Where is Cannabis Legal in 2020?

DISCLAIMER: THIS ARTICLE IS PROVIDED FOR INFORMATION PURPOSES ONLY AND IS NOT INTENDED AS LEGAL ADVICE. CHECK WITH YOUR LOCAL AND FEDERAL GOVERNMENT REGULATIONS FOR COMPREHENSIVE GUIDANCE.

Cannabis legalization is a complicated beast. But it is—slowly—making its way around the world via varying degrees of restriction. We’re talking regulations on medicinal use, recreational use, possession, distribution, and commercial sale.

Is marijuana legal in your country or state? Here’s a snapshot of where the use of cannabis is legal, decriminalized, and illegal worldwide in 2020.


6 Countries Where Recreational Cannabis Use is Legal

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While personal use is legal in these places, there are still restrictions. These include the number of plants you can legally cultivate, the amount you can possess for personal use, the minimum age, and sometimes even the location you consume your herb.

- Australia (Australian Capital Territory only)

- Canada

- Netherlands (licence coffeeshops only)

- South Africa

- Georgia

- Uruguay

Pending: In October 2020, New Zealand is undergoing a referendum to legalize cannabis for recreational use.

11 US States Where Recreational Cannabis Use is Legal

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Strange one this. In the US, you can use cannabis recreationally at the state level, but it’s illegal at the federal level, so you can still be prosecuted. In reality, federal prosecutions of low-level marijuana offenses are extremely rare. They’ve just got bigger fish to fry.

- Alaska

- California

- Colorado

- Illinois

- Maine

- Massachusetts

- Michigan

- Nevada

- Oregon

- Vermont

- Washington

34 Countries Where Recreational Cannabis Use is Decriminalized

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Decriminalization means you can’t be arrested, serve prison time, or get a criminal record for the first-time possession of a small amount of cannabis for personal use. The amount ranges from 3—50g (0.1—1.75oz) of dry herb, depending on your country.

- Antigua and Barbuda

- Argentina

- Australia (Northern Territory and South Australia only)

- Austria

- Barbados (Registered Rastafarians only)

- Belgium

- Belize

- Bermuda

- Bolivia

- Chile

- Colombia

- Costa Rica

- Croatia

- Czech Republic

- Ecuador

- Estonia

- India (as Bhang only)

- Israel

- Italy

- Jamaica

- Luxembourg

- Malta

- Mexico (de facto ruling)

- Moldova

- Netherlands

- Paraguay

- Peru

- Portugal

- Saint Kitts and Nevis

- Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

- Slovenia

- Spain (private areas only)

- Switzerland

- Trinidad and Tobago

55 Countries Where Medical Cannabis Use is Legal

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Many governments are a lot more willing to support the use of cannabis for medical conditions than recreational use.

This means physicians can prescribe medicinal cannabis (or sometimes just its derivatives) for a range of symptoms, including nausea and vomiting during chemotherapy, loss of appetite in HIV/AIDS, chronic pain, muscle spasms, and severe epilepsy.

However, restrictions still apply, depending on the medical condition. For instance, in some places, medicinal cannabis is legal to treat the symptoms of Crohn’s disease and PTSD, while other rulemakers say these conditions don’t qualify.

- Argentina

- Australia

- Barbados

- Belgium (cannabis-derived drugs)

- Bermuda

- Brazil

- Canada

- Chile

- Colombia

- Croatia

- Cyprus

- Czech Republic

- Denmark

- Ecuador

- Estonia (special permit)

- Finland

- France (cannabis-derived drugs)

- Georgia

- Germany

- Ghana (less than 0.3% THC)

- Greece

- Ireland

- Israel

- Italy

- Jamaica

- Lebanon

- Lithuania

- Luxembourg

- Malawi

- Malta

- Mexico (less than 1% THC)

- Netherlands

- New Zealand

- North Macedonia

- Norway

- Pakistan (CBD only)

- Peru

- Poland

- Portugal

- Romania (less than 0.2% THC)

- Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

- Slovenia (cannabis-derived drugs)

- South Africa

- South Korea (limited brands)

- Spain (cannabis-derived drugs)

- Sri Lanka

- Switzerland

- Thailand

- Turkey (cannabis-derived drugs)

- United Kingdom

- United States (some states only, not at the federal level)

- Uruguay

- Vanuatu

- Zambia

- Zimbabwe

33 US States Where Medicinal Cannabis Use is Legal

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Again, each individual state has different rules about which medical conditions qualify for medicinal cannabis on prescription.

Across the board, all states where medicinal cannabis is legal support it to treat symptoms of cancer, epilepsy, HIV/AIDS, and multiple sclerosis. The hottest areas of contention are Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and autism.

- Alaska

- Arizona

- Arkansas

- California

- Colorado

- Connecticut

- Delaware

- Florida

- Hawaii

- Illinois

- Louisiana

- Maine

- Maryland

- Massachusetts

- Michigan

- Minnesota

- Missouri

- Montana

- Nevada

- New Hampshire

- New Jersey

- New Mexico

- New York

- North Dakota

- Ohio

- Oklahoma

- Oregon

- Pennsylvania

- Rhode Island

- Utah

- Vermont

- Washington

- West Virginia

135 Countries Where Both Recreational and Medical Cannabis Use is Illegal

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Many countries are still to address the issue of cannabis legalization, decriminalization, and even medicinal use. Even in 2020, while some are inching towards the prospect, others are turning a blind eye altogether.

- Afghanistan

- Albania

- Algeria

- Andorra

- Angola

- Armenia

- Azerbaijan

- Bahamas

- Bahrain

- Bangladesh

- Belarus

- Benin

- Bhutan

- Bosnia and Herzegovina

- Botswana

- Brunei

- Bulgaria

- Burkina Faso

- Burundi

- Cambodia

- Cameroon

- Cape Verde

- Central African Republic

- Chad

- People’s Republic of China

- Comoros

- Democratic Republic of the Congo

- Republic of The Congo

- Cuba

- Djibouti

- Dominica

- Dominican Republic

- East Timor

- Egypt

- El Salvador

- Equatorial Guinea

- Eritrea

- Eswatini (Swaziland)

- Ethiopia

- Fiji

- Gabon

- Gambia

- Ghana

- Greenland

- Grenada

- Guatemala

- Guinea

- Guinea-Bissau

- Guyana

- Haiti

- Honduras

- Hong Kong

- Hungary

- Iceland

- Indonesia

- Iran

- Iraq

- Ivory Coast

- Japan

- Jordan

- Kazakhstan

- Kenya

- Kiribati

- Kosovo

- Kuwait

- Kyrgyzstan

- Laos

- Latvia

- Lesotho

- Liberia

- Libya

- Liechtenstein

- Macau

- Madagascar

- Malaysia

- Maldives

- Mali

- Marshall Islands

- Mauritania

- Mauritius

- Micronesia

- Monaco

- Mongolia

- Montenegro

- Morocco

- Mozambique

- Myanmar

- Namibia

- Nepal (but allowed during Maha Shivaratri)

- Nicaragua

- Niger

- Nigeria

- Oman

- Palau

- Panama

- Papua New Guinea

- Philippines

- Qatar

- Russia

- Rwanda

- Saint Lucia

- Samoa

- Sao Tome and Principe

- Saudi Arabia

- Senegal

- Serbia

- Seychelles

- Sierra Leone

- Singapore

- Slovakia

- Solomon Islands

- Somalia

- South Sudan

- Sudan

- Suriname

- Sweden

- Syria

- Taiwan

- Tajikistan

- Tanzania

- Togo

- Tonga

- Tunisia

- Turkmenistan

- Tuvalu

- Uganda

- Ukraine

- United Arab Emirates

- United States (federal and some states)

- Uzbekistan

- Vatican City

- Venezuela

- Vietnam

- Western Sahara

- Yemen

Final Thoughts

We hope this gives you an overview of the state of cannabis legalization around the world in 2020. Before you consume any cannabis or cannabis-derivative, we strongly recommend you check out the regulations specific to your region.

If you’re in Canada like us, you can check out this detailed government guidance on the rules and limitations for personal use. And remember that each Canadian province and territory also has its own laws... 

We did warn you—cannabis legalization is a complicated beast!