*Post published January 7 2015. Because we’re a bit chill, this post is not super regularly updated. Always check the most recent national laws of the country you plan to travel to before you depart.
In 2013, Uruguay became the first country in the world to make it legal to grow, sell and consume cannabis, and since this landmark decision, other countries throughout the world have begun to follow suit.
Cannabis is one of the most commonly used drugs around the world, and while the legality of its use varies from country to country, the world is beginning to see a trend in its legalization for recreational and general use.
This trend has been largely for medicinal purposes.
The possession and use of small quantities of cannabis seeds or marijuana is decriminalized in the following countries.
Always check for up to date legislation before traveling.
Countries Where Cannabis is Legal
The first country to pass legislation to legalize cannabis for personal use, though what constitutes as a reasonable amount for personal use has not been defined.
You must be 18 or older to legally buy Cannabis, and unfortunately for tourists, must be a resident of Uruguay who has registered with the authorities.
All cannabis is grown and distributed by the authorities.
Marijuana has been legal in Canada since 2018 (medical use however has been legal since 2001), in a move that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau proclaimed would “keep the money out of the pockets of organised crime”.
The Canada’s Cannabis Act of 2018 makes it legal to sell adults of 30g of cannabis in austere packaging from government-licensed shops, though each of the country’s 13 provinces and territories have their own set of rules, so it’s important to do your research.
For instance, even the legal smoking age varies across provinces, and depending on where you are, the minimum age to consume could be 19 (most of the country), 18 (in Alberta), or 21 (Quebec).
Personal consumption is legal for small amounts of up to 22 grams.
Selling cannabis is illegal, though you can grow up to 20 plants for personal use.
You can grow your own plants in Spain for personal use, and consumption is legal so long as it is done on private property and not in a public area.
Actually buying or selling cannabis in any quantity is illegal, and possession and consumption in a public place will land you a fine.
Costa Rica is tricky – cannabis is technically illegal, though a large percentage of the population smokes it.
Police officers usually turn a blind eye to those carrying seeds for personal consumption, though there is no set amount which has been established for minimum possession.
Cannabis is legal in the Czech Republic for medicinal purposes only, and only legally available via prescription.
Those caught with less than 15 grams for personal use or with five or less plants earn a police warning.
The possession of cannabis under 10 grams for personal use is totally acceptable.
While Jamaica is among one of the top 10 countries for recreational cannabis use, growing, selling and using cannabis is surprisingly illegal.
Due to its cultural relevance however (Rastafarianism believes in the spiritual use of cannabis), Cannabis use has been decriminalized, and is openly produced, sold and consumed without much prosecution.
Cannabis for personal use is legal so long as it is under 8 grams.
Portugal has decriminalized all drug use, including that of cannabis, cocaine and heroin. This does not mean that all drugs are legal, ( it is illegal to grow and sell Cannabis), though does mean that those who take drugs for personal use will not result in prosecution.
Portugal treats those who use drugs as sick instead of criminals, and those caught in possession of drugs on more than one occasion can be made to go to rehab.
Surprisingly, North Korea is the only country in the world where it is 100% legal to consume and posses cannabis in any quantity, shape or form, in fact, it is not even classified as a drug.
Though we would recommend thinking twice about traveling through North Korea stoned – it’s not the friendliest nation in the world!
Tourists flock from all over the world to the Netherlands’ famous “coffee shops”.
While cannabis is technically illegal, possession of up to 5 grams for personal use has been decriminalized, and the purchase of the drug is allowed through licensed coffee shops.
Any type of sale or transportation of the drug are illegal, and you should not buy it off the street.
Cannabis is only legal for medicinal purposes, and this is under strict legislative.
You can growing up to four plants but not sell or transport your product.
United States of America
Possession of Cannabis throughout the US is largely illegal, however Colorado and Washington state have legalized recreational use, and a few of the other states allow use for medicinal purposes.
Note that Indonesia, Iran, Japan, Malaysia, Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, the United Arab Emiates have the most strict laws against cannabis.
If smoking cannabis overseas, travelers should make themselves aware of the health effects, and also check for the most up to date legislation in each country. Information above is relevant as of January 7 2015.
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Infographic by Jan Diehm for The Huffington Post.