JUNE 9, 2022

The High Road: The Complete Guide to Global Cannabis Legalization

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Planning a trip but not sure if the country you’re traveling to is bud-free or bud-friendly? You’ve come to the right place. Consider this your complete guide to global cannabis legalization.

So what are the ultimate locales for getting weird around the world? Not just anywhere – it’s recommended that you avoid lighting up, or even talking about weed-related habits if you’re planning on hopping on a plane to, say, Singapore or the UAE.

It’s not all doom and gloom, though. Although there are countries around the world where blazing up could land you in a Harold-And-Kumar-Guantanamo-Bay type situation, there are plenty of global locations you can jet-set to where cannabis has been legalized, decriminalized, or just socially mainstreamed enough that even when you are technically breaking the law, chances are the locals are indulging in a doobie right along with you.

Here is your complete guide to all the countries where weed is legal, either medicinally, recreationally, or both, or, if not legal, decriminalized and socially legal-adjacent, and, on the other side of the spectrum, the countries where lighting up a joint could get you in a whole lot of trouble.

North America

The obvious place to start is North America, particularly Canada and the United States.

Recreational cannabis use is fully legal throughout Canada, so if you’re 19 or older you can buy from a dispensary and light up as you please.

The waters get slightly murkier in the United States, where recreational use of cannabis is currently legal is just 19 states: 

  • Alaska

  • Arizona

  • California

  • Colorado

  • Connecticut

  • D.C.

  • Illinois

  • Maine

  • Massachusetts

  • Michigan

  • Montana

  • Nevada

  • New Jersey

  • New Mexico

  • New York

  • Oregon

  • Vermont

  • Virginia

  • Washington 

  • + Guam

  • + The Northern Mariana Islands

 Medical cannabis is also legal in the above states, but you can use only medical cannabis legally in the following states;

  • Alabama

  • Arkansas

  • Delaware

  • Florida

  • Hawaii

  • Louisiana

  • Minnesota

  • Mississippi

  • Missouri

  • New Hampshire

  • North Dakota

  • Ohio

  • Oklahoma

  • Pennsylvania

  • Rhode Island

  • South Dakota

  • Utah

  • West Virginia 

  • Puerto Rico

  • The U.S. Virgin Islands

In other North American countries, like Costa Rica, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, and Saint Kitts and Nevis cannabis is currently decriminalized, while in Panama and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines cannabis is legal for medical use. 

In Mexico you can light up for recreational use legally but possession is limited to up to five grams.

These are the North American countries where cannabis is currently illegal:

  • Antigua and Barbuda

  • Bahamas

  • Barbados

  • Belize

  • Cuba

  • Dominican Republic

  • El Salvador

  • Grenada

  • Guatemala

  • Haiti

  • Honduras

  • Nicaragua

  • Saint Lucia


Across Europe cannabis for recreational use is not legal, however, some European countries have decriminalized cannabis use as well as legalized medical cannabis:

  • Austria (decriminalized)

  • Belgium (medical)

  • Croatia (decriminalized)

  • Cyprus (medical)

  • Czech Republic (medical + decriminalized)

  • Denmark (medical + decriminalized)

  • Estonia (medical + decriminalized)

  • Finland (medical)

  • France (medical + decriminalized)

  • Germany (medical + decriminalized)

  • Greece (medical)

  • Ireland (medical)

  • Italy (medical + decriminalized)

  • Lithuania (medical)

  • Luxembourg (medical + decriminalized)

  • Malta (medical + decriminalized)

  • Moldova (medical + decriminalized)

  • The Netherlands (medical + decriminalized)

  • North Macedonia (medical)

  • Norway (medical + decriminalized)

  • Poland (medical)

  • Portugal (medical + decriminalized)

  • Romania (medical + decriminalized)

  • San Marino (medical)

  • Slovenia (medical + decriminalized)

  • Spain (medical + decriminalized)

  • Sweden (medical)

  • Switzerland (medical + decriminalized)

  • Ukraine (decriminalized)

  • The United Kingdom (medical)

South America

In terms of cannabis being legal for recreational use in South America, only one country fits the bill –  Uruguay. However, cannabis is actually decriminalized in a large majority of the continent, save a few exceptions.

The are the South American countries where cannabis is neither decriminalized nor legal for medical purposes: 

  • Bolivia

  • French Guiana

  • Falkland Islands

  • Guyana

  • Suriname

  • Venezuela


Asia is the largest and most populous continent on the planet and also just so happens to be the strictest when it comes to cannabis regulation. 

Of the 50+ countries and territories making up the continent, there are barely any that have legalized medical cannabis or even decriminalized the use of weed. 

These are the only three in Asia:

  • Israel (medical + decriminalized)

  • Thailand (medical)

  • South Korea (medical)


Africa also remains on the list of continents where cannabis remains largely illegal across her many countries. Of course, there are a few exceptions.

These are the African countries where cannabis is either decriminalized or legal for medical use, or both: 

  • Lesotho (medical)

  • Malawi (medical)

  • Morocco (medical)

  • Rwanda (medical)

  • South Africa (medical + decriminalized)

  • Zimbabwe (medical)

Australia & Antarctica

In Australia, cannabis legal for recreational purposed in only one territory, the Australian Capital Territory (ACT), including its capital, Canberra. Throughout the rest of Australia cannabis is only legal for medical purposes.

Antarctica, on the other hand, has perhaps the most interesting cannabis laws of any country in the world. Under Antarctica’s treaty, individuals visiting the country are able to use cannabis if they come from a nation where it’s legal. It is important to note that the treaty does not accept statewide legalization if visitors are from the United States, they only apply to nationwide regulations.

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