Legal Status of Cannabis in Different Countries

The legal status of cannabis varies greatly from country to country. While some countries have legalized the drug for both medical and recreational use, others allow cannabis only for medical purposes or have strict laws that prohibit it at all. So let’s take a look at the legal status of cannabis in different countries around the world to be more aware of that topic.


Uruguay was the first country in the world to legalize cannabis for recreational use, it became legal there back in 2013. Adults over the age of 18 are allowed to purchase up to 40 grams of cannabis from licensed pharmacies per month, and it’s possible to grow up to six plants per household without any problems with the law.


In 2018, Canada decided to follow Uruguay and became the second country in the world to legalize cannabis for recreational use. As for medical cannabis, it has been legal there since 2001. Adults over the age of 18 can grow up to four plants per household and are allowed to possess up to 30 grams of cannabis, and with stores like online dispensary vancouver, cannabis products are pretty accessible for Canadians.

The United States

The legal status of cannabis in the United States varies from state to state. The first state to allow cannabis for medical purposes was California in 1996. After that, 39 states and the District of Columbia have legalized cannabis for medical usage, and for recreational purposes – 21 states and DC. However, it’s worth mentioning that cannabis there is still banned under federal law.

The Netherlands

The Netherlands has a unique approach to cannabis. Possession of small amounts of cannabis for personal use is technically illegal, but in licensed coffee shops, the sale of cannabis products is permitted. The use of cannabis is also tolerated in certain designated areas, and in general, it’s one of the main tourists’ interests there.


Portugal has decriminalized the personal possession of all drugs, including cannabis. Instead of criminal penalties, those found in possession of small amounts of drugs are sent to “dissuasion commissions” for educational and therapeutic interventions.


Spain has a more relaxed approach to cannabis compared to other countries. It is legal to consume and possess this drug for personal use in private spaces, but it is illegal to sell or grow marijuana.

South Africa

In 2018, the Constitutional Court of South Africa ruled that the personal use of cannabis is legal. However, the sale, cultivation, and distribution of the drug remains illegal.


Jamaica decriminalized the possession of small amounts of cannabis in 2015, and in 2019 it also legalized its medical use. Rastafarian sacrament use of cannabis is also protected under the law.


In Australia, the legal status of cannabis varies from state to state. While it is illegal to possess and use cannabis for recreational purposes in most states, it is legal for medical use in some states with a prescription, so if you’re planning to visit this country, check the state’s law in advance.

The United Kingdom

In the United Kingdom, cannabis is classified as a Class B drug, and possession can lead to a five-year prison sentence. However, the laws around medical cannabis have been relaxed in recent years, allowing doctors to prescribe it in certain circumstances. By the way, it’s one of the world’s biggest producers of legal cannabis, followed by Canada.

It is worth noting that the laws and regulations regarding cannabis are constantly changing and evolving, so it’s better to check the latest information on the laws of the country you are in or planning to visit. Additionally, it’s important to note that even though cannabis might be legal in some countries, it’s not always legal to take it across the border, so you need to check the laws of the countries you are traveling to beforehand.