All Of The Places In The World Where Pot Is Legal
Cannabis' legal status shifts from continent to continent, country to country, city to city.
Wherever it grows across the globe, cannabis is highly politicized. And consuming, possessing, cultivating, and distributing the herb can have varying levels of consequence, depending on one's location. Nonetheless, weed is a universal unifier; something enjoyed by all walks of life. As such, here is a list of all the places around the world in which cannabis is legal for medicinal, or recreational purposes.
*Last updated January 9, 2018
The United States of America
In the U.S., recreational use is legal in Alaska, California, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts and The District of Columbia. California's cannabis market in particular, has been slated as providing the most populated state with a major economic boost over the next five years.
Still, thriving recreational and medical cannabis markets in legal states were of little concern to President Trump's administration, which recently made headlines after Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinded Obama-era legislation that protected state-sanctioned cannabis operations from federal interference.
The city of Amsterdam is well known for its numerous weed-friendly cafés, more than 250 according to The Telegraph. Known as coffee shops, these social-use-enabling establishments allow patrons over the age of 18 to sip coffee, while also indulging in some recreational weed intake. The best part is, that tourists don’t need to prove Dutch residency to partake in the green goodness while in Amsterdam. As for the rest of the Netherlands, you might have to ask a local to get stoned while visiting. You can even smoke outdoors in Amsterdam, as long as you’re not creating an obvious nuisance to others or doing it while, say, swinging on the swings of a playground, or near a school yard.
Technically weed is illegal in the Netherlands, but the drug is so common that authorities largely tolerate it. The coffee shops, puzzlingly, are legal, and hold permits which that make it possible for them to continue their operations.
Spain is another country where the cannabis laws are rather complex; a little fuzzy. Currently it’s legal to consume the drug privately, and growing cannabis plants for personal consumption is excluded from criminal prosecution. While most of Spain sees relaxed weed laws, distributing cannabis remains illegal. Spain is also home to more than 800 private cannabis clubs, where membership is restricted to locals only, and usually requires nothing more than a bit of paperwork.
Yes, you read that right; the same country that previously banned sarcasm, says it’s perfectly legal to smoke, sell and cultivate as much cannabis as one might so desire, and is reasonably capable of. Think about it: You can grow as much weed as you want. Still, in North Korea, your livelihood remains at the mercy of a tyrant with an abominable haircut. North Korea, though, has no law banning the consumption and sale of cannabis, or any such law is largely unenforced.
The North Korean government has even moved the chronic abroad in efforts to obtain foreign currencies. Weed is so easily found in North Korea that, according to High Times, in the area of Rason, North Korea’s economic zone, a kilo of herb can be purchased for around $6. Chinese tourists, when in the DPRK, have been buying bud in bulk to take back home, where the drug is highly illegal.
So leave your jeans, piercings, and other Western influences at home, but by all means, when in North Korea, smoke as much weed as you want.
You may not have known that Uruguay was one of the first Latin American countries to create a plan to legalize cannabis, which was reportedly approved in 2013. For Uruguay nationals, the drug is legal to cultivate, distribute, and consume.
Recently, the Latin American nation also legalized the sale of recreational pot in pharmacies, making Uruguay the first country ever to move cannabis via drug store retail. In the time since legalization, sixteen pharmacies have registered with the government, though that number is expected to increase in the coming years. Erstwhile, tourists will still have to settle for making friends with generous locals, who might possibly share their smoke.
While weed technically is not legal here, possessing cannabis is actually somewhat chill, so long as one is holding only for personal and immediate consumption. In Peru, one can possess up to eight grams of the herb, at one time, or two grams of cannabis derivatives. So yes, go ahead and climb the trails of Machu Picchu after a few tokes, just do so responsibly.
Even though Jamaica has been associated with cannabis culture for years, the drug was only just recently decriminalized in the country. Adults may possess small amounts of weed for personal use, and medicinal use of the plant is also recently legal. According to The New York Times, though, the Jamaican government is currently looking into ways of cashing in on the wave of legalization that’s grown over the last couple of years. Lawmakers hope to cultivate a “wellness tourism” scene, in the coming years.
Practitioners of Rastafari––a religion that incorporates cannabis into its rituals and practice––are mostly protected, due to the spiritual nature of their consumption.
Medical marijuana has been legal in Canada since 2001. When not busy melting the hearts of women everywhere, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is working to legalize cannabis across all of Canada. Trudeau, who’s admitted to smoking even as a member of Parliament, released legislation last year to make Canada the first industrialized country to legalize cannabis nationwide. It’s reportedly expected that parliament will pass the legislation. Which means even Americans visiting Canada will be able to buy and smoke legally while in the Great White North. There’s even talk of the country opening Amsterdam-style coffee shops.
Portugal has taken a unique approach to all drugs, including cannabis, in that the possession and consumption of any such substances for personal use is a non-criminal offense. The progressive drug policy actually led to a major drop in hard drug usage and fatal overdoses––a serious win, and a move others would be keen to mimic.
Weed is legal in the land down under, but only if you’re one “seriously ill” Australian, according to reports. The rules surrounding who can and cannot access medical cannabis are strict, and any medical cannabis in the country has to be imported. But soon, thanks to the changing laws, cannabis plants will be sprouting up aplenty.
The land of chocolate and neutrality recently decriminalized the possession of cannabis, so long as it’s in small doses. And a unique strain of cannabis that contains less than one percent THC, is perfectly legal under Swiss law.
Argentina is another country leading the world in marijuana policy reform. What’s even better is that medical cannabis in Argentina will be free for the nation's mmj patients. All of this ganja goodness was made possible by a group of 136 Argentine families who petitioned the government to allow cannabis use by children suffering from epilepsy, autism, and a host of other qualifying ailments.
On paper, cannabis is not legal in Cambodia. That said, police usually turn a blind eye to locals who grow and consume a small amount of their own weed. Cambodia is also home of the weed-infused “happy pizza,” which is sure to both make you hungry and cure that hunger.
In Costa Rica, cannabis is illegal but decriminalized. It’s permissible to carry a small amount of weed, though existing legislation fails to specify how much constitutes “a small amount," so riding dirty in Costa Rica is likely a relative term.
Medical cannabis is legal in Czech Republic and one may carry up to 15 grams for personal use, though production and distribution is still way no-chill. Because the country has a history of relaxed drug laws, though, a thriving cannabis culture is found in major cities, such as Prague.
In Ecuador, possession of less than 10 grams of cannabis for a personal sesh is decriminalized. Though legislation does little to stymie mother nature, as despite the laws, cannabis plants grow regularly in Ecuador due to the favorable climate. A niche cannabis culture thrives in cities such as Cuenca, which is garnering a reputation for mellow vibe-causing weed-infused chocolate bon-bons.
Legal only for limited medical use, cannabis remains mostly in prohibition in Italy. Ironically enough, a military-run laboratory cultivates more than 100 plants, supplying the birthplace of pizza with some high-grade medical weed.
Those keen to get stoned may possess slightly more than a quarter-ounce of cannabis for personal use in Estonia, where the drug is decriminalized, but still not legal. Regardless, Estonians are said to be some of the most cannabis-friendly people on the planet.
In Mexico, cannabis is illegal for recreational consumption, though possession was recently decriminalized, and the herb remains legal for medicinal use. Citizens can also grow up to four plants for personal use.
The coming year could have Israel coming into its own as a cannabis power player, as pending legislation would allow the country's cannabis farmers to export products should it pass. Israel is also home to more than 30,000 medical marijuana patients, and is a leader internationally in cannabis research.
Germany's cannabis laws have medical patients seeing increased access to the herb, while recreational users aren't too far behind, which has us thinking a trip to Munich for a stoned Oktoberfest is in order.