The push for worldwide measures on cannabis legalization has certainly picked up steam. While measures around the world have remained extremely distinct and almost distant, the even representation worldwide has shown the start of a shifting global attitude towards what has been long standing legislation on cannabis for its many uses. While industrial hemp has remained legal in most countries, cannabis that is used for medicinal purposes or recreationally ingested (whether it be smoked or eaten via various processes) has remained largely on the fringes of societies; that is, until the past year. Several states in the United States have legalized recreational marijuana use, though they have regulated its sales. In addition to that, the country’s capital has legalized recreational marijuana use, despite being mostly federal land, where it remains illegal. In addition to this, several countries around the world have legalized or decriminalized adult recreational marijuana use to some degree or another. So, just what kind of places can you light up a doobie in?
Uruguay made headlines by being the first country to fully legalize adult recreational marijuana usage this year. Its president, Jose Muijca, has not even put any regulations on this legalization process yet, making the legislation landmark around the globe. Similarly in South America, Argentina has a “live and let live” type policy regarding the usage of cannabis plants. If you’re caught transporting cannabis, cultivating cannabis, or selling it, you can be subject to punitive measures, however, lighting up in the privacy of your own home is considered perfectly okay. In Columbia, cannabis has been decriminalized since 1994. As an adult, you can have up to 22 grams of cannabis, however, the limit on possession of cannabis plants is 20 individual plants… if you consider that a limit! In Ecuador, you can have up to ten grams of cannabis as an adult, but can face fines for transporting, selling, or cultivating cannabis products. In Peru, you can do anything but sell cannabis, making it one of the most laissez-faire countries on cannabis as a whole. If you look a little to the north, Mexico has had a decriminalized stance on cannabis since 2009. Just one more step to the north, and you hit the United States, where Alaska, Oregon, Washington, and Colorado have legalized marijuana for medical and recreational use, and where California, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Minnesota, Michigan, Illinois, Maryland, New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Vermont, and Maine have legalized cannabis use for medicinal purposes. To complete the circuit north, Canada has a laissez-faire policy on cannabis usage that makes it highly unlikely that you will ever face consequences for lighting up up there, eh?
Moving over into Asia through the Pacific, Australia has decriminalized cannabis uses in some of its states, while in others, you can face penalties. In Nepal, however, cannabis usage is no new thing to them, since cannabis has been used in their religious ceremonies for centuries. Surprisingly, you can use cannabis with ease in North Korea, as there does not appear to be any type of restriction on usage of the plant in the entire country. In Cambodia, cannabis usage is widespread, with recreational purchase being widely available. They even have restaurants that serve food with cannabis cooked into the product. In Pakistan, cannabis cultivation has been decriminalized, and in Russia, you can have up to six grams of cannabis on your person before you are in violation of any laws.
Just a little to the west, Estonia enjoys a slightly higher limit of 7.5 grams for possession of cannabis until you are in violation of any laws. In Ukraine, the limit is slightly lower at five grams possession, but you can have up to ten plants. Much of Europe is largely liberal when it comes to cannabis legislation. In Croatia, if you are caught selling cannabis or cannabis products, you will face a mandatory prison sentence of three years, so you should definitely avoid doing that in the country, but if you are only in possession of a small amount of cannabis, the worst that you can face is a light fine. In the Czech Republic, you can have up to 15 grams for personal use without facing any criminal penalties, however, medical use has also been legalized and regulated since 2013. In Italy, personal use of cannabis only gets you a misdemeanor, but sale of cannabis and cannabis products can get you some jail time.
In the Netherlands, cannabis smoking is completely legal in designated areas – these are the “coffee shops” that have come to be famous worldwide. However, using cannabis outside of designated areas or transporting the drug can land you some time. You might remember that back in 2001, Portugal legalized all drugs, making it a country alone in its class. You can have up to 25 grams of cannabis on your person at any time in the country, which is almost a full pound. In Spain, you can grow and smoke cannabis within your own home, and it has mirrored the “coffee shop” style public smoking stance that the Netherlands has had for years. Switzerland has decided to elevate their quality of life by allowing its citizens to grow up to four cannabis plants legally within their borders.
To complete the worldwide circuit, cannabis faces lax consequences in two areas of the Caribbean. One of these areas is Jamaica, which surprisingly enough, has not had legal cannabis in any capacity since its inception. Instead, decriminalization of cannabis is a fairly recent phenomenon in the country. Adults can have up to two ounces of cannabis for recreational use or up to five plants in their possession for religious purposes. In Costa Rica, their widespread policy is that of decriminalization, where you are unlikely to be met with any sort of consequence for possession or use of cannabis.
As you can see, worldwide attitudes toward cannabis usage are definitely seeing a shift towards acceptance, with a list of thirty places that you can reasonably light up in behind us in this article. This certainly widens the playing field for the cannabis savvy tourist out there!