Which countries are the strictest on cannabis use?

March 16, 2023

Whether you’re travelling for work or pleasure, you want to be able to enjoy all the same health and wellness benefits you take for granted at home. The tricky part is that while you know how cannabis is treated at home in the UK, other countries and cultures can view it somewhat differently. 

Before diving in and taking a closer look, it’s really important we stress the following key point: always respect local laws, customs and traditions. You may not agree with them, or even wish to condone them, but if you’re travelling in another country, you are expected to abide by the laws of the land. Now, all this might sound a little heavy for a health and wellness blog, but it is something we need to get across nice and clearly. Just because you and we know of the health and wellness benefits of cannabis and our Londonderry CBD products doesn’t mean they’re legal for use in every corner of the world. 

To give you an idea of how things vary as you move around the globe, we’re going to talk you through some of the strictest countries and some of the not so strict. Let’s start with a few Western countries to kick things off. 

Canada and Cannabis

Want to know the answer to the question: is cannabis legal in Canada? We don’t blame you! Not only is Canada one of the most open and liberal countries in the world, it’s also home to some truly stunning scenery that you simply have to see at least once during your life. From the Great Lakes to the foothills of British Columbia, the sights and sounds of the Canadian wilderness are surely not to be missed by any intrepid traveller. 

But when you’re travelling far and wide, you also want to stay on top of your health and wellness regimen. Is cannabis legal in Canada right now? As of 2018 any adult can legally carry as much as 30 grams of legally produced cannabis. This means that it has to have been grown by a certified grower on strict conditions, rather than bought from a street dealer who will likely be using hidden and illegal growing farms to cut corners. The idea here is that, because in small quantities cannabis does no harm, if you can prove where it comes from is safe, you can make sure the users are safe too. This also frees up the police and prison systems from having to constantly pursue a large number of micro offenders. 

“Legally produced” is also a term that extends to the home, with adults in Canada now able to have as many as four cannabis plants per household growing legally. This again moves the issue of cannabis buying off the streets and turns it into a small-scale, grown-at-home issue that again saves valuable time and resources that are greatly needed elsewhere in the criminal justice system. 

New York and Cannabis

Next up on our journey: is cannabis legal in New York? You’ve been able to smoke medicinal cannabis legally in New York since all the way back in 2016, making this one of the most progressive areas of the world when it comes to cannabis legislation. It’s also worth noting that five years later in 2021, recreational use became legal in New York. One year later, in 2022, the sale of cannabis for recreational use also became legal right across the state. This is good news for those of you who want to be able to travel to New York without fear of falling foul of the law. 

If you’re looking to travel to other parts of the US, we strongly recommend checking cannabis legislation on a state-by-state basis because it does vary considerably. That said, CBD products like ours which are certified and tested independently are legal and are a great way to manage your health and wellness needs when you’re on the road for an extended period of time. 

Rome and Cannabis

Thinking about travelling to the Old Country and experiencing the sights and sounds of Rome? Is cannabis legal in Italy? Thought you’d want to know that! Unfortunately, cannabis is currently only legal for medical use, which means you will need to be able to show a prescription before being able to legally use it. As tempting as it may be to take your own supply along with your UK prescription papers, we’d strongly advise against this course of action. 

Paperwork of this kind is notoriously hard for authorities abroad to certify and cross-reference, meaning that when you’re at a busy travel border they can often be refused. If this happens, and you’re in possession of any amount of cannabis, you could be in a spot of bother that becomes increasingly hard to get out of. Instead, take our range of British CBD products and your prescription paper, and then you always have the option of being able to show it to a local clinician or dispensary if you need to at a later date. 

Interestingly, cannabis has been decriminalised which means that you are unlikely to be arrested if found in possession of it. The reason for this is to free up large parts of law enforcement and the criminal justice system so they’re no longer overrun with tiny misdemeanours which divert resources, energy and attention away from more pressing cases of wrongdoing. This is not, however, an invitation to turn up at an airport with cannabis in your possession. Stick with our CBD products instead and play safe when it comes to the Italian legal system. 

Now how about some of the strictest countries in the world? It will come as no surprise to any who has followed these types of cases that South East Asia and the Middle East are by far and away the strictest when it comes to any form of drug possession. You might even find the way we’ve used “drug” in that previous sentence a little overzealous, but we’re doing it for a very good reason. 

South East and the Middle East

In countries like Saudi Arabia and Thailand — both of which are spending increasing amounts of money trying to attract UK tourists — all forms of drugs are heavily criminalised. This is due to a combination of religious sensitivities, local customs, and the need for rulers and governors to appear strong in the face of the drugs they feel are being pushed on them by other countries. It is not uncommon for decades-long sentences to be passed down for misdemeanours which would not even incur so much as a community order or cannabis caution back in the UK. For this reason, we strongly advise against travelling with any form of cannabis product in your possession. To be on the safe side you may also want to check that CBD-based products are legal. 

If in doubt, always play it safe when travelling, and particularly in these two regions of the world. It simply isn’t worth the risk given how harsh the penalties are, and how strictly they are enforced. Contacting the British Consulate in the country you’re thinking of visiting is always a good place to start if you want information that is more current and accurate than a random Google search will produce. 

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