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Herb’s Guide To Weed Laws Around The World

Here's all you need to know to decide whether or not you should be taking your grinder with you on your next trip

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I know I’m not the only one during quarantine guilty of surfing Google Earth and going on virtual vacations around the globe. In just a few clicks, I mentally traveled from the pyramids in Giza to the Great Wall of China. From the islands of the Mediterranean to the gleaming skyscrapers of Tokyo.  

With travel restrictions easing and more people catching actual flights to their favorite destinations, it’s important to research the different laws regarding cannabis, especially if you plan on traveling internationally. 

While many in North America are getting used to the leniency of a growing number of state governments regarding weed laws, other parts of the world are not as progressive, as you will come to learn from this breakdown of cannabis laws throughout the world.

South America

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South America is home to so many beautiful and historic sites, there’s no question that travelers would make this a top prospective vacation spot. Being able to experience such landmarks as the Amazon rainforest, Machu Picchu, the peaks of Patagonia, or the many pyramids and beaches throughout the continent, would bring joy to anyone keen on finding their next adventure. 

The fact that many countries have decriminalized cannabis possession makes South America a stoner-friendly destination. 

Countries like Argentina, Colombia, Peru, Uruguay, and Ecuador have shown positive strides in the road towards acceptance of Cannabis for recreational use, while the laws against trafficking and selling cannabis have remained harsh. 

Countries that still have rigid laws regarding weed possession include Brazil and Venezuela. Brazil has recently put legislation forward to legalize the domestic cultivation of cannabis, but strictly for medicinal, scientific, and industrial purposes.

CBD products have been approved for medical use, but the prices of the import are usually too high for the average patient. Venezuela has also jumped on the medicinal-only train but does not tolerate recreational use (possessing trace amounts may land you in jail.)

Asia

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Many countries in Asia have different laws regarding cannabis, but there are some countries where it would not be an acceptable travel companion. Mary Jane might be persuasive and beautiful, but she can’t talk you out of prosecution from Chinese or Malaysian authorities. 

Along with China and Malaysia, other Asian countries like Japan, Singapore, Turkey, and Pakistan (yes, the Middle East is considered Asia) view cannabis like they just walked out of a showing of ‘Reefer Madness.’   

When visiting Asia, the countries that tend to be weed-friendly are India, South Korea, Cambodia, and Laos, but remember that discretion should always be used in foreign countries when attempting to consume it. While your home country might be more lenient, it’s important to play it safe overseas, especially in Asia and the Middle East. 

Try to use the same level of discretion as a college kid still living at home, trying to hide their sneak-a-toke’s from their parents.

Europe

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While any fan of the cult classic movie ‘Euro-Trip’ can tell you about the favorable cannabis culture in Amsterdam, there are other parts of Europe that are becoming more lenient in their view on the herb.

Portugal, Switzerland, Spain, and the Czech Republic have all finalized or taken steps towards decriminalization. 

The parts of Europe that are not suitable for a weed-inspired excursion include Greece, Poland, and Turkey. The latter lies on the gateway between Europe and the Middle East, and their harsh laws can be attributed to their attempt to stop the trafficking of drugs going through their borders.

Countries like the United Kingdom, Germany, Austria, and Belgium are between these extremes, which currently allow it for medicinal purposes.

If you’re visiting France and your goal is to surpass the Eiffel Tower as the highest structure in Paris, you’ll want to read up on the laws that might prevent you from doing so. Despite its popularity in the area, weed has remained illegal for personal use. 

There was a glimmer of hope earlier this year, when France started a two-year experiment that gave nearly 3,000 patients medical cannabis treatments. Health officials hope to collect data on the advantages and safety of medicinal cannabis throughout their analysis.

Africa

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The legalization of cannabis in Africa started in 2017 with the country of Lesotho and has fortunately spread to surrounding areas. 

Kenya, South Africa, Ghana, Uganda, Morocco, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo have also taken steps towards legalization or decriminalization. 

This rise in the acceptance of weed has brought a herd of multinational companies eager to launch new farms in the area, with many hoping that it will benefit the local populations by creating jobs, boosting trade with other countries, and bringing in tax money. 

After seeing how stimulating legal cannabis can be to the economy of a country like Canada (215% boost in revenue), it’s no surprise other governments are contemplating the idea of legalization.

Australia & New Zealand

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While it would feel wrong to visit Hobbiton without kicking up your feet and busting out the pipe, cannabis still remains illegal in New Zealand. 

On the other hand, Australia has been progressing towards legalization since 2016, when they first deemed cannabis legal for medicinal and scientific usage.

Three years later, the Australian Capital Territory branched off from federal law and decriminalized possession of cannabis and cultivation of a small number of plants.

Final Words

While the future of cannabis is brighter than ever, the process is not nearly as fast as many would hope. It’s important to always use caution when using weed abroad and to be aware of each destination’s specific laws and regulations. 

Even though sparking up in public might be something you’re used to, don’t take that for granted when being a tourist.

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September 01, 2021 — Last Updated September 02, 2021
Written by Ricky Alejandro
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September 01, 2021 — Last Updated September 02, 2021
Written by Ricky Alejandro

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