Cannabis in Europe: main laws, legal status, punishments

According to the statistics of the studies into marijuana use in Europe, 1% of the population of the European countries are regular cannabis consumers and as many as 1 in 8 young Europeans consume weed in the past year. Such figures make a revolution for cannabis use in different countries.

If you’re curious about marijuana laws in Europe then this article is what you MUST read to the end. Here we’ll observe the countries around Spain and their cannabis laws, what sort of cannabis is controlled, what extent of weed is allowed, what punishments are applied, and other crucial aspects and nuances described.

Where is weed legal in Europe?

Before we start observing the laws and to make things clear, let’s define the main terms used for the legal status of cannabis in Europe and the rest of the world.

  • Legalization is a process of lifting or canceling laws that prohibit the possession and/or personal use of weed. In this case, marijuana use and sales are regulated and taxed by the government.
  • Decriminalization is the process of loosening the criminal penalties, reclassification of an offense from criminal to non-criminal. In this case, the production and sale of weed remain illegal and unregulated by the state. Also, the criminal charges are replaced by civil fines when possessing a small amount of weed for personal consumption.
  • Depenalization means that the usage and possession of cannabis materials and/or products remain a criminal offense, but without a punishment applied.

So, let’s check the most comprehensive table of European countries where weed is legal, illegal, or decriminalized with all the main laws, nuances, and aspects described and explained.

The differences of cannabis clubs worldwide   Read full article

Germany 🇩🇪

Cannabis legal status: illegal, partly depenalized
Marijuana laws: since May 4, 2016 cannabis has been legalized for seriously ill patients with “no therapeutic alternative” available. Therefore, it’s permitted for medical purposes. As of March 2017, a doctor’s prescription gives the green light to green weed. Besides, it’ll be paid for by health insurance
Medical use: legal
Recreational use: being restricted and illegal, possession of “small amounts” is occasionally tolerated plus in this case prosecution is optional under the federal law
Weed extent allowed: up to 6 g of weed in most states; up to 15 g of cannabis in Berlin

United Kingdom 🇬🇧

Cannabis legal status: low-THC CBD products are legal
Marijuana laws: in case you’re found with weed, police can issue a warning or an on-the-spot fine of £90. It’s legal to use and/or sell CBD oil without a doctor’s prescription, BUT ONLY if these medications contain no more than 0.2% THC
Medical use: legal
Recreational use: though the prohibition of recreational use of cannabis, no prosecution but warning and/or fine will be charged to you for simple possession
Weed extent allowed: N/A

France 🇫🇷

Cannabis legal status: illegal
Marijuana laws: some cannabinoid drugs were legalized in 2013 for medical use. From November 2018, the possession will be subject to a fine of 200 EUR. In September 2018, the experimentation on therapeutic cannabis was started by the ANSM to evaluate a new public policy and distribution network for such specific diseases as epilepsy, neuropathic pain as well as to treat side effects of chemotherapy. The first test should start in September 2020 and it’ll last 2 years
Medical use: some cannabis-derived drugs
Recreational use: illegal
Weed extent allowed: 0 g

Italy 🇮🇹

Cannabis legal status: decriminalized/legalized
Marijuana laws: it is permitted to sell cannabis which THC content doesn’t exceed or lower than 0.2% for medical use (marijuana light). Yet, the government strictly regulates and controls the licensed cultivation for medicinal and industrial use. The consumption of any weed materials and in any way is restricted by the law. What’s more, the possession of small amounts for personal consumption is considered as a misdemeanor. That’s why it can result in fines and/or the suspension of documents like ID, passports, driver’s licenses, etc. Sale is punishable by imprisonment, even if in small amounts.Thus, all the cannabis products sold in the shops are marketed as “collector’s items”
Medical use: it’s allowed to get weed in case of some specific conditions and diagnoses like glaucoma, spasticity, reduced appetite due to AIDS, Tourette’s syndrome, and other licensed issues. Therefore, cannabis can be prescribed by the doctor as a “symptomatic treatment supporting standard treatment”
Recreational use: it’s legal to cultivate cannabis in small amounts for personal use. What’s more, the possession is decriminalized
Weed extent allowed: N/A

Spain 🇪🇸

Cannabis legal status: decriminalized/legalized
Marijuana laws: you can face a jail term for cannabis trafficking, import, sale, or cultivation for sale. Yet, if it’s for own consumption with a small amount involved, then the actions aren’t considered criminal offenses. However, at the same time, misdemeanors are punishable by a fine. Thus, cannabis is prohibited for commercial use and regulated for personal use. Currently, you’re allowed to cultivate the weed for your own consumption and in private places only (the plant may not be seen from public spaces, street, etc.), including Cannabis Social Clubs
Medical use: it’s allowed to use limited cannabis-derived pharmaceuticals
Recreational use: if it comes to the private areas and for own consumption, then the possession, cultivation, and use of cannabis is permitted by the law. Yet, a fine from 501 € up to 30,000 € can be issued for the public consumption and/or possession.
Weed extent allowed: N/A

Legal status of cannabis in Barcelona   Read full article

Ukraine 🇺🇦

Cannabis legal status: illegal
Marijuana laws: you’re administratively liable for cultivation of 10 plants or possession of up to 5 g of cannabis. Though it’s considered more an administrative violation, rather than a criminal offense, however, you should be ready that it’s still possible to face detention for up to 15 days
Medical use: illegal
Recreational use: illegal
Weed extent allowed: 0 g

Poland 🇵🇱

Cannabis legal status: decriminalized
Marijuana laws: since 2011, the liability for possession of small quantities of cannabis has been loosened a little bit. Thus, if it’s the first offense, for personal use, the person is drug dependent, then the prosecutors can choose not to prosecute. The punishment of up to 10 years of jail time can be issued for the possession of large quantities of weed
Medical use: legal
Recreational use: it’s forbidden, but sometimes not enforced for small amounts and it’s considered to be legal for the materials with the THC content below 0.2%
Weed extent allowed: 0 g

Romania 🇷🇴

Cannabis legal status: decriminalization proposed
Marijuana laws: in case the small quantity of cannabis was found for the first time, then it can be punishable by a large fine. You can face from 6 months up to 2 years of the jail term in case you’ve been convicted before. The punishment by 2-7 years in prison can be issued for the possession of large amounts of cannabis materials or trafficking
Medical use: limited medical use approved in 2013. That’s why you can be prescribed some cannabis-derived drugs with the THC level less than 0.2%
Recreational use: illegal
Weed extent allowed: 0 g

Netherlands 🇳🇱

Cannabis legal status: decriminalized/legalized
Marijuana laws: the sell and possession for personal use is available only in certain licensed coffee shops. You have the right to cultivate one plant, yet the equipment and plants can be confiscated in case the misdemeanors are detected. That will also result in eviction, cancellation of the mortgage for one single plant
Medical use: legal
Recreational use: it’s tolerated to consume, sell and get cannabis materials in licensed coffee shops. Also, if the police find up to 5 g of cannabis, no punishment will be issued. However, in case such an amount is found within the car check near the border, it can be confiscated. It’s also permitted to cultivate one plant for personal use, and cultivation of up to 5 plants is unenforced for non-commercial use but the coffeeshops
Weed extent allowed: up to 5 grams for personal use is decriminalized

Belgium 🇧🇪

Cannabis legal status: decriminalized
Marijuana laws: the large-scale production, distribution, and trade of cannabis is prohibited. Yet,  since 2015 it’s legalized for.medical purposes and from 2019 it’s decriminalized for personal usage and cultivation. It’s forfeited for the first possession of over 3g by a fine of up to 200 €
Medical use: cannabis-derived drugs
Recreational use: up to 3 g are legal for adults since 2003 or cultivation of one plant
Weed extent allowed: 3 g of cannabis materials; 1 plant for cultivation

Czech Republic 🇨🇿

Cannabis legal status: decriminalized
Marijuana laws: since 2003, medical use of cannabis is legalized and regulated by the government. Also, in most cases possession of small amounts of cannabis is issued a minor fine and mostly not enforced. Yet, a fine can reach up to 15,000 CZK
Medical use: legal
Recreational use: the possession of up to 10 g of weed as well as cultivation of 5 plants for personal use are decriminalized
Weed extent allowed: up to 10 g of cannabis materials; up to 5 plants to cultivate

Greece 🇬🇷

Cannabis legal status: illegal
Marijuana laws: as a matter of law of March 2018, the cultivation along with production of medical weed is legalized. However, pay attention, that the law hasn’t yet come into effect
Medical use: legal
Recreational use: illegal
Weed extent allowed: N/A

Portugal 🇵🇹

Cannabis legal status: decriminalized/legalized
Marijuana laws: it’s the very first place where the use of all drugs was decriminalized in 2001, including the possession of cannabis materials. It means that personal amounts of the cannabis or a 10-day supply won’t result in any penalties in case it’s a first-time offense. Yet, all the further offenses will be issued to civil penalties or mandated treatment
Medical use: legal
Recreational use: You can possess up to 25 g of herb materials or 5 g of hashish legally
Weed extent allowed: up to 25 g of pant materialsup to 5 g of hashish

Sweden 🇸🇪

Cannabis legal status: illegal
Marijuana laws: there is a “zero tolerance” policy to all cannabis-related activity. Thus, it’s absolutely illegal from possession to consumption of the materials
Medical use: illegal
Recreational use: illegal
Weed extent allowed: 0 g

Hungary 🇭🇺

Cannabis legal status: illegal
Marijuana laws: the possession and use of any drugs, including the marijuana is forbidden. Thus, you can face from 2 up to 15 years of imprisonment for possession of the drugs (depending on the amount and drug type). The small amount is: law – 5 plants, 1 g of marijuana active substance; street possession – 12-100 g of cannabis or 30-100 g of hashish
Medical use: illegal
Recreational use: illegal
Weed extent allowed: 0 g

Belarus 🇧🇾

Cannabis legal status: illegal
Marijuana laws: cultivation and possession of cannabis is banned totally
Medical use: illegal
Recreational use: illegal
Weed extent allowed: 0 g

Austria 🇦🇹

Cannabis legal status: decriminalized
Marijuana laws: since 2008, the medical and scientific use and cultivation of cannabis was legalized and regulated. As of January 1, 2016, weed is decriminalized, meaning that criminal penalties for personal possession of cannabis were almost removed
Medical use: cannabis-derived drugs
Recreational use: since January 2016, possession of cannabis for personal use is decriminalized
Weed extent allowed: 0 g

Serbia 🇷🇸

Cannabis legal status: illegal
Marijuana laws: any cannabis activities are forbidden and punishable. In case the possession was detected then you can face the punishment by fine or imprisonment of up to 3 years. The sale and transportation of cannabis materials are subject to imprisonment of 3–12 years. Cultivation can result in from 6 months to 5 years of jail time. Organized crime is an issue for higher penalties
Medical use: illegal
Recreational use: illegal
Weed extent allowed: 0 g

Switzerland 🇨🇭

Cannabis legal status: decriminalized
Marijuana laws: since 28 September 2012, if you possess less than 10 grams of cannabis, then it is not considered as a criminal infringement. However, in such a case you’ll be punished by a 100 Swiss francs flat fine. Note that all the cannabis materials with THC level higher than 1% are classified as an illegal drug. Yet, since 2017, “low-THC weed” that contains less than 1% of THC is legal and is sold at nearly every tobacco store. As of March 2019, there are some taxation schemes upheld by Swiss Federal Administrative Court
Medical use: legal
Recreational use: legal for materials that contain THC below 1.0%
Weed extent allowed: 0 g

Bulgaria 🇧🇬

Cannabis legal status: illegal
Marijuana laws: cannabis is prohibited and classified as a class A (High-risk) drug. Possession of even a small quantity of weed materials lead to the penalty from 1 to 6 years jail term along with a fine between 1,000 and 5,000 €. You can face such a punishment even for a single joint possessed
Medical use: illegal
Recreational use: illegal
Weed extent allowed: 0 g

Denmark 🇩🇰

Cannabis legal status: decriminalized
Marijuana laws: cannabis along with all other drugs are considered as offenses that are punishable by a fine or even up to 2 years of jail term. The penalty for small amounts of cannabis of up to 9.9 g for personal use detected is a fine of 2,000 kr, when larger quantities of over 100 g lead to a prison sentence. Driving under the influence of weed is unlawful and restricted. In case the smallest amounts of THC in a blood sample detected will lead to a fine as well as conditional/unconditional loss of the driver’s license. Yet, the penalty for drug driving will depend on the dose of THC determined in the blood
Medical use: since January 2018, it has been legal according to a 4-year pilot program
Recreational use: illegal
Weed extent allowed: 0 g

Slovakia 🇸🇰

Cannabis legal status: illegal, CBD is going to be legalized
Marijuana laws: cannabis is illegal and, thus, there is a penalty to face for possession of small amounts of weed for up to 8 years of the jail time. Since April 2012, the cannabis status has been processed for the legalization of possession of up to 3 doses of marijuana for personal use. The main idea is to drop CBD from the list of psychotropic substances as being harmless and not causing dependence. The law should come into effect on 1 January 2020, yet, the status is unknown
Medical use: illegal
Recreational use: illegal
Weed extent allowed: 0 g

Finland 🇫🇮

Cannabis legal status: decriminalized
Marijuana laws: currently, cannabis is illegal and according to the 50th chapter of the Criminal Code, all dealings with illegal drugs like cultivation, production, sale, possession, use, import of cannabis is criminalized. Yet, in 2019, the process of decriminalization was sent to the parliament where it will be processed in the 2019–2023 session. Generally, personal use of cannabis materials is not prosecuted in court but results in a fine. Since 2006, medicinal cannabis has been permitted under a special license
Medical use: it’s legal under the license only
Recreational use: it’s illegal but sometimes unenforced. It’s waiting to be decriminalized
Weed extent allowed: 0 g

Norway 🇳🇴

Cannabis legal status: illegal, but can be decriminalized shortly
Marijuana laws: now the status of cannabis is on redetermination and it can be decriminalized. So, it can happen that very soon all sanctions for possession and use of up to 15 g of cannabis will be cancelled. Today, 15 g of materials can be subject to heavy fines and loss of the driver’s license. Since November 2016, the wed use is legal for medical purposes, being strictly regulated
Medical use: legal
Recreational use: currently cannabis materials are illegal, but the government has declared intention to decriminalize it for recreational use
Weed extent allowed: 0 g

Ireland 🇮🇪

Cannabis legal status: illegal
Marijuana laws: currently, only medical use is legal under certain circumstances (since December 2016). The penalty for use and possession of cannabis is a fine from 381 € up to 1269 €
Medical use: legal but only after the case-by-case approval by the Minister for Health
Recreational use: illegal
Weed extent allowed: 0 g

Croatia 🇭🇷

Cannabis legal status: decriminalized/legalized
Marijuana laws: cannabis is decriminalized for personal consumption and legalized for certain medical use for patients with cancer, AIDS, multiple sclerosis. Though the penalty for possession of small amounts of cannabis materials is considered as a minor offence that results in a fine of 5,000–20,000 kn (since 2013), selling or growing weed will lead to at least 3 years of jail term
Medical use: legal
Recreational use: decriminalized
Weed extent allowed: 0 g

Moldova 🇲🇩

Cannabis legal status: decriminalized
Marijuana laws: currently, marijuana is illegal, but decriminalized. It means that a small amount of light drugs like cannabis for both personal and medical use is considered as an administrative offense not a criminal one
Medical use: illegal
Recreational use: decriminalized
Weed extent allowed: 0 g

Bosnia and Herzegovina 🇧🇦

Cannabis legal status: it’s still illegal, but can be legalized for medical use
Marijuana laws: the task force to explore the legalization of cannabinoids and cannabis for medical use/purposes was formed in 2016 by the Ministry of Civil Affairs. Yet, the status of marijuana remains illegal
Medical use: illegal
Recreational use: illegal
Weed extent allowed: 0 g

Albania 🇦🇱

Cannabis legal status: illegal
Marijuana laws: cannabis is prohibited, yet the possession of a small amount of weed for personal consumption (“single dose”) doesn’t lead to punishment. However, selling and cultivation of cannabis can result in 5-10 years prison sentence, for organized crime up to 20 years of jail term
Medical use: illegal
Recreational use: illegal
Weed extent allowed: “single dose” (not official)

Lithuania 🇱🇹

Cannabis legal status: legal for medical use and industrial hemp is legalized as well
Marijuana laws: everything depends on the purpose of cannabis use. So, when it comes to recreational use it’s illegal and unlawful, but it has been legal for medical use since October 2018 and since 2013 the cultivation of industrial hemp has been legalized as well
Medical use: legal
Recreational use: illegal
Weed extent allowed: 0 g

North Macedonia 🇲🇰

Cannabis legal status: illegal and punishable
Marijuana laws: once the police find a large amount of cannabis, you’ll face the penalty of 3 months up to 5 years of prison sentence. Other cannabis-related activities are also unlawful and restricted. Yet, since 2016, the medical use of weed has been legalized
Medical use: legal
Recreational use: illegal
Weed extent allowed: 0 g

Slovenia 🇸🇮

Cannabis legal status: decriminalized
Marijuana laws: the use of cannabis is prohibited, but decriminalized. Thus, if the small quantities of weed for personal use were found, you’ll face a fine from 42 € up to 210 € also the imprisonment of up to 5 days. When it comes to the medical use, then it’s illegal, yet some cannabis-based medications are permitted
Medical use: certain cannabis-based drugs are allowed to use only
Recreational use: decriminalized
Weed extent allowed: 0 g

Latvia 🇱🇻

Cannabis legal status: illegal
Marijuana laws: any usage of cannabis (recreational/medical) is against the law but the production of industrial hemp. Yet, some loosing of punishments can be found. Thus, 1 gram of weed possessed can lead to a fine of €280 if it’s the first offense. Yet, in case the cannabis materials are fond for the second time within a year, you’ll face the criminal charges. Possession of more than 1 g of marijuana can result in up to 15 years of jail term
Medical use: illegal
Recreational use: illegal
Weed extent allowed: 0 g

Estonia 🇪🇪

Cannabis legal status: decriminalized
Marijuana laws: the law restricts usage of cannabis on the territory of the country. Yet, the possession of up to 7.5 g was decriminalized and now it leads to a fine or administrative arrest, because this is a minimum amount for personal consumption. Distribution, cultivation, and large quantity of marijuana are criminal offenses. In this case, you can get a jail term of up to five years. There is also no medical program created, though the legalization of marijuana for treatment in 2005. Yet, it’s possible to get cannabis under the specific circumstances and with approval of a Ministry of Social Affairs
Medical use: with a special permit
Recreational use: decriminalized
Weed extent allowed: 0 g

Montenegro 🇲🇪

Cannabis legal status: illegal
Marijuana laws: the cannabis laws are very strict. Any weed activity is forbidden and punishable from a fine to prison time
Medical use: illegal
Recreational use: illegal
Weed extent allowed: 0 g

Luxembourg 🇱🇺

Cannabis legal status: decriminalized
Marijuana laws: it’s forbidden to transport and consume cannabis. Yet, the recreational use has been decriminalized since 2001. Thus, possession of the weed will result in a fine from 250 € to 2500 € instead of the jail time. Since 2018, cannabis has been legalized for medical purposes. Therefore, cannabis can be prescribed to patients who suffer from nausea relating to chemotherapy, chronic pain, muscle spasm caused by multiple sclerosis
Medical use: illegal
Recreational use: decriminalized
Weed extent allowed: 0 g

Malta 🇲🇹

Cannabis legal status: decriminalized
Marijuana laws: weed activity is restricted, yet with some loosening of penalty. If you possess 3.5 grams of cannabis materials you can be arrested and get a fine of 50-100 € for the first-time offenders. Repeating will be considered as a criminal offense. Since 2018, marijuana is legal for medical purposes
Medical use: legal
Recreational use: decriminalized
Weed extent allowed: 0 g

Iceland 🇮🇸

Cannabis legal status: illegal
Marijuana laws: the cannabis laws are tough and strict. Possession, cultivation, distribution and other activities are heavily penalized. Thus, the first-time offenders who were caught when possessing up to one gram of weed get a fine of 35,000 kroner, if it’s over 0.5 kilograms the punishment will be at least three months of jail time. Medical use of cannabis is also forbidden
Medical use: illegal
Recreational use: limited therapeutics that contain cannabis are permitted, but strictly regulated
Weed extent allowed: 0 g

Andorra 🇦🇩

Cannabis legal status: illegal
Marijuana laws: the punishment is heavy because any cannabis activity is strictly restricted
Medical use: illegal
Recreational use: illegal
Weed extent allowed: 0 g

Monaco 🇲🇨

Cannabis legal status: illegal
Marijuana laws: all you need to know is that any cannabis activity (possession, distribution, cultivating, consumption) is considered as a criminal offense with a fine applied
Medical use: illegal
Recreational use: illegal
Weed extent allowed: 0 g

Liechtenstein 🇱🇮

Cannabis legal status: illegal
Marijuana laws: marijuana and all the cannabis materials are forbidden, That’s all you need to know about the weed in the country
Medical use: illegal
Recreational use: illegal
Weed extent allowed: 0 g

San Marino 🇸🇲

Cannabis legal status: illegal
Marijuana laws: it’s restricted to use cannabis for recreational use, but since 2016 it has been allowed to use marijuana for treatment of diseases such as multiple sclerosis
Medical use: only some cannabis-based drugs are permitted
Recreational use: illegal
Weed extent allowed: 0 g

Cyprus 🇨🇾

Cannabis legal status: illegal
Marijuana laws: if you’re going to use/cultivate/smoke cannabis, then keep in mind that weed is considered as Class B substance. Herewith, you can face imprisonment. Though the medical use for patients with cancer is permitted as of 2017
Medical use: legal
Recreational use: illegal
Weed extent allowed: 0 g

Takeaways: Is marijuana legal in Europe?

Currently, Barcelona is one of the places to consume, possess, and get some cannabis legally and safely. Yet, other European countries around Spain are also tolerant or are on the way to legalizing the weed for medical and/or recreational use. Yet, some jurisdictions prohibit any cannabis-related activity with tough sentences applied.

Buying weed in Barcelona as tourist — is it myth or reality?   Read full article

No matter how close geographically or culturally are the European countries, cannabis laws differ a lot. Thus, the same extent of weed possessed can be legal or result in a minor fine like in Portugal, Spain, Italy, Bulgaria, Belgium, Czechia, and at the same time is a criminal offense with some jail term to face like Greece, Sweden, Cyprus, Finland.

Summarizing the article, it’s a MUST to read and understand the laws of the country you’re going to visit for cannabis tourism because ignorance of the law is no excuse!

 

AUTHOR

Maria Garcia

Cannabis activist and editor of cannabisguidebarcelona.com

 

You may also likeДругие публикации