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Is Weed Legal in Other Countries?

Aug, 2022
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From recreationally legal states to a federally illegal nation, cannabis laws in the United States are diverse. And by now, we’re pretty well-versed in their complexities. So what about weed laws beyond the states? Is weed legal in other countries?

Here, Elevate Holistics is taking a look at cannabis internationally. To discover what areas of the world support cannabis consumption, we’ll go over countries where marijuana is legal for medical or recreational purposes. Is marijuana legal in Switzerland? What about Italy or Canada? Let’s explore!

is weed legal in other countries

Is marijuana legal in other countries? The laws of countries that legalize weed, whether medical or recreational, are unique to each country. These laws may include: 

  • Purchase and possession limits
  • Qualifying medical conditions
  • How individuals can consume cannabis
  • THC limits

While each region’s laws are unique, lawmakers have based most cannabis laws around the world on 3 United Nations treaties: 

In most countries, recreational weed is illegal and simple possession of cannabis is decriminalized – meaning authorities treat it as a minor offense. However, in some areas of the world, like Asian and Middle Eastern countries, the punishment for possessing any amount of marijuana is severe. On the other hand, recreational use is legal in certain countries.

So is weed legal in other countries? Let’s explore countries where marijuana is legal for medical or recreational use. 

First, let’s dive into medical marijuana countries. What’s new with countries where marijuana is legal for medicinal purposes? What does it take to become a patient? 

Let’s get into the countries that legalize weed for medical use – going into detail with a few countries.

Switzerland

Is marijuana legal in Switzerland? In 2022, Switzerland’s Federal Council lifted the ban on cannabis for medical purposes by amending the Swiss Narcotics Act. This fully legalized medical marijuana in Switzerland. However, the law currently only allows for products containing less than 1% THC.

Since August 2022, physicians have been able to prescribe patients medical cannabis. Before this change in legislation, Swiss residents had to obtain permission for medical marijuana from the Switzerland federal government’s center for public health by filing a request.

On top of newly legal medical use, Swiss authorities began a trial of legal cannabis sales for recreational use earlier this year. Participants must be residents who already consume cannabis and are 18 years of age or older. Participants are also required to report back to authorities regarding how cannabis is affecting their mental and physical health.

Italy

Is marijuana legal in Italy? Cannabis is medically legal in Italy, where the Ministry of Health manages the MMJ program. Patients must try other forms of treatment for their qualifying medical condition before being prescribed medical marijuana, as proved by a doctor.

Medical marijuana products must be hemp-derived and contain less than 0.6% THC. In some cases, the Italian healthcare system offers coverage on the cost of medical cannabis products. The Military Chemical Pharmaceutical Plant produces all of Italy’s medical cannabis.

In 2021, Italian activists garnered over 600,000 signatures to reform the country’s weed laws, including legalizing cannabis cultivation and reducing punishments for weed offenses. But, lawmakers blocked the referendum. That means that cultivating your own medical marijuana in Italy is still illegal.

Argentina

Medical marijuana has been legal in Argentina since 2017 but has only become accessible to patients in the past couple of years. Before recent reforms, cannabis oil was only available to patients with severe epilepsy.

is weed legal in other countries

In 2020, Argentina authorized people to grow marijuana at home for medicinal use. Patients can register with REPROCANN, Argentina's national cannabis registry to legally cultivate, possess, and consume cannabis. After being assessed by a medical professional, patients are allowed to grow marijuana for themselves or another registered patient. Patients can also get their medical cannabis through the national health system.

Argentina’s medical marijuana program doesn’t have a list of qualifying medical conditions. Instead, patients register by noting the therapeutic use they intend to consume cannabis for. These uses include sleep improvement, relief from anxiety, and pain management.

Australia

Compared to the rest of the world, Australia has one of the highest cannabis prevalence rates. ​​In 2016, the Australian Government legalized medical marijuana, although cannabis laws vary among Australian territories. 

Australia's Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) regulates all of the country’s medicinal cannabis supply.

To be prescribed weed in Australia, a doctor must complete an application on your behalf showing that you have a medical reason for accessing cannabis. The TGA does not have a list of qualifying medical conditions. Instead, doctors consider each patient on a case-by-case basis.

  • Brazil
  • Barbados 
  • Chile
  • Colombia
  • Costa Rica
  • Croatia
  • Cyprus
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Ecuador
  • Finland
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Ireland
  • Israel
  • Jamaica
  • Lebanon
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Malawi
  • The Netherlands
  • New Zealand
  • North Macedonia
  • Norway
  • Panama
  • Peru
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Rwanda
  • Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
  • San Marino
  • Sri Lanka
  • United Kingdom
  • Vanuatu
  • Zambia
  • Zimbabwe
  • Parts of the United States

What about the countries with (adult-use) recreational cannabis? Fewer countries have fully legalized marijuana for recreational use – but they do exist, making them ideal regions to pass through. Keep in mind that countries that legalize weed for recreational use have also legalized medical marijuana.

Canada

In 2018, Canada legalized cannabis in all provinces and territories for adults 18 and over. This made Canada the second country to legalize recreational use of the plant, after Uruguay. Two decades before recreational legalization, Canada legalized medical marijuana.

In Canada, anyone can legally possess up to 30 grams of cannabis in every province. In some provinces, the law states that people can smoke cannabis anywhere they can smoke cigarettes. Still, these public areas are somewhat limited. In Canada, government-run shops or dispensaries sell cannabis.

Malta

Malta, a small European country, became the first in Europe (and the third in the world) to legalize marijuana fully. At the end of 2021, the Maltese Parliament approved a bill meant to reduce criminal trafficking of marijuana and end the oppression of marijuana consumers.

Unlike the United States, nonprofit organizations in Malta must handle marijuana sales. These organizations can sell up to 50 grams of cannabis products to each customer per month. In addition, you can possess up to seven grams of cannabis and grow up to four cannabis plants in Malta. 

is weed legal in other countries

Consuming cannabis in public is illegal, but the punishment is mild.

In other countries that legalized weed for recreational use, such as South Africa, there is no legal system of distribution in place. That is not the case for Malta, where cannabis is accessible to all adults 18 years of age and older. 

  • South Africa
  • Thailand
  • Uruguay
  • Georgia
  • Parts of the United States
  • Parts of Australia

Stay Globally Lit with Elevate Holistics 

Is weed legal in other countries? Yes! Weed is legal in many areas around the globe. If you’re a traveling canna-consumer or are interested in moving to another country, this information could be a deal-maker or breaker.

Do you need help starting your cannabis journey or improving it? Elevate Holistics is here to help with your weed needs. We offer a safe, secure, and straightforward way to get your medical marijuana card. Our process is 100% online, connecting you virtually with a certified MMJ doctor for medical card approval. 

Have questions along the way? Contact the Elevate Holistics team – we are more than happy to help. We want you to live your best cannabis life so you can feel better naturally. 

Book an online doctor’s appointment with Elevate Holistics to get your medical marijuana card today!