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All the places in the world you can (legally) smoke weed

Canada legalized marijuana, where is weed legal around the world?
Reuters/Jason Redmond
Cannabis rules for the global citizen.
  • Aisha Hassan
By Aisha Hassan

Contributor

This article is more than 2 years old.

Canada just became the second and largest country in the world to legalize weed nationwide. (Uruguay was the first.) Medical marijuana has been lawful in Canada since 2001, but prime minister Justin Trudeau’s successful campaign to open up recreational use is a landmark moment in the legalization movement.

You don’t have to be in Canada to mark the occasion legally. There are places all over the world where marijuana use is not a crime—but laws vary widely on medicinal and recreational use and restrictions on how it can be sold and grown.

Here is an updated version of Quartz’s guide on where in the world you can legally get high:

Where is weed legal in the United States?

According to a survey by the Pew Research Center in 2018, 62% of Americans support marijuana legalization, which is almost double the number of those who supported legalization in 2000. Weed is currently legal in some form in 46 US states, though the majority only allow use for medical purposes.

Recreational use is allowed in Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon, Washington state, Washington DC, and Vermont.

Despite the best efforts of US attorney general Jeff Sessions, marijuana legalization in the US has come a long way. Vermont was the first state in the nation to legalize weed legislatively, and those laws came into effect on July 1. Oklahoma also voted to legalize medical marijuana, and a new set of guidelines was approved by the state’s health board in August.

In June, Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer unveiled the Marijuana Freedom and Opportunity Act, which would remove weed from the government’s list of controlled substances, and seeks to decriminalize marijuana across the country. And Donald Trump has expressed support for allowing states to regulate marijuana independently. Currently valued at $8 billion, America’s legal marijuana market could be worth as much as $25 billion by 2025.

Weed is legal in Canada

The Cannabis Act makes marijuana sales and consumption, even for recreational use, fully legal.

Regulations vary across Canada’s 10 provinces and three territories. For instance, those in Ontario can only purchase weed online via the government-run Ontario Cannabis Store, whereas in Saskatchewan, only licensed private retail stores can sell pot. In Quebec you can smoke anywhere tobacco is allowed. Cannabis consumption in the Yukon territory is only permitted in private residences and adjoining properties.

You can find a comprehensive guide on how to buy and smoke weed in Canada, as well as details on possession limits, here.

Where is weed legal around the world?

Recreational pot use is gaining acceptance around the globe, though there are still relatively few places where it is fully legal:

  • Uruguay became the first country to fully legalize marijuana in 2013 and last year began allowing sales in local pharmacies (though purchase is limited to citizens).
  • In Peru possession of marijuana isn’t punished as long as it’s for personal, private, immediate use. The Peruvian congress has passed a bill that legalized medical marijuana, allowing the production, sale, and importation of cannabis oil.
  • In Spain, citizens aren’t penalized for growing or consuming privately. Sale is technically illegal, but there more than 800 (link in Spanish) “private” cannabis clubs where membership requires nothing more than a bit of paperwork.
  • Marijuana is technically illegal in the Netherlands, where authorities will generally turn a blind eye. Selling cannabis is “illegal but not punishable” so officials tolerate it as long as shops follow certain rules, like not advertising or causing a nuisance. Only citizens are allowed to buy marijuana, though Amsterdam’s infamous coffeeshops are exempt from that rule.
  • In September, South Africa‘s constitutional court ruled that weed is legal. People are allowed to use marijuana privately, and can also grow the plant for personal use.

Kindland also has a list of all the places around the world where marijuana is legal or has been decriminalized.

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