Traveling around and wondering where weed is legal in Europe? This question of course depends on the individual countries in Europe, and whether they have legal weed. This post will outline the legal status of weed in every country in Europe. Whether it’s still heavily policed, somewhat tolerated, decriminalized or legalized, we’ll be covering it all.
Before we can begin however, we need to define the countries of Europe. It sounds like a simple enough task, however the answer varies depending on who you ask. For the sake of this article, we will be including all of the countries on this list from worldatlas.com.
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Disclaimer: We cannot guarantee the accuracy of this article at the time of reading. We take no responsibility for any inaccurate information.
Popular Seeds: (Must Try)
- Grand Daddy Purple Autoflower Seeds (Indica)
- Super Skunk Feminized Seeds (High THC)
- Bruce Banner Autoflower Seeds (Very High THC)
Popular Seeds: (Must Try)
- Grand Daddy Purple Autoflower Seeds (Indica)
- Super Skunk Feminized Seeds (High THC)
- Bruce Banner Autoflower Seeds (Very High THC)
Now that we’ve defined the countries, let’s explore the original question of is weed legal in Europe, and if so, where?
Albania’s Marijuana Laws
First off the list is Albania. Lately, Albania has been making the news as the drug trafficking capital of Europe, or the “Colombia of Europe”. It has also become the largest outdoor-grown producer of cannabis in Europe. If you’re planning on visiting anytime soon, however, don’t get your hopes up. Both recreational and medicinal cannabis is illegal in Albania.
Andorra’s Marijuana Laws
You’d be forgiven if you haven’t heard of Andorra as a non-European citizen. Situated between Spain and France, this tiny country of around 468km2 is right in the Pyrenees Mountains. Andorra is a large producer of tobacco, and is also a popular spot for people wanting to stock up on cigarettes due to its tax haven status. The country also allows smoking indoors in public spaces. But, what about the green stuff? Both medical and recreational cannabis is still illegal in Andorra. That’s now 2 of 2 countries giving a “no” to the question, is weed legal in Europe?
Austria’s Marijuana Laws
Austria, the country of great music, steep slopes, and friendly people. Situated on the border of Eastern Europe (depending on who you ask), this country has a complicated approach to legal cannabis. Smoking cannabis in public is decriminalized, and both police and citizens are reportedly very relaxed about it. It is however illegal to be in possession of cannabis, including any buying or selling. Just to add to the confusion, it is legal to grow a cannabis plant provided it does not flower (e.g. produce weed). This law has allowed hemp to be used, sold and grown within the country.
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Belarus’s Marijuana Laws
Thinking of doing an Eastern European road trip, and enjoy getting high? Well, it’d be smart to treat your time in Belarus as a “tolerance break”. Weed is definitely illegal here, and it doesn’t look like that will be changing any time soon. The government and police are not likely to let you off with a warning, even if you’re a tourist. Alcohol on the other hand is everywhere. Maybe if Belarus relaxed its cannabis laws a little bit, they would no longer hold the title of highest alcohol consumption per capita. That’s a big fat no for the question is weed legal in Europe. At least for this heavily policed country, anyway.
Belgium’s Marijuana Laws
If you thought that Belgium’s laws around cannabis would be relaxed given it neighbors Netherlands and Germany, you’d be right. Although it is yet to legalize recreational weed, it is definitely on its way. Cannabis is currently decriminalized in small amounts, however it is a good idea to not smoke in public, and to always be discreet. I’m personally very excited for the day that Belgian chocolate infused with cannabis becomes readily available. Until then though, I’ll just have to stick to my joints and blocks of chocolate.
Bosnia & Herzegovina’s Marijuana Laws
Another country you might have never heard of if you’re not from Europe. Information about the legal state of cannabis in this country is quite scarce, however a few blogs, Reddit posts, and translated websites all point to the same thing; recreational cannabis is illegal here.
Bulgaria’s Marijuana Laws
Situated North of Greece and Turkey, and South of Romania, this Eastern European country has the fastest declining population in the world. Has it relaxed its cannabis laws in the hopes of attracting people to the country? That would be a no. According to The Sofia Globe, there was some draft legislature put forward that would allow the farming of hemp for industrial purposes. This is nowhere near legal weed, but, baby steps, right?
Croatia’s Marijuana Laws
Croatia, the party country with an enormous coastline dotted with islands. Home to huge electronic festivals including Ultra Music Festival, as well as yacht week, a sailing party filled with a tonne of sun, sand and drinking. Cannabis is decriminalized here for personal use, so it should be reasonably safe to light up a joint here while taking in that beautiful coastline.
Czechia’s Marijuana Laws (formerly Czech Republic)
If you’re planning a European holiday to Czechia, my advice would be to bring weed from another country. This is because Czechia is notorious for expensive green. That said though, it is decriminalized for personal use, so provided that you don’t get caught with a large amount, it should be reasonably safe to light up in a quiet spot.
Denmark’s Marijuana Laws
It’s Scandinavian, it’s progressive, but does it have legal weed? Yes it does, provided that you have a medical prescription for it. Denmark has tried a few times to fully legalize it recreationally, however has not yet been successful. The weed laws here are reasonably relaxed, but it is still illegal here, so if you plan on having a few cones in Copenhagen be smart about it.
If you want to know more about the marijuana laws in Denmark, have a read of our in-depth article.
Estonia’s Marijuana Laws
The small ex-communist country of Estonia sits to the West of St Petersburg, Russia, and to the South of Finland. Often referred to as the Silicon Valley of Europe, this small country of around 1.3 million people has a lot going for it. It is the birth-place of Skype, has free public transport, and is home to two Unesco World Heritage sites.
Estonia is also 28th on the list of countries that most regularly smoke weed, with 6% of the population enjoying the drug regularly. Legalization may be some time off however, as 87% of the population are not in support of legalization. This seems like a very polarizing subject for Estonian’s, leaving only 7% of the population in the middle (assuming that everyone who smokes weed is for legalization).
Finland’s Marijuana Laws
Finland has legalized medicinal cannabis, however the laws around gaining access to the drug remains very difficult. Doctors can prescribe it, however it must be prescribed as a “last resort”, after trying more traditional medicines and therapies.
Being caught for using cannabis without permission can land you with a fine from the police. This fine can potentially lead toward police searching your residence, which could lead to further fines or punishment, depending on what they find.
Within the Finnish political sphere, there are definitely movements to legalize recreational use of cannabis, however the land of a thousand lakes isn’t looking likely to legalize cannabis in the near future.
France’s Marijuana Laws
One of the big players in Europe, France has no plans to be legalizing recreational use anytime soon. Elizabeth Borne, the French transport minister has made the following comment:
“The position of the French state is clear. We are against legalizing cannabis for recreational use. There is an ongoing discussion about a medical use”
Weed in France is not decriminalized, however under Emmanuel Macron’s presidency, the maximum fine for possession of “small amounts” has decreased from €3,750 to €200. This is certainly a step in the right direction, however, being caught in possession of the drug can still land you in some legal hot water.
The likely next step for France is legalizing cannabis for medicinal purposes. This already has a lot of support, ranging from members of La Republique en Marche (LREM), Macron’s political party, to his own wife Brigitte. Public support is also behind legalizing cannabis for medicinal purposes, with 82% of the adult population in support.
Germany’s Marijuana Laws
Another big player in Europe, Germany currently takes quite a different approach to cannabis. Although still illegal, Germany could soon be set to legalize recreational cannabis, which would be a very big deal for not only Europe but the world. Germany has the largest economy in Europe, with a nominal GDP of $4.2 trillion USD, and the fourth largest in the world. This is more than double the combined GDP’s of the only countries to fully legalize recreational weed. Canada sits in 10th position, at $1.8 trillion USD, while Uruguay is around 75th at $58 billion USD. Germany’s economy alone accounts for 28% of the European continent’s GDP.
Medicinal cannabis is legal in Germany, and has been for around two years now. Recreational cannabis is yet to be legalized, however currently the laws around it are reasonably relaxed. If you’re found to be in possession of “a small amount”, there will likely be no serious consequences, and often no prosecution whatsoever.
The term “small amount” in general means up to 6 grams across the majority of states. This is redefined as up to 10 grams in North Rhine-Westphalia (capital Düsseldorf), Rhineland-Palatinate (capital Mainz) and Thuringia (capital Erfurt). For the city-state of Berlin (the capital of Germany), this is increased to 15 grams. Since writing this article, we’ve taken a deeper look at the marijuana laws of Germany.
Greece’s Marijuana Laws
Greece has certainly been making strides toward legalization over the last couple of years. Medical use was legalized in 2017, and last year the country lifted a ban on the production and cultivation of cannabis. This has the potential to give the economy a much-needed boost, given Greece is only just starting to bounce back from a deep economic depression.
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Lifting this ban has seen the application of $400 million USD of foreign investment, with numerous companies vying to get in early on this booming industry. Although some of these applications have already been declined, this amount of foreign investment beats Denmark’s still impressive $308 million USD.
Currently the largest producers of medicinal cannabis for Europe come from the UK, Netherlands and Canada, however that could soon change with Greece set to shake things up.
Hungary’s Marijuana Laws
Although hemp used to be used to make the national Hungarian dress, cannabis use is not widely tolerated today in the land of paprika. There are strict laws in place for the possession of cannabis, as it is classed the same as heroin. Although their laws may be strict, cannabis is still the drug of choice for Hungarians, with a reported 19.4% of 16-year-olds having tried the drug.
Iceland’s Marijuana Laws
Iceland is often regarded as one of the most peaceful and safest countries in the world. It also happens to have one of the largest cannabis usage rates in the world, with 18.3% of adults using the drug recreationally. Dorrit Moussaieff, a former first lady in Iceland, has openly stated her support for legalization, posting two photos to Instagram of the plant, with the hashtags #Legaliseweed and #LegaliseCannabis.
Despite all of this, cannabis still remains a relatively heavily policed substance, with jail still a possibility if caught growing, selling, consuming or possessing. The penalties also depend on the amount of cannabis, with the largest penalties for amounts over a pound.
Ireland’s Marijuana Laws
Ireland now has legalized medicinal cannabis as of June 2019. Access to medicinal cannabis is still quite limited however, as it is only prescribed should a patient not respond to any standard treatment. The illnesses deemed to warrant this alternative approach are also limited, with multiple sclerosis, chemotherapy-induced nausea, and epilepsy the illnesses able to access medicinal cannabis, should standard treatments fail.
This is all certainly a step in the right direction, however may be surprising to some due to Ireland’s generally progressive policies.
Italy’s Marijuana Laws
Another big player within Europe, Italy has the 2nd highest cannabis consumption rate within Europe, the 4th largest economy, and the 6th largest population. Despite having the 2nd highest consumption rate, its laws around cannabis are interesting to say the least.
Medicinal cannabis is legal, however recreational is not. If you want to get high while in Italy however, all you need to do is find a shop selling “cannabis light”. This product can be sold due to a legal loophole within the countries legislation. It cannot however be legally smoked or otherwise consumed, as it is being sold as a research tool, or for technical use or collecting only.
So, what is this cannabis light? Normally the substance used to get high is from the flowers of the cannabis plant itself, containing high amounts of THC, the psychoactive ingredient responsible for the affects you feel. Cannabis light is from the flowers of the hemp plant, a cousin of the cannabis plant. Hemp contains a far lower amount of THC, but a higher amount of CBD, which is often used in medicines due to its relaxing properties.
Although technically legal to sell, there have been police raids on shops selling cannabis light, with some shops being shut down indefinitely. This has lead to calls for the government to amend this legal loophole, however there are also calls for full recreational legalization too.
Update to the above section: Italy’s high court has made it a criminal offense to sell cannabis derivatives, such as cannabis light. Have a read of our full article on Italy.
Latvia’s Marijuana Laws
Latvia, another ex-communist country on the Baltic Sea. It’s one of Europe’s greenest countries, with over 50% covered in forest, while its abundance of lakes and rivers cover a lot more of the land. Unfortunately though, this green country doesn’t love the green too much. Medicinal cannabis is still illegal in Latvia, however the discussions have been taking place on whether medicinal cannabis should be legalized.
In 2015, an online petition gathered over 10,000 signatures in the hopes of getting cannabis decriminalized. This meant that the petition was eligible to be formally submitted to the Latvian parliament. The petition did not gather any meaningful support past this point however, so was quickly forgotten about.
Liechtenstein’s Marijuana Laws
Another country you’d be forgiven of not knowing, this tiny country of only 160km2 (60mi2) sits between Switzerland and Austria. Its 38,000 residents make it the 3rd smallest country on this list by population. Its tiny size makes finding up to date information on the country quite difficult, however, all signs point to neither medicinal nor recreational cannabis being legalized here.
Lithuania’s Marijuana Laws
The last “true” Baltic country on this list, Lithuania is home to the oldest tree in Europe, and home to a surprising number of NBA players. The other two Baltic countries (Estonia and Latvia) are yet to legalize medicinal cannabis, but what about Lithuania? As of May 2019, Lithuanian’s can get access to medicinal cannabis. Recreational use is still illegal, however this small step could pave the way for other neighboring countries to follow suit.
Lithuania gets a “sort of” answer to the question of where is weed legal in Europe.
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Luxembourg’s Marijuana Laws
When you think of Luxembourg, the thought of rich people probably comes to mind. It is the 7th smallest country on this list by land size, 8th smallest by population, but the 17th smallest economy by GDP (gross domestic product). This translates to the second highest GDP per capita in all of Europe, only behind Monaco. The people of Luxembourg will soon have more things to spend their wealth on, with the current government announcing their plans to legalize recreational cannabis.
Although the country might be small, its geographic position must not be understated. Luxembourg borders France and Germany, two of the seven countries worldwide in the G7 (Group of Seven). These seven countries hold approximately 62% of the world’s global wealth, or $280 trillion US. The only other country in the world that borders more G7 countries is Switzerland, which also borders Italy.
No date has been set for recreational legalization of cannabis, however currently 2023 looks likely. That’s the first full “yes” to the question, is weed legal in Europe?
Malta’s Marijuana Laws
The tiny island of Malta lies right within the Mediterranean Sea. With Italy to the North and Libya to the South, its diverse culture makes for an amazing travel destination. The country is the 7th smallest in Europe by population and 5th smallest by area.
The country recently legalized medical cannabis in March 2019, however, to be eligible for the drug you must be suffering from chemotherapy side effects, multiple sclerosis, or chronic pain.
Moldova’s Marijuana Laws
Another country you might have never heard of if you’re not from Europe, Moldova is a landlocked country between Romania and Ukraine. It’s the poorest country in Europe, with a GDP per capita of just $7,536 USD, approximately 15 times less than Luxembourg.
Similar to Belarus, it has the second highest alcohol consumption per capita in the world, at 16.8 liters of pure alcohol per person per year. Unlike Belarus however, cannabis has been decriminalized for recreational use.
Monaco’s Marijuana Laws
Monaco is the second smallest country on this list, but the richest when looking at GDP per capita. With roughly 38,000 people living in the 0.75 square mile country, it’s the most densely populated country in the world. Macau, although more dense, is not considered a sovereign country, so Monaco takes the gold. It’s so small that you can walk the length of the country in around an hour.
When you think of Monaco the images of casinos, beaches and car races probably spring to mind. But does cannabis as well? Probably not, as both recreational and medicinal are illegal. If you’re caught with a small amount the laws may not even be enforced, however the possibility is still there. Another “no” to the question, is weed legal in Europe.
Montenegro’s Marijuana Laws
Home to Europe’s biggest canyon and the world’s oldest olive tree, Montenegro is a beautiful country of white sandy beaches and untouched forest.
The small country plays an important role in the distribution of cannabis throughout Europe. Sitting North-West of Albania, the largest outdoor grower of cannabis in Europe, Montenegro see’s huge volumes of cannabis being trafficked through the country. This illegal trafficking hasn’t done the countries cannabis laws any favors, as both medical and recreational use are still illegal.
Netherlands’ Marijuana Laws
If you were to ask someone about cannabis in Europe, without a doubt the first thing that would spring to mind would be Amsterdam. The city is famous worldwide for its relaxed laws around cannabis, and the idea of visiting a “coffeeshop” is a major drawcard for the city’s 20 million tourists annually. Surprising to many though, is learning that recreational use of cannabis is still illegal.
The Dutch take a very pragmatic approach to their treatment around cannabis. The countries lawmakers and politicians have realized that keeping something illegal does not necessarily decrease its usage. Because of this, the country has a “tolerance policy”, that basically means they will tolerate visitors and citizens over 18 years smoking cannabis, provided that it is not in public, that you are carrying personal amounts only, and you are not causing harm to yourself or others.
Coffeeshops (all one word, not to be confused with coffee shops or cafes) are designated areas that can dispense cannabis to the public. There are rules around this however, which can be a good thing for the innocent traveller trying cannabis for the first time. Coffeeshops can only sell a maximum of 5 grams per person per day, and they are also not allowed to sell alcohol. Like a bar, they may ask for your ID, and can refuse service if they think you’re too intoxicated.
If you do decide to visit one while on your travels, I’d highly recommend asking the budtender (I love that name) about the different strains they have on offer, the amounts, and different ways to take cannabis, such as smoking or eating edibles like brownies. Often they’ll have some nice music on and board games available for playing, and a lot do some pretty decent coffees too.
North Macedonia’s Marijuana Laws (formerly Macedonia)
The landlocked country of North Macedonia takes a different approach to cannabis when compared to its neighbor Albania. In 2016 North Macedonia changed its laws to allow for growing and exporting of cannabis for medical purposes. The country also allows scientists to study the plant, furthering the countries position as a leader within the cannabis industry for the Balkans.
With a similar population to Luxembourg, but an economy less than one fifth the size, this new industry has provided a much needed boost to the local economy. Medical cannabis for residents is only available for a few select conditions, however given its geographical location, this amendment to its laws is not to be dismissed.
So, is weed legal in Europe, or at least North Macedonia? Not really, only for a very small group of people. They’ve made a start at least.
Norway’s Marijuana Laws
The second Scandinavian country on this list, Norway has a similar approach to cannabis as Denmark. Medical cannabis is available in Norway, although like most European countries it is somewhat difficult to access.
As for recreational use, this is still illegal, however it has been decriminalized. As a first for Scandinavia, Norway’s parliament recently decriminalized all drug use, provided that the substances are deemed for personal use only. Rather than focusing on criminal punishment, offenders may instead be diverted to treatment facilities. Of course all illegal drugs remain *surprise* illegal, so this doesn’t mean you can light up a joint while exploring Oslo and expect no punishment.
Poland’s Marijuana Laws
One of the big players of Eastern Europe (depending on how you define Eastern), Poland is a large country in terms of size, population and its economy. It’s the 9th largest in size, 8th largest in population (9th if you include Turkey), and has the 9th largest economy (talk about consistency).
Poland recently legalized medicinal cannabis, allowing access to the medicine for its 38 million residents, provided that they have a valid prescription. Where Poland differs from a lot of other European countries however is that the new laws do not specifically list medical conditions deeming a patient eligible. Instead, access to medical cannabis is up to the individual doctor’s discretion. Guidance is given to doctors that cannabis should only be prescribed should other methods of treatment fail, however, this is guidance only.
Portugal’s Marijuana Laws
Portugal was the first country in the world to decriminalize all drugs back in 2001. Without getting too deep into the reasoning, this wasn’t a decision that the country made simply for a change. At the time, Portugal was battling a huge drug problem that was only escalating. This drug problem had increased disease rates like HIV, to the point that Portugal had the highest rate of HIV infection within the European Union. Crime rates were at an all-time high, and the country was struggling financially trying to keep up with the costs associated with these problems.
Although Portugal still has problems with disease, drugs and crime (like all countries), the evidence of the decreases in these rates due to decriminalization are hard to ignore. Portugal’s model on drug treatment has been used for multiple countries around the world looking at, and pursuing the path of decriminalization.
As for legalization however, medical cannabis only became legal in 2018, and will require a prescription from a doctor. If you want to light up a joint while visiting Lisbon, keep in mind that without a prescription this is still illegal, however getting caught will likely result in confiscation of the drugs, or having to attend an educational session on drugs.
Romania’s Marijuana Laws
Home to Dracula, gypsies and surprisingly fast 4G speeds, Romania has a lot going for it. It’s the 9th largest by population with around 19.5 million residents, 12th largest by size, and the 18th largest economy. This number however drops to 30th when looking at GDP per capita.
Although both recreational and medical cannabis remains illegal, there is a push for legalization for medicinal purposes. Currently, patients can however access cannabis medicine in the form of CBD, provided the THC content is less than 0.2%.
Russia’s Marijuana Laws
It will probably come as no surprise to anyone that both recreational and medicinal cannabis is illegal in Russia. Punishment varies depending on the amount, with anything less than 6 grams considered an administrative offense, and anything greater considered a criminal offense. There have however been reports that Russian police have planted extra cannabis on people to get them above 6 grams so they can be charged with criminal offenses.
Unfortunately for the pro-cannabis people of Russia, these laws don’t look like they’ll be changing anytime soon. A strong “no” to the question, is weed legal in Europe.
San Marino’s Marijuana Laws
Another country you may have never heard of if you’re not European, San Marino is a microstate fully surrounded by Italy, a few hours from Bologna and Florence. It has the 2nd smallest population in Europe, and the 3rd smallest size. Although small, it is roughly 30 times the size of Monaco.
Currently recreational cannabis is still illegal, and medical cannabis is in the process of becoming legal for a select list of conditions.
Serbia’s Marijuana Laws
Serbia has gone through a lot of changes over the last century. Its capital Belgrade was previously the capital of Yugoslavia, a country comprising of Bosnia & Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia and Slovenia. Even today the country is still undergoing struggles, with the autonomous region of Kosovo wanting independence.
While former countries of Yugoslavia like Croatia have recently legalized medical cannabis, Serbia has made no such moves yet. Both recreational and medicinal cannabis remain illegal in the country.
Slovakia’s Marijuana Laws
Home to an abundance of castles, cathedrals and caves, Slovakia is a picturesque country, previously one half of Czechoslovakia. The capital city of Bratislava is only an hour drive from Vienna, making the two capitals the closest in Europe (ignoring the fact that Vatican City is within Rome).
The country sits around the middle for land size, population and economy size when compared to the rest of Europe. When compared to its neighbors however, Slovakia’s laws around cannabis take a more strict approach. Unlike Czechia, the other half of previous Czechoslovakia, medical cannabis use is still illegal. Czechia has also decriminalized cannabis for small personal amounts, whereas strict punishment could still occur for the same amounts in Slovakia.
So, is weed legal in Europe, or more specifically Slovakia? No it’s not, so be careful and smoke at your own risk.
Slovenia’s Marijuana Laws
The small country of Slovenia has a population of around 2 million, and an area slightly smaller than the European part of Turkey. Although having a small economy overall, Slovenia has the second highest GDP per capita of all countries considered to be Eastern Europe (depending on your definition), only behind Czechia.
Recreational cannabis in Slovenia is illegal, and only CBD products are allowed to be sold medicinally, provided the THC content is below 0.2%. Although recreational use is illegal, it is quite common in the country. Should you be caught with a small, personal amount of cannabis (or any drug) it will likely not lead to serious consequences.
Spain’s Marijuana Laws
Another big player in Europe, Spain is the 6th most populated country (not including Turkey) and the 4th largest. Its economy is the 6th largest overall, and has the 16th largest GDP per capita.
Currently Spain’s laws surrounding cannabis are in a political debate, but regardless of that it has some of the most relaxed laws on the continent. It’s legal to cultivate and smoke weed in Spain provided that it’s not done in public. If you decide to grow cannabis at home, it must not be in public view.
Spain also has a similar situation to Amsterdam where you can go to “clubs” and get high (not like nightclubs, more of a social setting). These clubs are only available if you are a Spanish citizen, so tourists can’t partake as they would be able to in Amsterdam.
So, is weed legal in Europe, or at least Spain? Not fully, but basically yes. If you want to know more about the marijuana laws in Spain, have a read of our in-depth article.
Sweden’s Marijuana Laws
The third and last Scandinavian country, Sweden has a population almost the size of Denmark and Norway combined, and a landmass greater than both combined. When compared to Denmark and Norway however, Sweden has far more serious penalties for cannabis possession and usage. Punishment varies depending on the amount you are caught with, and can be up to 10 years for the most serious offenses. Where other countries might be forgiving for small, personal amounts, Swedish police are not known for this. Being caught with a small amount could land you in jail for up to 6 months.
Along with recreational use, Sweden is yet to legalize medical marijuana. The good news is that if you are visiting or live in Malmö or Helsingborg, Denmark is only a short drive or ferry away. Although still illegal, Denmark is generally more tolerant of cannabis use. The bad news is that if you’re one of the 9.6 million other residents outside these two cities, it might be best to steer clear of smoking in Sweden.
Where is weed legal in Europe? Definitely not in Sweden.
Switzerland’s Marijuana Laws
Often known as the neutral country, Switzerland is not part of the European Union despite all of its neighbors being members (apart from Liechtenstein with a population of 38,000). Switzerland is home to the world’s most expensive coffee, the world’s biggest chocolate eaters, and some of the highest cannabis use in the world.
In 2013 the country decriminalized the possession of cannabis, provided it was deemed for personal use. Two years before this, cannabis could legally be sold provided the THC content was less than 1%. Although to get high off this amount would require a large amount of cannabis, this limit is 5 times larger than what is typically seen around Europe.
Despite all this, medical cannabis is still illegal in Switzerland. Patients can apply for an exemption, however the process is known for being difficult to get approved.
Ukraine’s Marijuana Laws
Recently jumping into the international spotlight due to the TV show Chernobyl, Ukraine is the largest non-transcontinental country in Europe by landmass. It also has the 7th largest population (not including Turkey), but the 2nd smallest GPD per capita, only ahead of Moldova.
Despite an ongoing war with Russia in the West of the country (and the Crimean Peninsula), the rest of the country is considered to be largely peaceful and safe to visit. Due to its weak economy, Ukraine is one of the cheapest countries to visit in Europe. With its increasing tourism industry however, prices are currently going up.
Similar to its Eastern neighbors, both medical and recreational cannabis are illegal. There is however a push for medical legalization, with recent petitions being reviewed by parliament.
United Kingdom’s Marijuana Laws
Probably the most well-known country in Europe, the United Kingdom needs no introduction. Technically the United Kingdom is a union of four countries; England, Scotland, Wales & Northern Ireland, however the UK is largely governed by the same laws throughout, as well as politically. Search the internet yourself and you’ll find countless conflicting information on whether it’s one country, or four.
But enough about the definitions on the country, what’s the deal with cannabis?
Medical marijuana will be available via prescription only by the end of 2019, except in Northern Ireland. Although this is a step in the right direction, the UK appears to be at a minimum of several years away from recreational legalization, even though the wheels are already in motion for several other European countries. Cannabis is the drug of choice for UK citizens, however, the public support behind full legalization is nowhere near as high as other European countries.
Vatican City’s Marijuana Laws
It’s the smallest country in the world at 44 hectares (0.17 square miles), and is best known for being home to the Pope, the head of the Catholic Church. Although technically a country, to live in Vatican City you must work for the Holy See (the governing body of the Roman Catholic Church). Should you stop working for the Holy See, you can no longer live in the Vatican City, defaulting to an Italian citizen afterwards.
It should come as no surprise that the head of the world’s largest church does not permit smoking cannabis while visiting. Luckily though, when visiting the world’s smallest country you’re only ever a few minutes walk to Italy (although still illegal).
We got a lot of no’s, and a lot of yes’s to the question of is weed legal in Europe. Although most of those yes’s were only about medical weed, it’s important to remember the ever increasing shift in the general public’s opinion on these matters.
We’ve done a similar style article going through the South American countries if you want to learn more.