Comparing Countries on Cannabis Legislation: Who Does What?

Different laws on cannabis in different countries

Image credit: Lonely Planet on Unsplash

All around the world in recent months, cannabis has been a hot topic in the media, medical, food, beauty and various other industries This is because studies are now proving the medical cannabis holds the potential to treat a range of medical conditions, mental and physical while also having the potential to improve and maintain a healthy lifestyle. The only issue regarding cannabis is the fact that it’s not legal. In fact, many, if not most countries classify cannabis as a schedule 1 drug, (an A class drug or in the UK).

Although science has proven that cannabis has many great healing properties such as anti-inflammatories and antibacterials, research on the drug is very limited due to scientific laboratories being unable to carry out enough studies since it’s difficult to get their hands on the drug due to the high rating of The Controlled Substances Act (CSA) list of drugs.

Due to the lack of research and study on the cannabis plant, governments in the past have said that the drug isn’t beneficial and that the side effects are unknown. Therefore it can’t be legalized, However, many countries are now taking control and making baby steps into legalizing medical cannabis (and some even for recreational purposes). However, most countries would more than likely legalize the drug for medicinal purposes only.

Canada and Cannabis Legalization

The Canadian Government legalized medical cannabis used back in 2001. For 2 years, Justin Trudeau’s Government fought to legalize recreational marijuana/cannabis. The country’s parliament passed a law legalizing the drug from recreational purposes on Tuesday, the 19th of June 2018. (as cannabis is already legal for medicinal purposes in the country).

Canada is set for marijuana to become recreationally legal, nationwide (the second country to achieve this – In 2014, Uruguay was the first country to ever legalize cannabis for medical and recreational purposes). But for now, recreational marijuana will still remain illegal until October 17, 2018 (except with a physician’s prescription, for medical purposes).

Canada, along with the Netherlands, (and soon Israel and Australia) are/and will be the countries that can legally export medical cannabis.

United Kingdom and Cannabis Legalization

Theresa May, the prime minister of the United Kingdom has been forced by the UK population to view and confront the issues regarding the UK’s drug legislation. This has risen due to two cases where children who have severe medical conditions were denied their treatment of medical cannabis which has been used to save their lives. Jeremy Hunt British Conservative Party politician and Cabinet Minister serving as the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care stated that “the government has not got the law right on cannabis”. William Hague the former leader of the Conservative Party has admitted that the British government is extremely behind and out of date and that they are in need of looking at Canada as an example for their future.

The labour party in Britain are supporting the legalization of Cannabis within the country, and as a result, they are now making an apparent advancement on the change in legislation of the cannabis drug for the first time since it went from a C class drug, up to a B class schedule drug.

The UK and France are amongst the strictest countries when it comes to their drug legislation, and countries like Portugal, Spain, Norway, Sweden, United States, Netherlands, and Uruguay have all legalized and regulated marijuana for either medical use only or both recreational marijuana and medical. Their laws on marijuana differ from the amount of marijuana you can have on a person, and whether you can grow a cannabis plant, etc.

List of Countries Where Cannabis is Legal Recreationally

Name of Country Description
Canada It’s also partially decriminalized.
India Some states in Indian have fully legalized cannabis while others still rate cannabis as an illegal substance..
Uruguay This was the first country to ever legal cannabis for medical and recreational purposes (2013)

List of Countries Where Cannabis is Legal for Medical Purposes

Name of Country Description
Australia It’s also partially decriminalized.
Chile Medical cannabis in Chile can only be sold through doctor’s prescription. Cultivation of cannabis is also legal here.
Colombia It’s also decriminalized.
Croatia Cannabis can only be supplied for certain medical conditions such as AIDS/HIV, Multiple Sclerosis (MS), and cancer.
Germany Germany important medical cannabis from Canada. It’s alo decriminalized.
Israel This is where a lot of research on cannabis is carried out. Medical cannabis can be purchased by eight different cannabis producers if they have a medical prescription.
Italy Since 2013, Italy legalized medical cannabis however it is very limited and in the hands of a military operation in a pharmaceutical plant based in Florence.
Macedonia Medical cannabis was made legal in Macedonia in 2016.
Mexico Since 2018, Mexico legalized cannabis for medical purposes where the Health Department regulates and controls the drug.
Philippines in March 2018, there was a nationwide vote to pass the House Bill 180 which allowed the use of medical cannabis. All forms of medical cannabis use is allowed here.
Puerto Rico Medical cannabis was legalized in 2015 and cannabis sales from dispensaries started in 2018.
Turkey Medical uses of the cannabis plant was legalized in October 2016.

List of Countries Where Cannabis is Partially Legal for Medical Purposes

Name of Country Description
Argentina Medical cannabis is legal if it is used to treat epilepsy.
Jamaica An amendment was made back in 2015 on the Dangerous Drugs Act which allowed cannabis for religious and medical purposes.
Poland Medical cannabis products are imported to Poland from various countries. However it still remains illegal.
Niamh Tumilty
Niamh Tumilty
Niamh Tumilty is a writer and multimedia producer for cannabisMD where she is constantly evaluating the continued growth of CBD and its presence in the news. Her research and writing on cannabis and CBD can be found at

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