Countries Where Marijuana is Legal or Decriminalized
September 27, 2017
Being a foreigner traveling around the world doesn't mean you should ignore international cannabis laws. Even though cannabis is legal or tolerated in some countries, you must realize that it is still prohibited in many parts of the world.
Here is a list of countries that will allow you to pair your travel experience with cannabis use without any worry.
Uruguay is the most liberal of all
The avant-gardism of Uruguay makes it the first country in the world to allow people to consume cannabis anywhere they like. Very flexible on the consumption of the euphoric plant, it is the first country in the world that decided to fully legalize cannabis at the end of 2013. Marijuana can thus be bought over the counter without any hassle. Its production, distribution, and consumption are totally legalized. However, according to the law, every consumer must choose a well-defined means to obtain cannabis. They can cultivate it themself, buy it in a drug store or join a cannabis club. Each consumer can buy a maximum of 10 grams per week.
Check the state laws before visiting the United States
The United States has its own dose of controversies and debates about medical and recreational uses of cannabis. The legalization of cannabis in the USA depends on the decision of each state. Residents of Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, and California voted to legalize marijuana for recreational purposes. This decision could modify the cultural and economic conditions of the states while affecting the American nation as a whole.
Before the above-mentioned states, Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington had all legalized, regulated and taxed recreational marijuana use by adults, in a similar manner to that of alcoholic drinks. Washington D.C. also legalized the possession of cannabis and its cultivation for personal use.
Ganja is controlled even in Jamaica
After years of debate and decades of illegality for smokers, the Jamaican Parliament authorized, under certain conditions, the consumption of cannabis and the possession of 57 grams of marijuana per person since February 2015. That was a historic decision for the island of Bob Marley where "ganja", as it is called there, is highly consumed by the Rastafarians.
Considered either as a religion or philosophy, the Rastafarian movement is very popular in Jamaica. The followers consider "ganja" as a sacred herb that allows the soul to rise. They consider it harmless and has been asking for its legalization since long. Today, they can consume ganja while practicing their religion.
Small quantities of marijuana are allowed for consumption in Argentina
The consumption of cannabis is decriminalized in Argentina. It is common to come across youngsters who consume marijuana in public places although this is prohibited. However, the sale or cultivation of cannabis still remains illegal.
The same laws on marijuana can be found in other South American countries, including Peru, Colombia, and Mexico.
The Netherlands is the paradise of cannabis
Dutch lawmakers agreed to legalize the production of cannabis and the Netherlands remains the Eldorado of cannabis for many Europeans. In February 2017, the Dutch MPs adopted a law that legalizes the production of cannabis.
Since 1976, the country has been practicing a more accommodating policy on soft drugs, although culture is not allowed until now. However, plantations will be subject to strict control at several levels: farmers must first obtain authorization from the Ministry of Health before submitting their products for quality surveys. After that, the production and the annuity will be subject to the discretion of the public authorities and to tax. Coffee shops will now receive delivery by certified persons who will make pre-wrapped packages of five grams.
Cannabis is cheap in the Czech Republic
In the Czech Republic, the consumption of the marijuana is legal in a therapeutic framework since 2013. Cannabis use has been tolerated for recreational purposes for almost 3 years. You can have up to 15 grams of marijuana and up to 5 grams of hashish. The Czech Republic welcomes cannabis aficionados every year for a big festival known as Cannafest. However, Prague is not in the phase of becoming the new "Amsterdam" since the opening of coffee shops is strictly forbidden.
Cannabis is tolerated in small quantities in Italy
Italy is one of the most progressive countries in Europe in terms of cannabis. In addition to its domestic production of therapeutic cannabis, Italy is rather lenient with small drug users. Since 1993, legislation on the recreational use of all drugs has been relaxed. In a citizens' referendum, the Italians voted for the decriminalization of possession of drugs. People with small quantities (<5 grams) are no longer subject to criminal penalties. Even if the possession of cannabis is modestly punished, it is still illegal under international laws. On the other hand, cannabis use is not an offense in itself.
However, massive cultivation of cannabis is criminalized. The Italians have the right to grow a cannabis plant at home without any reprimand, as long as there is no evidence that the owner is trafficking and the number of plants remains reasonable.
Private consumption of marijuana is tolerated in Spain
In Spain, the law penalizes the consumption of cannabis in public but remains silent on private consumption, which is therefore tolerated. Consumer clubs have used this legal vacuum and swarmed in recent years. But since June 2017, cannabis users' clubs are now authorized and regulated by a law in Catalonia, the second most populous region in Spain. The regional parliament of Catalonia, with a population of 7.5 million, has adopted a law detailing the conditions under which they can operate and formally authorize them.
Drugs are a health issue, but not a criminal issue in Portugal
Portugal has decriminalized cannabis for more than 15 years now. In fact, the Portuguese government took the initiative in 2001 to decriminalize the possession of all drugs, including hard drugs, if they are found in very small quantities. This decision was taken as drugs are viewed as a health issue rather than a criminal issue in the country. Instead of arrests, those found with drugs are sent to medical panels consisting of a psychologist, social workers and legal advisor for appropriate treatment.
Cannabis is used in Cambodian cuisine
Whether it is in Pakistan, Bangladesh, India or Nepal, consumption of cannabis is widespread in this region of the world. But it is easier to smoke and eat it in Cambodia as it is traditionally incorporated into the Cambodian cuisine. If you are visiting the country, do not miss the marijuana-laced pizza.
Nimbin the symbol of Australian marijuana
Nimbin is a village near Byron Bay which is the symbol of the Australian legalization activists. Inhabited since the 70s by a community of hippies, the consumption of cannabis is tolerated in its streets. In Nimbin, you can easily buy marijuana and all its derivatives, such as butter cookies from Marrakech, in public places. Every year a large gathering takes place where people from all over Australia come to request legalization throughout the country.
South Africa is on hold
The debate on the legalization of cannabis is raging in South Africa. A court in the Western Cape Province considered the criminalization of cannabis as unconstitutional in late March. Susanne, a young single mom, is convinced of the usefulness of the plant. For several months, she has given a new treatment to her seven-year-old son with Costello's syndrome, a rare disease that causes physical deformities and intellectual deficit. The South African Parliament has two years to decide whether to adapt legislation.
Be discreet in Morocco
Any use of cannabis is illegal in Morocco but drug tourism brings a lot of money to the country's economy. As such, police controls are rare. However, you have to be careful. If you get caught red-handed, you will land into trouble.
Canada will legalize recreational use in 2018
While most of the United States and some countries in South America have already authorized cannabis for medical use, several other countries are preparing for decriminalization. In April 2017, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau introduced his bill to legalize the recreational use of cannabis. Its sale will be legal as from July 1, 2018, and each province will determine the terms and locations of sales according to their convenience. Households will be allowed to grow up to 4 plants.
Other European countries are becoming lenient
This great movement of cannabis consumption has influenced Europe as well. Twelve countries decriminalized the use and possession of cannabis: Germany, Belgium, Denmark, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Croatia, and Slovenia. If you are caught possessing or consuming cannabis, you will incur a fine only.
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