Where Is Cannabis Legal in the World?

Keep up with the ever-changing world of cannabis legality by checking out our map of where cannabis is legal around the world.

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Cannabis is legal in a number of European countries, including Spain, Portugal, and the Netherlands. In these countries, cannabis is typically decriminalized, which means that possession of small amounts of the drug is not punishable by law. In some cases, such as in Portugal, possession of any amount of cannabis is decriminalized.


Germany legalized medical cannabis in 2017, though its implementation has been slow. The first German-grown cannabis was harvested in 2019, and patients began receiving prescriptions in early 2020.

The German government has said that it wants to establish the country as a global leader in medical cannabis, and it has invested heavily in research. In 2019, the government announced that it would be awarding €3 million ($3.4 million) to six different research projects related to medical cannabis.

Czech Republic

Czech Republic has a long tradition of using cannabis, dating back to medieval times when it was used as herbal medicine. In 2001, the country decriminalized possession of small amounts of cannabis for personal use and cultivation of up to five plants was made legal in 2010. In 2013, a medical cannabis program was established, making the Czech Republic the first Central European country to legalize medical use of the plant. The program allows patients with certain conditions to get a prescription for cannabis from their doctor and purchase it from a pharmacy.


The Netherlands has a long history of tolerance towards Cannabis and its use, dating back to the 16th century. The country decriminalized the possession of small amounts of the drug in 1976 and established “coffee shops” where its sale was tolerated in 1988. However, cultivation of Cannabis remains illegal. In recent years, the Dutch government has cracked down on “drug tourism” by limiting the quantity of Cannabis that coffee shops can sell to each customer.

North America

Cannabis is legal in Canada and some states in the United States of America. In Canada, you can purchase cannabis from licensed retailers. In the USA, cannabis is legal in some states for both recreational and medicinal use. States where it is legal have different laws and regulations.

United States

In the United States, cannabis is legal for medical use in 33 states and Washington D.C., as of December 2018. Recreational use is legal in 10 states and Washington D.C. The 2018 Farm Bill legalized hemp (cannabis with 0.3% THC or less) nationwide. However, individual states can still choose to outlaw it.


In 2018, Canada became the second and largest country with a legal, nationwide cannabis market. Adults in Canada are able to purchase and consume cannabis products from licensed retailers. The country also has an active medical cannabis market.

South America

Uruguay became the first country in the world to legalise cannabis in December 2013. This made it legal to buy, grow, possess and consume cannabis in the country. Paraguay legalised medical cannabis in 2017, and in 2018, Chile removed all penalties for personal possession of cannabis. Peru also decriminalised cannabis in 2017.


In 2013, Uruguay became the first country to legalize cannabis. The Uruguayan government created a state-controlled cannabis industry, with the intent of reducing illegal drug trafficking and related crimes.

Under Uruguayan law, adults 21 and over can purchase up to 40 grams (1.4 ounces) of cannabis per month from licensed pharmacies. Those who cannot afford to purchase cannabis from a pharmacy can grow up to six plants at home, or join a cannabis club, which is allowed to cultivate up to 99 plants.

Cannabis use is still illegal in public spaces, and driving under the influence of cannabis is also prohibited.


Chile legalized the personal use of cannabis in 2015, and regulation of the sale and consumption of cannabis is currently being discussed. The sale of cannabis products for medical purposes was legalized in 2017.


Though cannabis is illegal in most Asian countries, there are a few notable exceptions. In India, cannabis has been used for religious and medicinal purposes for thousands of years. Nepal has a long history of cannabis use, and it was only recently made illegal. In Thailand, medical cannabis was legalized in 2018, and recreational use was decriminalized in 2019.


Israel has had a medical cannabis program in place since the 1990s, and in recent years, the country has been making strides toward legalization. In January 2018, the government approved a plan to decriminalize cannabis and in March 2019, a bill was proposed to fully legalize the drug. If passed, the bill would make Israel the first country in Asia to legalize cannabis.


The Philippines is a step closer to making medical marijuana legal after the country’s House of Representatives approved a bill that would establish a regulatory framework for the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes.

The measure was approved on third and final reading with 131 votes in favor, 18 against and one abstention.

Under the measure, the Department of Health would be tasked with crafting the rules and regulations governing the use of medical marijuana, including the registration of patients and caregivers, as well as setting up a system for issuing ID cards.

The bill still needs to be approved by the Senate before it can become law.


South Africa is the only country on the African continent where cannabis is legal. Lesotho has also decriminalized the personal use of cannabis.


In Zimbabwe, the use of cannabis is technically illegal. However, the police largely turn a blind eye to possession and use, especially of small amounts. There is a growing movement to legalize cannabis in Zimbabwe, with several petitions having been submitted to the government. In 2015, the government did announce plans to decriminalize possession of small amounts of cannabis for personal use. However, these plans have not yet been implemented.

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