Sunday June 16, 2024

10 countries that have legalised cannabis

Far more countries, around 30, have legalised the drug for medicinal purposes, including most EU members

October 27, 2022
Cannabis in lab.— Unsplash
Cannabis in lab.— Unsplash

Germany on Wednesday joined the cannabis legalisation revolution, announcing plans to permit the recreational use of the drug, as well as its production.

Across the Atlantic, Canada, Uruguay and dozens of US states including California have already changed their laws in the past decade to allow people to light up.

Far more countries, around 30, have legalised the drug for medicinal purposes, including most European Union members.

Here is an overview:


MALTA: In December 2021, Malta became the first EU member to legalise recreational cannabis, allowing adults to carry up to seven grams and grow up to four plants at home. Users are barred from lighting up a joint in public however or in front of a minor.

LUXEMBOURG: Luxembourg´s government in June unveiled proposals to allow cannabis users to grow up to four plants at home and decriminalise public pot-smoking and possession, with users to face on-the-spot fines rather than charges.

NETHERLANDS: The Netherlands in general, and Amsterdam in particular, have tolerated the sale and use of cannabis in their iconic coffee shops since 1976, but cultivating the plant remains illegal.

SPAIN: Users in Spain are allowed to grow pot for private use at home but selling the drug or smoking it in public is banned.

PORTUGAL: Portugal took the radical step of decriminalising the consumption and possession of all drugs in 2001 but users nonetheless face fines, unless they agree to be treated for addiction.

North America

UNITED STATES: Federal US law prohibits the cultivation, sale and use of cannabis. But 18 states, including California, and the national capital Washington DC have all legalised cannabis for recreational use in a big-bang legislative shift over the past decade.

In October 2022 President Joe Biden pardoned thousands of Americans convicted of cannabis possession.

CANADA: In 2018 Canada became the second country in the world after Uruguay -- and the first G7 major economy -- to allow the recreational use of cannabis.

The legislation limits personal possession to 30 grams and four plants per household.

Latin America

URUGUAY: Uruguay became the first country in the world to legalise the production, distribution and consumption of cannabis in 2013. Residents can buy up to 40 grams of weed a month from pharmacies, grow it themselves or join cannabis clubs where members tend the plants together.

MEXICO: Mexico's Supreme Court decriminalised recreational cannabis use in June 2021.


SOUTH AFRICA: In 2018, South Africa's top court ruled that private, personal cannabis use by adults was legal.