In a crowd-pleasing announcement that also raised the minimum wage, granted 2 additional paid days off, and made public transit free, the country of Luxembourg became one of the latest countries with legal cannabis. The change was announced on November 29th, 2018, making them the first country in the EU to officially legalize.
Representatives of Luxembourg stated that its objectives in joining other countries with legal cannabis are to remove consumers from the black market, reduce “psychological and physical harms,” and reduce criminal activity at the supply level. This action and reasoning could have substantial effects for Europe’s cannabis laws as Luxembourg borders France, Belgium, and Germany and attitudes towards the plant have been evolving there for some time. It will be interesting to see who joins in! To date, other European countries like the Czech Republic and Portugal have simply either tolerated cannabis use or have decriminalized it for some time.
Other Countries With Legal Cannabis
Luxembourg isn’t alone in legalization—it’s actually the third to join the list of countries with legal cannabis. Uruguay is the OG pioneer, legalizing cultivation in 2014 and sales in 2017. Canada recently legalized recreational cannabis in October of 2018, though medical use has been permitted since 2001.
These three may be the only ones who’ve fully legalized, but many other countries around the world are friendly—or friendly-ish—towards adult cannabis use. So far, more than 20 countries and territories have legalized or decriminalized cannabis for medical and/or adult use.
Jamaica has been the target of stoner jokes since forever, though they actually only recently decriminalized the plant. But in 2015 they did the job right – having up to 2 ounces of cannabis there will now land you a maximum fine of about $5. It’s also the first country to specify that cannabis for religious purposes is legal; a sign of progress for the Rastafari, who were persecuted in the country for decades.
In Argentina, cannabis has been decriminalized since 2009; as long as it’s used in private and in smaller amounts. Medical cannabis has been legal in its Chubut and Santa Fe Provinces since late 2016. The country also approved the use of CBD cannabis oil in 2017. Additionally, they give out free medical cannabis to qualifying citizens. Bravo, Argentina! There are other countries where it is partially legalized, similar to the US, like in parts of India; where it’s often called ‘ganja’ and is consumed in a milkshake-like drink called ‘bhang.’
You might be wondering about the Netherlands and their legendary coffee shops, but it’s actually still technically illegal there. The illegality goes unenforced under a policy charmingly called, ‘gedoogbeleid,’ which means ‘tolerance policy.’ Similarly, it’s illegal in Laos and Cambodia, yet visitors will often see a “happy” notation in food menus, signifying a dish is infused with cannabis. (Or another intoxicating treat, it’s always wise to ask…)
And, of course, there are countries where it’s flat-out not worth the risk; like in Singapore, where carrying 500 grams of cannabis will get you executed. So no matter where you’re heading, be sure that you’re aware of the local cannabis laws and customs before toking up.