The legalization of cannabis is a highly discussed topic shared by many countries around the world. In recent years, more and more countries have moved to make cannabis medically available, or have moved to decriminalize or legalize the plant. It seems like every time you turn around, there are new rules and regulations in place. With that in mind, let’s take a look at cannabis on each continent around the globe.
South Africa is the only country on the continent to fully legalize cannabis, while five other African nations have given the green light for medical use; Malawi, Morocco, Rwanda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
We spoke with Moses Flickinger, founder and CEO of Africaliculture, an international cannabis cultivation and transportation brand with roots in Africa and California. Flickinger said, “This plant has been used as traditional medicine for years among African people…Legalization of cannabis in Africa needs to be left to Africans so we can rebuild Africa without the foreign interest,” he told Emerald, “I pray we see it happen.”
Because Antarctica is split between different nations, each with research stations and outposts, it’s up to those countries to decide whether or not they allow the consumption of cannabis.
In 2019, Vice Media published an article noting that while Antarctica doesn’t have any-single government, cannabis use in an unclaimed territory is allowed. So if you’re hailing from a nation that has legalized cannabis, it’s safe to say you can go for it while visiting Antarctica!
According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, Australia legalized the use of medical cannabis in the 2016 National Drugs Amendment. Recreational cannabis however is still not legalized, and is considered an illicit drug.
Medical and recreational use of cannabis is very limited in Asia. However, Forbes reported that Thailand became the first country in the continent to decriminalize cannabis consumption.
Sri Lanka also allows for the medical use of cannabis, according to Sensi Seeds, but recreational use remains illegal.
European governments are divided when it comes to cannabis legalization, but the people have spoken. In a recent Bloomberg article, they mention a European study where half of those surveyed were in support of legalization. Bloomberg also mentioned that Germany’s Coalition Party had promised legalization to the nation while campaigning. German news outlet, DW.com, posted a video highlighting legalization, and mentioned that the country could make billions in taxes, and, “..dry out the black market.”
The Dutch website, Herbonaut, provides a map that shows European nations and their legal status. Currently, 19 countries remain illegal, while 18 nations provide medical access. Spain permits consumption in personal spaces, while neighboring Portugal has notoriously “decriminalized the public and private use, acquisition, and possession of all drugs,” according to Substance Abuse Treatment, Prevention, and Policy.
Uruguay has been monumental in its push for global cannabis change. According to the Wilson Center, the country decriminalized the plant in 1974, and in 2013 Uruguay became the first nation in South America to fully legalize cannabis for recreational use.
The Cannigma, a web-based resource that takes an evidence-based approach to topics surrounding cannabis, provided a map that shows which countries have legalized cannabis for medical and recreational use. Six of the countries remain illegal, seven offer medical access, and five are decriminalized for recreational use; Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador and Paraguay.
Since 2001, Canada has allowed medical access to cannabis. In 2018, the country opened its doors to recreational use.
Last June, recreational cannabis use was decriminalized in Mexico following the country’s supreme court ruling.
While the country remains overall federally illegal, the majority of states have granted access to medical or recreational cannabis, with only four states keeping the plant illegal.
In a map provided by DISA, the group outlines each state and their current status.
While the laws surrounding cannabis are still mixed around the world, arm yourself with knowledge before traveling. After all, it’s much safer to know where you stand beforehand, than it is to ask for forgiveness if you’re locked up abroad!