Are you a marijuana tourist? It’s no secret the whiff of weed is spreading across the globe, as more countries decriminalize the possession of small quantities of cannabis. So, if you are going to travel internationally, you better consider where weed is prohibited and where countries are weed-friendly. The following countries are among the world’s most marijuana-friendly, supporting policies that include decriminalization, legalization for medical uses, and recreational use.
The Netherlandshas become the psychological destination for cannabis tourists. People may hold up to 5 grams of grass for use in public or their “coffee shops” without fear of criminal charge although it can be confiscated under police emergency. Sale has been decriminalized in their coffee shops. And, residents can raise up to five plants, but transport of the product is illegal in unenforced in the coffee shops.
Spain has decriminalized possession and use of weed in certain autonomous areas, but you may be cited with an administrative fine. Possession of 70 – 100 grams is deemed possession with the intent to deal. Selling in public is a criminal offense, but you can buy in Spain’s private “420 Clubs.” Carrying has been decriminalized, and you can raise cannabis for your own use – if the plants are not visible from the street.
South Africahas no restrictions on personal use or home cultivation. But, sale and transport remain illegal. And, Chile and Jamaica permit residents to grow marijuana.
Portugal is extremely progressive in its treatment of drug offenses, and became the first country in the world to decriminalize all drug use (for personal consumption) in 2001, opting instead to treat drug use as a sickness and enforce treatment rather than punishment.
Marijuana has been decriminalized in Chile since 2007, allowing for minimal punishment for the personal consumption, possession and cultivation of the drug in private locations. Despite the “private” stipulation, it’s still extremely common to find marijuana in many of the country’s bars and beaches.
Jamaica has long been considered a haven for weed smokers (thanks in large part to Bob Marley) but in fact the cultivation, selling, and consumption of marijuana is illegal, albeit decriminalized as of October 2013. Regardless of the law, marijuana is often sold openly and is extremely easy to come by, and the tourism industry heavily markets ganja tours and other marijuana-related activities.
Uruguay is the only nation where possession and use of medical and recreational marijuana is fully legal. It does restrict purchase to those residents of Uruguay who are over 18. The grass must be raised by authorized farmers, and buyers must register with authorities. The LA Times reported, “The country now has many legal cannabis clubs, which pool resources to grow copious amounts of marijuana and distribute it to registered, paying members — no doctor’s note required — who can then smoke where they please.” But, tourists cannot secure the legal registration and will be turned away from clubs.
All other nations have some restrictions, whether enforced or not, that you’ll want to know about before planning your tour.
Mexico can lay claim to the word marijuana, slang for cannabis. It translates from Spanish to “Mary Jane.” America can thank Mexico for this “highly” creative play on words. As of 2009, holding and the recreational use of less than five grams of pot is legal in Mexico, although in a country said to be largely run by drug-trade bribery, it’s easy to push the limits. Recently, lawmakers proposed decriminalizing (but not legalizing) the personal possession and usage of pot in Mexico City.
Australia bans sale and transportation of marijuana across the country. But, medical and scientific uses are legal, and personal use and cultivation of one or two plants for personal use have been decriminalized – in Northern Territory, South Australia, and Australian Capital Territory. These territories cover most tourist destinations, and enforcement across the vast nation beyond these designated areas is virtually impossible.
Argentina perhaps its the influence of neighboring Uruguay and Peru, but Argentina is practically on the verge of legalizing marijuana. At the end of 2013, the country’s anti-drug czar called for a pragmatic discussion on the matter. Argentina’s Supreme Court ruled that it is unconstitutional to legislate personal lifestyle decisions, therefore public consumption and possession of drugs to a very limited degree is acceptable.
Brazil prohibits, “The possession of cannabis in any amount (even the smallest quantity for personal usage), smoking, trading, and cultivation” according to Marijuana Tours. Highly placed judicial powers are pushing for stronger laws, but depending on the location, the police may or may not be lenient in implementing laws that lead to arrest, fine, and/or imprisonment.
Czech Republic has become a favorite destination for millennials, but it has restrictions on marijuana possession and use. Inside or outside Prague, you can carry up to 15 grams in a decriminalized climate. Sale of medical marijuana is legal; sale for other purposes is still illegal. Transportation and farming are illegal. But, they have decriminalized transport of up to 15 grams of licensed medical marijuana and up to 5 plants for licensed personal medical use. Kushtourism says, “it’s generally easy for individuals to find people at bars, clubs, or concerts that will discreetly sell small amount of marijuana…there is not a big cause for concern about arrest.”
India officially bans marijuana, but it has been legalized or decriminalized in the states of Bihar, Gujrat, Odisha, West Benghal, and the North East. And, these are the states that attract most travelers.
Though it’s not actually permissible in Cambodia, pot is allegedly very accessible. Cannabis is available for purchase all over the country, especially in areas backpackers frequent, and can be smoked in public with few ramifications. “Green Light” districts have been set up through police bribery where consumption is rampant, and many restaurants will cook the herb on pizza or with other dishes!
Any canna-tourist knows that some places are very tolerant even though their stance is officially prohibitive. You will find smokers fairly common in Costa Rica, Italy, Ecuador, and Puerto Rico where it has been decriminalized.