Global Cannabis
Laws around the world

I've set up this particular page to inform and educate about cannabis laws in countries other than those in the UK. As we know, the War On Drugs has been a global one and for many countries, it still is. Not just in the variety and complexity of these laws, and the ongoing divisions of what's medicinal and what's recreational, it's (for me at least) impossible to keep up. Immediately below is my first contribution, kindly contributed by Si Harrison from End Prohibition Jersey. I found it fascinating and learned a lot. I hope you do too. Below that is an overview of cannabis laws from other countries, including information (see further reading) of those that serve the death penalty.

If you're planning to travel abroad with prescription cannabis, do double check the laws of where you're going. I try my best to keep these pages as up to date as I can, but it's not always possible to keep up with every change,

Cannabis Law in Jersey

By Si Harrison

Cannabis, then know as Indian Hemp, was made illegal in Jersey in 1954.

In 1978 the Misuse of Drugs Law was introduced, which mostly copied the UK's 1971 Misuse of Drugs Act with cannabis flower and resin being made Class B drugs and cannabinol and it's derivatives (e.g. cannabis oil) assigned to Class A.

While the UK subsequently changed their legislation to downgrade all cannabis to Class C in 2003 and latterly upgrade them to Class B in 2008 [1], Jersey (as well as Guernsey and Gibraltar) did not alter their legislation and so cannabis retains it's classifications as defined in the 1978 law.

Consequently, there was a zero tolerance in the Island for products containing THC that were not in the form of either cannabis flower or resin as they were deemed to be a derivative of cannabinol and therefore Class A drugs.

In order to facilitate local production of CBD products, in 2019 the Misuse of Drugs law was amended to allow a small amount of THC up to a maximum ratio of 100:3 of CBD:THC, following corresponding legislation
implemented in Guernsey [2].

Legislation to legalise medicinal cannabis in Jersey was adopted by the States Assembly in November 2018, a couple of weeks after the UK [3].
This legislation differs from that of the UK in that it is not just limited to specialist doctors on the GMC register and instead allows anyone who can prescribe to prescribe medicinal cannabis.

However, the Primary Care Body advised GPs at the time not to prescribe medicinal cannabis primarily due to liability concerns [4] and so it was not until 2020 that patients in the Island could access medicinal
cannabis from UK clinics using telemedicine and postal prescriptions during the first Covid lockdown.

End Cannabis Prohibition Jersey was established as a private Facebook group in May 2020 [5], around the time that the first patients in the Island began receiving medicinal cannabis prescriptions.

Through sharing information about these developments with our members and engaging with the various clinics and specialist pharmacies in the UK to facilitate further access, hundreds of patients began to receive
medicinal cannabis prescriptions in the summer of 2020. By the autumn, three cannabis clinics had opened in the Island with a fourth clinic being established in 2022. There are now estimated to be over 2,500
people in the Island who have received a prescription for medicinal cannabis - one of the highest rates per capita in Europe.

Alongside our advocacy for cannabis law reform, End Cannabis Prohibition Jersey continues to advocate for patient access to medicinal cannabis in conjunction with our sister group, the Jersey Medicinal Cannabis Patient Alliance [6].

The general elections in June this year provided us with an opportunity to engage with candidates directly to raise awareness of cannabis issues in Jersey. To support our campaign, we put together an online
presentation making 35 recommendations for reform spanning 5 themes: Patient Access, Cannabis Industry, the Substance Use Strategy, Decriminalisation, and Towards Regulation [7].

We met with a quarter of the election candidates and communicated with a further half of them via email. The response was overwhelmingly positive with the vast majority being receptive to cannabis reform of some sort,
while our largest political party included the decriminalisation of cannabis in their manifesto [8].

By shifting the Overton window and beginning the conversation on cannabis, End Cannabis Prohibition Jersey is optimistic that our new States Assembly will be supportive of a progressive approach to cannabis
during the current term. We continue to lobby States Members on our recommendations for reform and we remain hopeful of progress in addressing each of our 5 themes in due course.

[1] Clearing up the myth that cannabis extract is a Class A drug in the
United Kingdom,

[2] Misuse of Drugs (Miscellaneous Amendments) (No. 8) (Jersey) Order,

[3] Misuse of Drugs (Miscellaneous Amendments) (No. 7) (Jersey) Order,

[4] GPs told not to prescribe cannabis,

[5] End Cannabis Prohibition Jersey Facebook Group,

[6] Jersey Medicinal Cannabis Patient Alliance Facebook Group,

[7] End Cannabis Prohibition Jersey Website,

[8] Reform Jersey Manifesto 2022,



Like the U.S., Cannabis laws vary at a State/Territory level. In Victoria for instance, although cannabis is not legal, personal possession and small quantities tend to be treated leniently, at police discretion. In the Australian Capital Territory, growing, possessing and cultivating cannabis is legal for those over 18 for personal use. Medicinal cannabis also varies. CBD oil (usually Epidyolex) can be obtained by speaking to a pharmacist. Sativex spray (naxibimols) is another approved treatment for specific conditions. Unregistered medicinal products may also be prescribed and approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) 

Hunter, G. and Bennett, T. (12 October 2022) Medicinal Cannabis in Australia. Available online at:

Remeikis, A. (19 April 2023) Legalising Cannabis in Australia: How Would It Work and Is There a Catch? The Guardian. Available online at:

Revell, J. (11 May 2023) Australia’s Cannabis Laws Explained in Terms You Could Understand In…Any State of Mind. The Latch. Available online at:


In 2018, Canada became the second country in the World (the first being Uruguay) to legalise cannabis for recreational use (The Cannabis Act). Medical cannabis has been legal since 2001 (courtesy of the Medical Access Regulations). This means that residents can access flower and oil. Minimum ages vary between provinces with regards to recreational use but cultivation of up to 4 plants per residence is allowed, as is buying and sharing (with age-appropriate adults)

Cannigma Staff (date unknown) Cannabis Laws in Canada: Is Marijuana Legal? The Cannigma. Available online at:

Government of Canada (2019) The Cannabis Act: Here’s what you need to know. Government of Canada. Available online at:


Both recreational and medicinal cannabis (flower and oil) remain illegal in France. Sativex oral spray is available on prescription but only for Multiple Sclerosis sufferers.

Sensi Seeds (25 Sept 2021) Cannabis in France - Laws, Use and History. Sensi Seeds. Available online at:


Adults in Germany can possess cannabis at home and grow up to 3 plants for personal use. Those with convictions for low-level possession and cultivation can apply to have their records expunged. Although the German government has changed course from the full legalization it was previously looking at, there are now planned pilot programs and Cannabis Clubs similar to those in Spain. Medical cannabis has been prescribable by any doctor since 2017, but this year (2023) it was announced that it would be treated more like other medicines (a reduction in red tape, refusals and lengthy waits being the expected outcome).

Sabaghi, D. (13 April 2023) What to Know About Germany’s Revised Plan to Legalize Cannabis. Forbes. Available online at:

Sinclair, S. (21 March 2023) Medical Cannabis in Germany - What You Need to Know About New Regulations. Cannabis Health News. Available online at:

Stevens, B. (17 November 2023) 'Difficulty in the Details’ Sees Germany’s Cannabis Act Delayed By Months. Available online at:


Cannabis is legal for medicinal use in Israel and decriminalised with regards to small scale possession/ personal use (since 2019, fines may apply rather than criminal charges). For decades, Israel has been a forerunner in research.  

Hartman, B. (date unknown) Is Cannabis Legal in Israel? The Cannigma. Available online at:

Williams, A. (22 Mar 2023) Raphael Mechoulam, ‘Father of Cannabis Research’ Dies at 92. New York Times. Available online at:


Medicinal cannabis in various preparations can be prescribed in Italy. Although recreational cannabis use is decriminalised, it is illegal to possess or sell so there may be penalties dependent on the circumstance.

Cannigma Staff (date unknown) Is Cannabis Legal in Italy? The Cannigma. Available online at:


Even in small amounts, recreational cannabis is illegal in Lebanon and penalties may be harsh, dependent on the region. Medicinal cannabis alo remains illegal. In 2018, the cultivation for medicinal and industrial purposes was passed through legislation, but guidance and active change is yet to be seen.  

Cannigma Staff (date unknown) Cannabis Laws in Lebanon. The Cannigma. Available online at:


As of 2017, cultivation of cannabis for medical purposes became legal (the first African country to do this). Manufacture, distribution, import and export are also now legal. However, there is not yet a medicinal program in place, which means that despite this, both recreational and medicinal cannabis remain illegal. 

Cannigma Staff (2023) Where Cannabis is Legal in Africa in 2023? The Cannigma. Available online at:


This year (2023), Luxembourg became the second European Union member country to legalize cannabis for personal use. This allows for personal consumption and possession and cultivation of up to three plants. Public consumption remains illegal. Medicinal cannabis has been available for specific ailments since 2018.

Sabaghi, D. (29 June 2023) Luxembourg Legalizes Cannabis for Personal Use. Forbes. Available online at:

Schwartz, L. (3 April 2023) 4 Year Pilot Phase for Medicinal Cannabis. RTL Today. Available online at:


Medical and industrial use of cannabis were decriminalised in 2020. Recreational cannabis remains illegal.

Cannigma Staff (2023) Where Cannabis is Legal in Africa in 2023? The Cannigma. Available online at:


Cannabis for medicinal use has been legal in Malta since 2018. Limited recreational use was signed into law in 2021. Adults can carry up to 7 grams, store up to 50g and cultivate up to 4 plants. Cannabis Clubs similar to those in Spain are also being introduced this year.

Bernard, A. (2 February 2023) Malta’s Cannabis Club Model to Launch End of February - What You Need to Know. Cannabis Health News. Available online at:

Cannabis Clubs Malta (2023) Information and News about Cannabis Clubs in Malta. Cannabis Clubs Malta. Available online at:

Cannigma Staff (2023) Cannabis Laws in Malta. The Cannigma. Available online at:


Recreational cannabis use is illegal in Morocco and penalties can be severe. Since 2019 it’s been possible to get prescribed cannabis for limited conditions and with a producer's license, it's legal to cultivate.

Cannigma Staff (date unknown) Cannabis Laws in Morocco. The Cannigma. Available online at:


Cannabis is illegal in the Netherlands unless it is purchased and consumed in a ‘Coffee Shop’. Although not legal to grow cannabis, possession of up to 5g or cultivation of up to 5 plants will generally not be prosecuted as there’s an assumption that there isn’t intent to supply. Medicinal cannabis was legalized in 2001.

Hartman, B. (date unknown) The Legal Status of Weed in the Netherlands and Amsterdam: What Does the Law Actually Permit? The Cannigma. Available at:


Though not actually legal, Portugal decriminalised all drugs in 2001 in order to focus on treatment and addictions. Small amounts considered sufficient for personal possession are allowed, but penalties may be high for selling without a licence. Medicinal cannabis has been legal on prescription since 2018, though it is difficult to obtain. Cannabis Social Clubs also operate.

Allan, R. (4 August 2022) Weed in Portugal: Cannabis Legal Status Guide. Available online at:

Reuters Staff (15 June 2018) Portugal’s Parliament Legalizes Cannabis-Based Medicines. Available online at:

Thorn, E. (29 May 2023) Is Weed Legal in Portugal? Portugal Marijuana Laws. Available online at:


Medicinal cannabis was introduced in Rwanda in 2021 and there is regulation for growing, export, medical and research use.

Cannigma Staff (2023) Where Cannabis is Legal in Africa in 2023? The Cannigma. Available online at:


Cannabis is available for medicinal use for any condition in South Africa. Since 2018, it’s also legal for adults to grow and smoke cannabis at home.

Cannigma Staff (2023) Where Cannabis is Legal in Africa in 2023? The Cannigma. Available online at:


There can be severe penalties for cannabis offences in South Korea, although medicinal cannabis has been legal since 2018.

Cannigma Staff (2023) Where Cannabis is Legal in Asia. The Cannigma. Available online at:


Spain recently altered its cannabis laws so that it can be imported and prescribed by doctors, though this continues to be delayed to be put into action. Cannabis is generally illegal though it is decriminalised for personal cultivation and consumption. It is illegal to buy or sell cannabis but there is still a system of Cannabis Social Clubs.

Cannabis Watcher (30 Jan 2023) Cannabis Laws in Spain. A Comprehensive Guide. The Cannabis Watcher. Available online at:

Green, J. (28 February 2022) What is the Status of Cannabis Clubs in Spain? International Cannabis Business Conference. Available online at:

Sinclair, S. (3 July 2023) Spain: ‘Unfulfilled’ Promises Leave Regulation of Medical Cannabis in Jeopardy. Cannabis Health News. Available online at:


Switzerland has legalised medical cannabis on prescription. Various pilot studies have also been authorised with a view to possible recreational change in the future.

Business of Cannabis (15 May 2023) Switzerland Approves Another 2 Adult Use Pilot Trials in Bern and Geneva. Business of Cannabis. Available online at:

Sabaghi, D. (27 July 2022) Switzerland Fully Legalizes Medical Cannabis and Allows Export. Forbes. Available online at:

Sabaghi, D. (May 5 2022) Switzerland to Launch Adult Use Cannabis Sale Trial Program this Summer. Forbes. Available online at:


Medicinal Cannabis was legalised in Thailand in 2018. In 2021, cultivation of up to 6 plants was agreed, but recreational cannabis remains illegal.

Cannigma (2023) Where Cannabis is Legal in Asia. Cannigma. Available online at:


Uruguay was the first country in the World to legalise recreational cannabis in 2013. Medicinal cannabis is also available. Growing for personal use is also permitted and there are designated areas for public consumption.

Cannigma Staff (28 May 2023) Cannabis Laws in Uruguay. Cannigma. Available online at:

Ford, P. (2 October 2020) Cannabis in Uruguay. Inside the World’s First Leqal Market. Leafie. Available online at:


At the time of writing (August 2023) Medicinal Cannabis is legal to varying degrees in 37 States. 23 States have legalised cannabis for recreational use. In 2022, legislation was passed to make it legal in every State and convictions to be quashed.

Avery, D. (31 May 2023) Where is Marijuana Legal? Cannabis Laws in Every State. Cnet. Available online at:

Leafly (24 April 2023) Leafly’s Guide to Marijuana Legalization. Leafly. Available online at:

Rush, C. (12 July 2021) What to Know Before you Visit a Dispensary for the First Time. Leafly. Available online at:

Schwartz, Y. 17 December 2015) The Outsourcing of American Marijuana Research. Newsweek. Available online at:

Shabad, R. (1 April 2022) House Passes Landmark Marijuana Legalization Bill. NBC Available online at:

Wikipedia (August 2023) Medical Cannabis in the United States. Wikipedia. Available online at:


Cannabis for Medicinal and research purposes was approved in Zambia and cultivation and export are also allowed but recreational cannabis remains illegal.

Cannigma Staff (2023) Where Cannabis is Legal in Africa in 2023? The Cannigma. Available online at:


In 2018, medical and scientific cannabis was approved, as was commercial cultivation the following year.

Cannigma Staff (2023) Where Cannabis is Legal in Africa in 2023? The Cannigma. Available online at:


Cannigma Staff (2023) Where Cannabis is Legal in Africa in 2023. The Cannigma. Available online at:

Cannigma Staff (2023) Where Cannabis is Legal in Asia in 2023. The Cannigma. Available online at:

Cannabis Campaigner’s Guide (2023) Death for Cannabis? Cannabis Campaigner’s Guide, Available online at:

Cornwell, A. (3 January 2023) The Toughest Cannabis Laws from Around the World. Available online at:

Maja (21 December 2020) The European Guidelines for Cannabis Social Clubs. European Coalition for Just and Effective Drug Policies ( Available online at:

*Sanskara Platform, The (24 July 2023 update) Travel Abroad With Your Cannabis Prescription. The Sanskara Platform. Available online at:,10%20days%20before%20you%20travel.

Wikipedia (14 August 2023) Legality of Cannabis. Wikipedia. Available online at:


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The European Coalition for Just and Effective Drug Policies

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Page updated: December 2023