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Countries where cannabis is legal: France, Europe and the rest of the world.

In France, the legal cannabis still arouses wide debates. Dmore and more countries are legalizing it or lightening their policies concerning him. At the same time, the french laws still want to be repressive. Prime Minister Édouard Philippe nevertheless declared, at the beginning of 2019, that it would be foolish not to open the debate on the legality of therapeutic cannabis in France. What are the countries where cannabis is legal? What about the European law in general and that of France in particular? Weedy. Fr tells you a little more about what can and cannot be done.

Legal cannabis, disparities around the world

From a government perspective, there are generally two types of cannabis. On one side is the so-called therapeutic cannabis, used for medical purposes. On the other, one so-called recreational use highlighting the psychotropic properties of the plant. As usual in topics related to cannabis, the rate of psychoactive substances, and therefore THC, East at the center of the debate.

For medical use, many countries now recognize certain advantages of cannabis. While they are not always well known or demonstrated, many countries have decided to legalize use. The list of countries where medical cannabis is legal is growing regularly. Australia, Chile and Thailand are particularly in this case internationally. In Europe, Croatia, Greece, Cyprus, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, Norway, the Netherlands and Finland have already taken the plunge.

For recreational use, the legislation is generally more severe. The countries of the world fall into three main categories.

Countries where cannabis is legal

Legal cannabis in Canada-min
Cannabis is now legal across Canada

In some countries, cannabis is completely legal. TheUruguay et Canada are, in 2019, the only ones to have fully legalized it, for both therapeutic and recreational use. Uruguay was a pioneer in 2014, Canada waited until the fall of 2018. Long-term studies in these two countries should make it possible to draw conclusions based on the interest or not of legalizing the use of cannabis in other countries.

U.S., several states allow recreational use, but cannabis remains banned at the federal level. In Georgia and South Africa, consumption is legal, but not sale.

Countries decriminalizing or not enforcing their cannabis laws

By law, there is no legal cannabis in these countries. It is however not considered a crime ou the law is simply little applied there and users are therefore not condemned. This is the case in Europe with the Czech Republic, from Spain or from Germany. On a global scale, India, Argentina and Pakistan are notably added to the list. In most of these countries, however, only one personal consumption is tolerated, but not its culture or its trade.

Countries where cannabis is strictly illegal

In Europe, there are now few countries where recreational cannabis remains illegal and regularly sanctioned. This is still the case with the France, but also Hungary or UK. Globally, much of Africa, the Middle East and central Asia are primarily the sanctioning regions for cannabis use.

What law for cannabis in Europe

Legal cannabis and European Union-min
The legal framework for cannabis is still unclear in the European Union

Le legal framework for the use of cannabis in Europe is not very clear. The Regulation (EU) No 1307/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 December 2013 explicitly mentions, however, that cultivated hemp varieties whose THC content is less than 0,2% are allowed. If national disparities exist, it is the European law which is however authentic, consequently making that some varieties of hemp can be considered legal cannabis.

Le European law is also based on a free movement of agricultural products. The common organization of the markets therefore implies the authorization of imports, exports and therefore the hemp trade. This directive concerns all companies within the EU. Provided, of course, that the THC level does not exceed that authorized and therefore remains below 0,2%.

In Europe, the laws are still particularly prohibitive, but the situation is not equal in all countries. The Netherlands are of course renowned for their openness on the matter, but they were joined by theSpain. Both countries indeed offer cannabis products for sale as long as the dealer has a license. In both cases again, there is no strict legalization of cannabis, but a authorization for consumption in a strictly private setting. However, the European Parliament is considering a new legal framework and could even participate in the development of the legal cannabis sector in Europe.

Towards an authorized cannabis in France?

French legislation on cannabis-min
France retains repressive laws regarding the use of cannabis

At the start of 2019, 21 out of 28 European Union countries had legalized cannabis for therapeutic use. France continues to apply repressive laws regarding its use, whatever it may be. The National Agency for the Safety of Medicines and Health Products (ANSM) has, however, given the green light from December 2018 for a therapeutic use of cannabis. It also expressed its wish to use the first experiments in this area before the end of 2019.

Legally, the production, possession and consumption of cannabis remain prohibited. Under its name of hemp, however, the plant has many industrial advantages. The automotive, textile, cosmetics or even food industries use it in particular. Hemp is thus used to make fabric, bedding or thermal insulation.

The plant c is therefore authorized in France. However, it should not have psychotropic effects (planing). It must also strictly meet three criteria, with no possible derogation. First, the authorized cannabis varieties are on a list. Second, the use is limited to certain parts of the plant, namely the seeds and fibers. Finally, the level of THC present in the plant must remain below 0,2%.

2021: experiments on the authorization of therapeutic cannabis in France

Authorized by an amendment by Olivier Véran, then a deputy and then become Minister of Health (he is a neurologist), the experiments supposed to lead to the authorization of medical cannabis in France did not go smoothly. First scheduled for early 2020, they were hit hard by the Covid-19 epidemic, and therefore postponed. It was more than a year later, in March 2021, that the project resurfaced.

During two years, 3000 patients will benefit from treatments based on cannabis products (flowers and oils mainly). These 3000 patients were not chosen at random since they are all considered to be at a "therapeutic impasse", that is to say that the treatments of current conventional medicine do not work, more or not at the hoped-for level. . Most of them suffer from serious pathologies, with adverse effects linked to the disease as well as to particularly restrictive treatments (chronic pain, nausea, loss of appetite, etc.). For them as for the scientific community, cannabis in general and CBD in particular represent a hope of improving their condition. It remains to be seen whether certain pathologies could be cured or whether cannabinoids will above all make it possible to improve the daily lives of these patients. This is currently the path that seems to be favored.

Pressures on the Government for cannabis to be authorized in France

The lines are moving and could see the arrival of a cannabis authorization in France
The lines are moving and could see the arrival of a cannabis authorization in France

Activists, consumers (legal or not), media and politicians are increasingly involved in favor of the legalization of cannabis in France. It must be said that, if the country has always been particularly reluctant in the face of its authorization, it does not like to lag behind… and it is undoubtedly so vis-à-vis its European neighbors.

In tribune in Le Monde February 27, 2021, Eric Correia, Regional Councilor of Nouvelle-Aquitaine and yet a member of the majority party in the Government (LREM), writes:

“While twenty-one countries of the European Union have already made significant progress - and often legislated in the direction of the legalization of therapeutic cannabis - on this social debate which is as economic as health and human, it is time that the France is moving forward. I say this as a local elected official and an anesthetist nurse. "

He is far from being the only one of this opinion, a trend that goes well beyond medical cannabis. Between popular and media pressures and the upcoming results of certain scientific research, this leaves glimpse a future in which cannabis will be authorized in France. Case to follow!

The CBD alternative

Le CBD still suffers from the ignorance of its effects, especially in France where the law regarding cannabis has always been repressive. However, the interest shown in it by scientists and foreign governments arouses curiosity. Many CBD products are emerging every year, continually expanding the list of legal cannabis products. He presents today a real alternative to the psychoactive components of marijuana. The more scientific research advances, the more CBD seems to present itself as the obvious gateway to legal cannabis in France.

Relaxing, relaxing, anti-inflammatory… The effects of CBD are numerous and increasingly well known. Unlike the boom of 2018 where new products hit the market every day, confusing (potential) consumers even more, the early 2020s saw things settle down. Led by a few pioneer countries in this area (Switzerland, Israel, USA) and outright legalization in Canada, the search for them is increasing. They reassure cannabinoid lovers and the curious who see the CBD alternative as a natural and safe way to reduce daily stress. Above all, they allow us to better understand the molecule and to create more effective, healthier and better dosed by-products.

See as well : CBD around the world.


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