5 Countries With The Strictest Cannabis Laws

We’ve listed the countries with the strictest weed laws so you know the punishments for everything. From taking to a toke to running a cannabis empire.


An increasingly conservative country, Turkey has relatively strict laws when it comes to drug use. Possession or sale of any illegal drug—notably heroin, cocaine, and marijuana—receives a 4 to 24 year prison sentence.

You will receive a minimum prison sentence of 10 years for selling marijuana, and 15 years for selling to a minor.

With strict norms regarding women’s clothing and homosexuality, it’s no surprise that Turkish authorities are no fan of the ganj.

Unfortunately, as the rule of law declines in Turkey, this nation may earn a more permanent place as on the list of countries with the strictest weed laws.


Indonesia has over 7,000 km of coastline, which makes it almost impossible to stop smugglers from importing heroin, ecstasy, and amphetamines. This does not mean, however, that their drug laws are lax.

Indonesian law divides drugs into three groups, the first comprising most recreational drugs. Unfortunately, marijuana and hashish are lumped into the same category as cocaine, meth, and heroin.

Sentences for possession of these drugs range from four to twelve years in prison. And fines are tens of thousands of US dollars.

If you have over 1kg of marijuana or over 5 grams of cocaine or heroin, you typically receive life imprisonment. Jail time for trafficking any of these substances ranges from 5 to 15 years in prison. The Indonesian Anti-Narcotics Agency can sentence you to death if you traffic more than the above-described quantities.

Though the United States Embassy will help you out if you’re arrested, know that Indonesia has a complicated history when it comes to foreigners and drugs.

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It might be surprising to find France on this list considering its neighbor to the North, but France is unusually tough on marijuana smokers.

According to the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction, “the law itself does not distinguish between possession for personal use or trafficking, or by type of substance.”

This means that French authorities impose jail time for a variety of drug possession offenses. Even a small amount of marijuana could get you in trouble.

Jail sentences are not nearly as long in France as in some other countries on this list of the countries with the strictest weed laws.

A small amount of drugs could land you up to a year in jail, or a thousand euro fine. Larger drug possession charges range from ten years to life.

United Arab Emirates

Drug possession is no joke in the United Arab Emirates. Even carrying residual amounts of any drug, including marijuana, can land you four years in prison, which is the minimum jail sentence. If you’re caught trafficking drugs in the United Arab Emirates, you’re looking at the death penalty. And yes, having detectable levels of any drug in your bloodstream counts as drug possession.

Make sure you’re aware of customs and laws before traveling to the Emirates, one of the countries with the strictest weed laws. Luckily, most people traveling to the Emirates aren’t going for marijuana tourism. Most often, this country’s strict drug laws become a problem for people passing through the airport.


Perhaps a more unexpected country on this list, Japan has some pretty unflinching drug laws. Not only is Japanese weed the most expensive in the world at $58.30 a gram, Japan also has a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to marijuana. Japanese drug users can expect up to 5 years jail time for a first offense.

Laws are much stricter for foreigners in Japan. According to the U.S. State Department, you should expect long jail sentences, significant fines, and solitary confinement.

Not only does Japanese law severely punish drug users, but Japanese Immigration will turn you away if you have prior drug convictions.

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