1–5 years of imprisonment + 1000-3000 dinars (around 500$-1500$).[230][231][232]

 Turkey[edit]

Illegal Legal Legal for medicinal and scientific purposes.[233]
Notes
The cultivation of marijuana is legal in nineteen provinces in Turkey for medicincal and scientific purposes. However, with permission this can also be conducted in other provinces too.[234] Consuming any drug (personal use or not) is illegal and requires juridical process. Possessing, purchasing or receiving any illegal drug, including Cannabis, is punishable by one to two years in prison; there is also the option of treatment or probation for up to three years. If users refuse treatment or do not comply with probation requirements, the courts can decide on sentencing.[235] Sale and supply is punishable by a prison term of five to ten years, and production or trafficking by a minimum term of ten years.[235]

 Turkmenistan[edit]

Illegal Illegal Illegal

 Tuvalu[edit]

Illegal Illegal Illegal
Country/Territory Recreational Medical Cultivation Notes

 Uganda[edit]

Illegal Illegal Illegal

 Ukraine[edit]

Illegal (decriminalized possession of quantities of up to five grams) Illegal Illegal (decriminalized up to ten plants) [236]

 United Arab Emirates[edit]

Illegal Illegal Illegal
Notes
Even the smallest amounts of the drug can lead to a mandatory four-year prison sentence.[237]

 United Kingdom[edit]

Illegal Illegal Illegal
Notes
Banned in 1928,[238] made a Class B drug under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971[239]

 United States[edit]

Illegal at the federal level (but legal at the state level in nine states and Washington, D.C.; decriminalized in eighteen states. All Indian Reservations are allowed to regulate cannabis laws; laws vary by reservation.) Federally illegal; medicinal legal in 29 states, Puerto Rico, and Guam.[240] All Indian Reservations are allowed to regulate cannabis laws; laws vary by reservation.) Illegal at the federal level, permitted locally in some states allowing recreational or medical use.
Notes
Laws vary by state, Territory, Indian Reservation, and Washington, DC. Federal law classifies cannabis as a Schedule I substance, the same classification as heroin, the United States Supreme Court has ruled in Gonzales v. Raich that the federal government has the power to regulate and criminalize cannabis, even for medicinal purposes. The Department of Justice recently allowed recognized Indian reservations to regulate marijuana within their reservation.[241] However, despite the Department of Justice stating that federally recognized Indian reservations have the right to regulate cannabis on their land, the Department of Justice's agency, the Drug Enforcement Administration has been raiding and destroying cannabis crops on several reservations creating a double standard among U.S. enforcement agencies.[242]

 Uruguay[edit]

Legal (but buying prohibited for foreigners) Legal for all uses. Legal
(up to six plants)
Notes
José Mujica has fully legalized any use of Cannabis in Uruguay; law does not specify quantity for "personal amount".[243] As of 10 December 2013, the House of Representatives and Senate passed a bill legalizing and regulating the production and sale of the drug, the new law says that buyers must be eighteen or older, residents of Uruguay, and must register with the authorities. Authorities will grow the cannabis that can be sold legally.[244][245][246]

 Uzbekistan[edit]

Illegal Illegal Illegal
Notes
Opiates, cannabis and other plants containing psychotropic substances are illegal.[247]
Country/Territory Recreational Medical Cultivation Notes

 Vanuatu[edit]

Illegal Illegal Illegal

 Venezuela[edit]

Illegal Illegal Illegal
Notes
As of 15 September 2010 possession of up to 20 grams of Marijuana or 5 grams of genetically modified Marijuana, if proven not to be for medicinal or personal consumption, is punishable by one to two years in prison at judge's discretion. If deemed to be for personal consumption, the user is subject to security measures involving rehabilitation and detoxification procedures. Articulos 131 y 153 de la Ley Organica de Drogas.[248]

 Vietnam[edit]

Illegal (unenforced) Illegal (unenforced) Illegal

 U.S. Virgin Islands[edit]

Illegal (decriminalized), possession of quantities of up to an ounce Illegal Illegal
Notes
In 2014 the governor of the U.S. Virgin Islands approved a bill that decriminalized possession of marijuana up to an ounce.[249]
Country/Territory Recreational Medical Cultivation Notes

 Yemen[edit]

Illegal Illegal Illegal
Country/Territory Recreational Medical Cultivation Notes

 Zambia[edit]

Illegal Legal Legal if licensed by the Minister of Health

 Zimbabwe[edit]

Illegal Legal Illegal
Country/Territory Recreational Medical Cultivation Notes

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]