Where In the World is Medical Cannabis Legal?

As cannabis laws change around the world, you might be wondering where you can legally obtain cannabis for medical reasons. Read on to find out which countries have legalized medical cannabis…

If you are involved in distributing cannabis for non-medical reasons, or other drugs such as cocaine and heroin, you could be charged with a drug conspiracy offense. This could include being charged with supplying Class A drugs, possession of drugs, and supplying or offering to supply drugs.

More recently, however, cannabis for medical use has been legalized in many countries. If you wish to obtain cannabis for medical reasons, you will need to be approved by a GP or clinical specialist, but it can be a lengthy process. Some reasons you may be prescribed medical cannabis include cancer, treatment-resistant childhood epilepsy, and Multiple Sclerosis.

In this article, we will highlight some countries where medical cannabis is legal in the world. Remember, unless it is legal in your country, you should avoid obtaining cannabis.

United Kingdom

In November 2018, medical cannabis and CBD-oil based medications were legalized in the UK.

Although medical cannabis has been legalized, recreational cannabis is still illegal. The supply and production of cannabis is punishable by an unlimited fine and a prison sentence of up to 14 years, or both.

You can find out more information on drug penalties in the UK on the government website.

Germany

In Germany, legislation for patients to access medical cannabis came into effect in March 2017. Since medical cannabis was legalized, demand has skyrocketed, but there are no laws around cultivation of cannabis in Germany. So, legal cannabis products must be imported into the country.

France

In France, there is no legal distinction between personal use and trafficking as there is in some countries. France has some of the strictest cannabis laws in Europe and the use of cannabis has been illegal in the country since 1970, including for medical use.

However, the medical use of some cannabinoid-based drugs has been legal since 2013. For example, Sativex, a cannabinoid mouth spray, was legalized to treat patients suffering from multiple sclerosis.

There is still hope for some residents in France that cannabis will get the go-ahead from the government. In October 2020, they started a program testing the effects of medical cannabis and will follow 3,000 patients for two years.

Luxembourg

Medical cannabis is available in Luxembourg and use of it tripled in 2020. Luxembourg is planning to legalize cannabis for recreational use too. Since 2001, the possession of cannabis has been decriminalized.

Italy

Growing, selling, and importing medical cannabis is allowed in Italy on the condition that the authorization of the Ministry of Health is obtained. Cannabis-based medicines, which are already authorised in Italy, can be prescribed to patients by physicians using a special form approved by the Ministry of Health.

If the medical product is not authorized in Italy but duly authorized in a foreign country, your doctor is required to send a request to the Ministry of Health and to the competent customs office for the importation of the medicine in Italy.

Switzerland

Medical cannabis containing no more than 1 percent of THC is available in Switzerland, with products containing more than 1 percent THC needing a special permit. CBD and CBD-rich cannabis products are available from pharmacies with a prescription. CBD-enriched products are freely available as food supplements, tobacco replacements, and lifestyle drugs provided they are officially quality controlled.

Spain

In Spain, access to medical cannabis is only prescribed to patients who suffer from MS, cancer, or another chronic pain disease. There are other healthy ways to manage chronic pain for those not suffering from these conditions. Be sure to seek the advice of a doctor, however, before choosing to use these forms.

Portugal

After passing a medical cannabis bill in 2018, the Portuguese government has now approved the first-ever cannabis-based medicine in the country.

Cyprus

Following a government vote, Cyprus officially approved a new medical cannabis law legalizing the cultivation and domestic use of the drug in 2019. Members approved the allowance of growing, importing, exporting, and for individuals to possess and use medical cannabis.

The medical cannabis law made amendments to the Drugs and Psychotropic Substances law. This permits the import of cannabis seeds and cannabis plants for cultivation purposes, as well as regulating the issuing of licenses.

North America and Canada

In America and Canada, cannabis usage for medical and recreational use is either legal or considered a misdemeanor. Just as with Europe, it is highly recommended that anyone visiting such countries remains discreet even in states where it is entirely legal.

Australia

In 2016, The Australian Federal Government legalized access to medical cannabis. There are now more than 100 different cannabis products available to prescribe. Most are oral preparations (oils) or capsules containing delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol or cannabidiol, but dried-flower products are also available.

New Zealand

In 2018, New Zealand’s government passed a law that made medical cannabis widely available for thousands of patients. The legislation also allows terminally ill patients to begin smoking pot immediately without facing the possibility of prosecution.

Jamaica

When Jamaica moved to decriminalize cannabis in 2015, the government also made the decision to approve a measure that legalized medical cannabis.

Under the act, possession of cannabis for medical or therapeutic purposes is now completely legal if the patient has permission from their doctor. You can also legally purchase medical cannabis in Jamaica if you’ve already been prescribed it in another jurisdiction.

Illnesses covered in Jamaica are much wider than other countries, and you can be prescribed medical cannabis for insomnia, anxiety, and nausea.

South America

South American countries are more accepting of cannabis use for medical and recreational use. In fact, many nations in this region have decriminalised cannabis possession, but the sale and cultivation of it remains illegal here.

Czech Republic

Medical cannabis has been legal in the Czech Republic since 2013. Find out more about medical cannabis use in Europe, here.

Mexico

In 2019, Mexico legalized cannabis for medical use. Now, three years later, lawmakers in Mexico approved a bill to legalize recreational cannabis too.

Peru

In November 2017, Peru enacted the Cannabis Law which allows individuals and legal entities to use, investigate, produce, import, and commercialize cannabis and its derivatives, which are destined exclusively for medical and therapeutic purposes.

Uruguay

Cannabis is legal for medical and recreational use in Uruguay; however pharmacies have to follow strict procedures. Surprisingly, cannabis is illegal in the Netherlands, and specifically Amsterdam. However, it is widely tolerated by Dutch authority.

Have You Been Prescribed/Recommended Medical Cannabis?

Many countries have now legalized cannabis for medical use. So, if you are suffering from pain and symptoms that you believe could be treated by medical cannabis, contact your GP or a specialist for more information.

Please be advised that this article is for general informational purposes only and should not be used as a substitute for advice from a trained medical professional. Be sure to consult a medical professional or healthcare provider if you’re seeking medical advice, diagnoses, or treatment. We are not liable for risks or issues associated with using or acting upon the information on this site.

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