The Legality of Cannabis Internationally

The Legality of Cannabis Internationally

The cannabis industry is showing no signs of slowing down. Recently, Thailand became the latest country to decriminalize weed, making it the first Asian country to do so. However, this doesn’t mean you are at liberty to smoke cannabis when touring the scenic state. Anutin Charnvirakul, Thailand’s health minister, made it clear that tourists shouldn’t expect to smoke marijuana freely while in the country. 

Although the cannabis sector is booming, the looming recession has elicited a mixed reaction from consumers and investors. It’s still unclear how the industry will react to the impact of a recession. Nevertheless, considering it weathered the storm of tough economic times during COVID 19, many remain hopeful even as the looming recession approaches.

Navigating the laws surrounding cannabis can be confusing, considering that state by state cannabis legalization is quite different. Before we take a deep dive and look at what countries is weed legal in, you have to understand some commonly used terms that are a bit technical. 

For instance, “decriminalized” doesn’t mean legal, even though many perceive it as so. Regarding medical marijuana, countries where cannabis is legal may not permit recreational cannabis. These are some of the things you should be aware of to avoid finding yourself on the wrong side of the law. 

The list of countries that are legalizing marijuana is growing fast. Let’s take a closer look at cannabis legalization and where is weed legal in the world.

Weed Legalized Countries

Currently, several countries are reaping the benefits of the cannabis industry. Not only has the sector created employment, but it has also enabled nations to gain substantial revenue. Here are some of the countries that legalized marijuana.

Which Countries Legalized Weed


Uruguay became the first country to legalize cannabis back in 2013. According to Uruguayan law, residents and citizens who are 18 years and above are allowed to grow their own cannabis. They also have a monthly purchasing limit of 40 grams of cannabis from an authorized pharmacy. Nonetheless, the marijuana being purchased has to be part of the government registry. Cannabis is legal for medicinal and recreational purposes in the country. 


Marijuana first became legal in Canada in 2001, mainly for medicinal purposes. Almost two decades later, the country permitted the use of recreational cannabis under the Cannabis Act in 2018. These laws allowed adults aged 18 years and above to possess and share 30 grams of marijuana, grow up to 4 plants per household for personal use, and make cannabis products as long as organic solvents aren’t used to create concentrated products. 

Travelers who meet the minimum age requirement of the territory or province may possess up to 30 grams of dried cannabis. However, you should keep in mind that transporting cannabis products across the Canadian border is still illegal. This also applies even if you’re authorized to use marijuana for medicinal purposes. Therefore, ensure you declare any form of cannabis to the Canada Border Service Agency when entering the country. 


The United States is quite different from other legal marijuana countries. This is due to the complexity of the state and federal laws. Although several states have legalized cannabis, it is still illegal at a federal level. 

Some of the states where cannabis is legal include Colorado, California, New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Nevada, among others. In total, there are 19 states and Washington D.C that have legalized recreational cannabis. On the other hand, 38 states and D.C have legalized medicinal marijuana. 

Recently, several states have passed a number of cannabis reform measures. If this trend continues, federal cannabis legalization could soon be realized. 


Cannabis isn’t legal in the Netherlands; however, it is decriminalized. This is usually contrary to what most people think. It’s against the law to produce, possess, or sell both hard and soft drugs in the country. Still, specific coffee shops are allowed to sell marijuana under the Dutch policy of toleration

Countries Legalizing Weed

Having seen where weed is legal in the world, here’s what you need to know about the countries to legalize weed in the near future. Although the European market provides a tantalizing market for stakeholders and international companies interested in the recreational market, the legal framework is quite fragmented. 

Nevertheless, several countries are in the process of restructuring their cannabis policy reform. Some of these countries have a long history of legalization advocacy.

Access to medical cannabis in Europe played a massive role in highlighting the medicinal benefit of the plant. Medical marijuana is a market that has become well established in most European nations. However, law implementations still struggle to find the best way of meeting the demands.  

The medical cannabis market has catalyzed the adoption of the recreational sector in various European countries. Following Malta’s move to legalize cannabis, Germany is looking to make a similar step under the new coalition government. Since the entrance of cannabis legalization in the new government’s politics, many believe that Germany will be the next European country to follow suit. 

Apart from Germany, other countries likely to take a similar action include Luxemburg, Italy, Portugal, and Switzerland, among others. Still, due to differences in the political landscape, the implementation of cannabis laws will vary depending on individual countries. 

Bottom line

The global legalization of weed has brought many opportunities to different economies. Countries that have legalized marijuana have benefited substantially from the revenue earned through the cannabis industry. Many are now waiting to see the country that will join the cannabis legalization bandwagon. 

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