Austria’s marijuana laws are complicated but more tolerant than a number of countries on the continent. Reforms went into effect in 2016 that decriminalized possession of small quantities of cannabis for personal use. In 2008, cannabis byproducts for medicinal use (CBPMs) were legalized through an amendment to the Narcotic Substances Act. That said, access to medical cannabis is still quite restricted in the country, and while marijuana-derived medications like Dronabinol and Sativex are legal, they are not often prescribed. In addition, in 2019 the country banned the sale of CBD for cosmetics and food products.

Learn more about cannabis laws in Austria.


Although adult-use cannabis is not legal, Croatia has a relatively progressive approach to cannabis laws. Since 2013, the possession of cannabis for personal use is considered a misdemeanor and punishable by a fine of between €650-2,600. In 2015, the country legalized the use of cannabis for medical purposes. In 2019, the country approved the cultivation of hemp for medical purposes.

Learn more about cannabis laws in Croatia.


In 2001, the Belgian government ended the prosecution of people who grow a cannabis plant for personal use. In 2003, cannabis was set apart from other narcotics with a special set of guidelines around its use. These new decriminalization guidelines mean that unproblematic users who weren’t a public nuisance would not be prosecuted. This changed in 2015 when, in response to increased use by younger Belgians, laws were updated to criminalize possession of more than three grams. However, in the same year, medicinal cannabis products, such as Sativex, were made available in pharmacies for specific conditions.

Cannabis laws to know in Belgium: Personal cultivation and consumption of a single female marijuana plant, for medicinal reasons, has been legal since 2019. However, it is still generally illegal to consume or sell. Cannabis use near schools is a serious offense and can be met with fines of €8,000 to €800,000 (approximately $9,000 to $900,000) and three months to a year in prison.


Although adult-use cannabis is not legal, Croatia has a relatively progressive approach to cannabis laws. Since 2013, the possession of cannabis for personal use is considered a misdemeanor and punishable by a fine of between €650-2,600. In 2015, the country legalized the use of cannabis for medical purposes. In 2019, the country approved the cultivation of hemp for medical purposes.

Learn more about cannabis laws in Croatia.


Recreational marijuana is not legal in Cyprus, but there is a medical cannabis program. In 2019, Cypriot lawmakers approved a law legalizing the possession, import and export, and cultivation of marijuana for medical use

Learn more about cannabis laws in Cyprus.

Czech Republic

The Czech Cabinet is considering a draft plan to establish a regulated recreational cannabis market. A final proposal is expected in March, and it would go into effect in 2024, if enacted, Radio Prague International reports. Medical marijuana has been legal in the country since 2017. Recreational use is already widespread, with nearly 10 percent of Czech adults reporting regular consumption. And officials are looking to coordinate efforts with their counterparts in Berlin.

“At the moment, there is a political consensus for me to create this proposal for the regulation of cannabis,” the country’s anti-drug coordinator Jindřich Vobořil said at a press conference last month. “We believe that this regulation will be more effective than the current ban.”

Although recreational cannabis is illegal in the Czech Republic, is it legal for medicinal purposes. Currently, prescriptions from specialized doctors can allow for up to 180 grams of dry cannabis to be obtained each month (approximately 6 grams a day). The cultivation of up to five marijuana plants per individual is now permitted, although only if they are deemed to be for personal use. Generally, cannabis use is tolerated in public, as long as you are considerate and discreet. However, if you meet the wrong police officer you might end up with a fine.

Cannabis laws to know in Czech Republic: Though decriminalized, civil fines of up to 15,000 CZK ($688) may be imposed for possession of more than 10 grams of cannabis or 5 grams of cannabis resin, although the cost of the fine is frequently much lower. Possession of larger amounts is not decriminalized and can lead to criminal charges of intent to distribute. Minor offenders may receive a year in prison, however, cannabis traffickers can be sentenced to between two and 18 years.


Cannabis is illegal in Denmark for recreational use. Medical use has been allowed since 2011, though prescriptions are generally only prescribed to eliminate pain, nausea, and muscle stiffness in patients suffering from cancer or multiple sclerosis.

A tiny, liberal commune known as Freetown Christiania, which sprang up in the 1970s, is well known for its cannabis trade. Adjacent to Copenhagen, Christiania is a vibrant community with its own schools and theaters, as its own set of laws.” While Christiania has never officially been recognized by the Danish government, the people of Christinia regularly use and sell cannabis. The famous Pusher Street, or Green Light District, is a long road lined with stalls selling many varieties of cannabinoids. Whether you prefer grinding your own supply or need a pre-rolled product, you can find it here. This liberal mindset makes Christinia a busy tourist attraction. The catch in this wonderful scenario is that cannabis is still illegal, so at any moment a police patrol or raid may occur. Fortunately, tourists with small amounts usually have to face, at worst, a small fine of around 520 DKK (about $80).For possession to be considered trafficking, the offender must have around 10kg of cannabis. Denmark legalized medical marijuana in 2018, though access has been limited and the only products available are Sativex and Marinol.

more than 40 percent have tried “hash” in their life, a recent report found. Many users probably obtained their goods in Copenhagen’s Bohemian Christiana District, which is known for its open sale of cannabis.

Cannabis laws to know in Denmark: Although selling and consuming cannabis is illegal in Denmark, cannabis can be found in Freetown Christiania. While you may find what you need in the community’s Green Light District, be aware that police may unexpectedly appear.


The use of marijuana for medical purposes was approved in Estonia in 2005, but the country’s medical marijuana program has yet to get off the ground. Cannabis remains illegal in the country for recreational purposes, but possession is typically punished by a simple fine.

Learn more about cannabis laws in Estonia.


France has some of the most strict cannabis laws in Europe. It’s illegal to possess, grow, sell, or distribute cannabis, and medical marijuana is also illegal (the first trials for medical use in France began in mid-2021). This is despite the fact that, by some accounts, France has one of the highest rates of cannabis users in the EU. French president Emmanuel Macron is emphatically against legalization of any kind. Penalties for possession and use include fines and imprisonment.

Cannabis laws to know in France: Cannabis is illegal in all forms in France.

Recreational use of marijuana remains illegal in the country, but possession has effectively been decriminalized since 2018, when a €200 fine was enacted for offenses.


The biggest step toward legalization Finland has taken is still a comparatively small one. In 2019, a public initiative collected more than 59,000 signatures in favor of decriminalizing the personal use of cannabis, clearing a threshold that would require parliament to consider the initiative in its current term that ends in 2023. But currently there is another citizens’ initiative running that goes further. It demands to legalize, regulate and tax recreational cannabis. Supporters need to collect 50,000 signatures by April 20, 2023 to force the Finish parliament to discuss legalization.

But support among the political parties in Finland is thin. Only one governing coalition party, the Green League, has so far backed cannabis legalization. But even there, a vote at a party conference was almost perfectly split, with 183 in favor and 181 against. Since that vote, however, the Green League has grown more comfortable with a pro-weed stance. This spring, the party added legalization to its party platform.

In terms of punishment, Finland is on the more lenient side. If a person is caught smoking a joint in Helsinki, odds that a prison sentence awaits are low, and a fine is more likely.


In Germany, recreational cannabis use is currently illegal, albeit decriminalized. You may receive a prescription for medicinal cannabis if you are seriously ill and have no other therapeutic alternative. Despite this, Berlin is filled with many liberal young adults who regularly use cannabis, and you can often find the canal-side parks filled with groups of friends smoking and drinking beers in the warmer months. While its decriminalized nature means that police tend to look the other way if you’re not causing trouble, it is currently against the law.

Germany wants to decriminalize the purchase and ownership of small amounts of cannabis under a long-awaited blueprint. That delivers on an election promise by the center-left coalition which came to power last year. Under the proposal, cannabis could be sold in licensed shops and potentially also pharmacies while advertising would be banned. To avoid international legal friction, importing cannabis would be prohibited.

However, the recreational cannabis legalization law still needs to pass parliament. Until then, there is plenty of time for politicians and lobby interests to battle it out over details of the proposal, which was approved on Oct. 26 by the three-party ruling alliance led by Chancellor Olaf Scholz.

The ban on importing weed, for instance, is almost certain to be challenged. That’s because it’s unlikely that Germany will be able to meet the estimated demand of 400 tons of weed at home. That could leave the door wide open to illegal sellers that the government wants to put out of business through legalization. It would also require international cannabis companies to go through a lengthy certification process so they can grow and market their products in Germany.

The issues of online retail and cannabis coffee shops still need to be revisited, too. While coffee shops could create “a high level of protection by expert personnel,” the draft paper is more skeptical about online retail, particularly due to concerns that it will be difficult to prevent kids from buying products.

Germany will run its blueprint past the European Commission to establish whether it is in line with existing commitments aimed at curbing the illegal narcotics trade and drug tourism, Health Minister Karl Lauterbach said last month. Only if the European Union executive backs it will legislation follow, possibly in early 2023. How Germany fares is being closely watched by other European countries considering their own reforms.

Cannabis laws to know in Germany: Recreational cannabis use is currently illegal in Germany, however, persons caught with small amounts of cannabis may not be prosecuted if they are discreet and are not a public nuisance.

(anything between around 6 to 15 grams depending on the region) are typically not prosecuted.Generally, across Germany, you may possess up to six grams, although that may vary depending on the state. In Berlin, you may frequently be let off with a warning or seizure of your drugs by the police if you are caught with up to 10 grams.


Medical marijuana has been legal in Greece since 2017, but recreational use remains prohibited. Cannabis is available with a prescription for a variety of conditions, including pain, epilepsy and PTSD. But the industry was also legalized to provide an economic boost to the country from medical marijuana exports, according to Reuters.

Recreational legalization is not actively being debated in Greece, though the country remains a thoroughfare for the continent’s illicit cannabis industry. A lot of cannabis flows across the Albanian-Greek border, according to the BBC.


Recreational cannabis is illegal in Ireland, though possession for the first or second offense is rarely punished with more than a fine. In 2019 the country launched a medical cannabis program and approved two medical CBD products for sale to qualifying patients. In 2016, the parents of a child in Ireland were granted approval by the minister for health to use cannabis oil to treat his epilepsy.

Learn more about cannabis laws in Ireland.


While the use of recreational cannabis is illegal in Italy, Law 79, introduced in 2014, classes cannabis as a decriminalized, low-danger drug. Additionally, ‘light marijuana’ may be purchased in some stores across Italy but it only has a THC content of up to 0.5 percent.

Medicinal cannabis was legalized in Italy in 2013. Those suffering from chronic pain and conditions including cancer, multiple sclerosis, and Tourette syndrome can be prescribed cannabis. However, users needed to buy imported products that could cost them up to €50 ($57) a gram. The Italian Ministry of Health only authorized the first Italian company, Bio Hemp Farming, to grow medicinal cannabis in 2021.

Possession of cannabis for personal use in Italy is largely decriminalized, and subject to administrative sanctions such as the suspension of a driver’s license or a fine. In 2019, Italy’s highest court ruled that growing small amounts of marijuana at home for personal use is not a crime. 

Cannabis laws to know in Italy: Possession of up to 1.5 grams is not considered a felony. Although you will not be prosecuted, the law is upheld in a range of ways, depending on the mood of the police officer who catches you. Some may give you a warning or seize your stash, some may give you a fine, and some police may confiscate your passport or driver’s license. Anyone caught selling cannabis may receive a fine of up to €75,000 (about $85,000).


Medical cannabis has been legal in Lithuania in 2018, but the program is limited and has run into issues. There is no recreational cannabis in Lithuania, but small possession and personal use are administrative offenses punishable by a fine or community service.

In 2013, the country legalized growing industrial hemp.

Learn more about cannabis laws in Lithuania.


In 2001, Luxembourg decriminalized cannabis and replaced prison sentences with a fine that can range between €250 and €2,500 (about $283 to $2,830). Luxembourg legalized medicinal in 2017, primarily for patients who have illnesses that don’t respond to traditional treatments. In 2021, the Luxembourg government officially legalized the cultivation of up to 4 cannabis plants per household for personal recreational use.

Cannabis laws to know in Luxembourg: You can now legally cultivate up to four plants in your residence, indoors or outdoors, for personal use if you are over 18. Currently, you may only consume cannabis in private, but if you are caught in the possession of under three grams in public you may only be fined as little as €25 ($28). However, any more than that and you may be charged with intent to distribute and face far more serious consequences.

The country legalized medical cannabis in 2018. While Luxembourg has yet to legalize adult-use, possession is decriminalized for a first offense. The country also hosted a summit to discuss cannabis policy with Germany, Malta and the Netherlands


The island nation legalized recreational possession and cultivation in December of 2021. Eventually, the country will adopt a system of non-profit associations to regulate cannabis sales.

Under Malta’s law, adults 18 and older can possess up to 7 grams of cannabis, cultivate as many as four plants and store up to 50 grams at home. However, there are still fines and criminal penalties for people caught with more than the permitted amounts. Malta started allowing doctors to prescribe medical marijuana in 2018.

While the legislation didn’t establish a regulated recreational market, it allows for the establishment of nonprofit cooperatives where individuals can purchase up to 50 grams of product per month.

Cannabis laws to know in Malta: Adults can possess up to seven grams and grow up to four plants. Smoking in public is still illegal, and consuming in front of a child can result in fines of up to €500 (about $564).


While cannabis is not legal for recreational or medical use in Moldova, drug use has been decriminalized. Consuming cannabis is an administrative offense, not a criminal charge. Simple possession of cannabis in small amounts for personal use is punishable by a fine or community service.

Learn more about cannabis laws in Moldova.


Famed throughout the Western world as a haven for cannabis consumers in Europe, the Netherlands does indeed tolerate cannabis use in many of its major cities. However, cannabis is illegal in the Netherlands and, despite its decriminalization, people caught repeatedly or with larger amounts could still face a fine or even prison.

Derived from their 1928 Opium Act, an agreement was made by the Dutch officials known as the Gedoogbeleid, or Tolerance Policy. This meant that people who were using “soft” recreational drugs were tolerated, so long as they weren’t causing harm to themselves or others. Selling cannabis is still illegal, although coffeeshops are permitted to sell cannabis provided they adhere to strict guidelines. Amsterdam is home to many famous coffeeshops, though there have been proposals to ban tourists from the establishments. Medicinal cannabis is also legal, although most prescriptions are for cannabinoid products rather than the actual plant matter.

Cannabis laws to know in the Netherlands: Consuming cannabis is generally tolerated as long as users are discreet and are not being a nuisance. Cannabis use within coffeeshops is permitted and preferred. Using cannabis around children, on public transport, or near schools is far less tolerated and could cause you to face more serious consequences.

North Macedonia

North Macedonia legalized medical marijuana in 2016, and hemp products that contain less than 0.2% THC can be purchased over the counter in the country. Recreational marijuana remains illegal, but the country has considered legalizing adult-use.

Learn more about cannabis laws in North Macedonia.


Although cannabis use is not fully legal, in 2017, it was decriminalized by the Norwegian parliament. A shift in perspective on cannabis use meant that people found with personal use amounts were not a police priority. Moves to further relax cannabis laws have been met with opposition from Norway’s more conservative political parties.

In 2018, the Norwegian Medicines Agency allowed the use of Sativex as a treatment for conditions that can’t be managed using regular methods. Access to this medicinal form of cannabis is highly restricted and Doctors are legally allowed to approve medical cannabis on a case by case basis. 

Cannabis laws to know in Norway: Recreational cannabis use is not legal in Norway, and persons found with less than 15 grams may face a fine of up to 1,500 NOK (approximately $2,500). Cultivation of cannabis is still strictly illegal. Those caught may be charged with intent to distribute and face a fine and a prison sentence of up to two years.


Possession of cannabis is still illegal in Poland, but possession of small amounts for personal use is typically not prosecuted. The country approved a medical cannabis program in 2017 and the country also allows legal hemp cultivation.

Learn more about cannabis laws in Poland.


Portugal pioneered a new set of progressive laws in 2021: the decriminalization of all illicit substances for personal use. While recreational cannabis is still illegal, the Portuguese government understood that drug abuse was a symptom and not an epidemic. By encouraging persons found with illicit substances to attend rehab, and offering support rather than imprisonment, overall drug use dropped across the country.

People possessing up to 25 grams of plant material or 5 grams of hashish will be punished with no more than a fine. However, there are no legal channels through which to purchase the drug for recreational purposes. Medical marijuana has been legal since 2018, requiring a prescription from a doctor. The country has also become a hotbed of cannabis cultivation due to its hospitable climate, with Canadian companies like Tilray and Aurora Cannabis establishing grow operations there.

Cannabis laws to know in Portugal: If you are caught with less than what’s considered a 10-day supply for the first time, you are generally not given any civil penalties. Repeat offenders may be evaluated by legal experts, medical professionals, and social workers to determine if addiction treatment is necessary. Those found to be possessing more than this supply, approximately 25 grams of cannabis or five grams of hash, may be charged with intent to distribute and face serious punishment.


Recreational cannabis possession is illegal in Romania, but the country’s laws view drugs that aren’t “high risk” less severely. Punishment for possession can range from a fine to three months to three years, depending on the type of drug. The country legalized medical cannabis with less than .2% THC in 2013, and in 2019, announced that it is looking into legislation to further legalize medical cannabis.

Learn more about cannabis laws in Romania.

San Marino

Medical: legal, limited
Recreational: illegal

San Marino legalized a limited medical marijuana program in 2016. Patients can purchase cannabis-based medications like Sativex to treat a number of approved conditions including multiple sclerosis and neuropathic pain. In 2019 the Parliament approved a citizen’s proposal to regulate recreational use of cannabis, but backtracked in March 2020, saying they would wait to follow the lead of Italy.

Learn more about cannabis laws in San Marino.


Recreational cannabis is illegal in Slovenia but as of 2014, personal use and possession is not considered a criminal offense. In 2014, Slovenia’s government approved a new regulation which allows the use of cannabis products for medical purposes but the program has had problems with access and only a limited amount of patients have signed up. 

Learn more about cannabis laws in Slovenia.


Spain isn’t as open with cannabis consumption and sales as somewhere like the US or Canada, but it’s also among the most lenient countries in Europe — especially in southern Spain. Private use is permitted at residences and cannabis clubs, and residents can grow up to two plants or become a member at a consumption club in Barcelona or elsewhere. That said, navigating Spain’s cannabis clubs can have its own difficulties for tourists.

Spain was one of the first European countries to decriminalize recreational marijuana use. Since then, different provinces have taken different approaches to distribution of weed. There isn’t a fully legal market, but certain regions have allowed “cannabis clubs” where members are permitted to purchase marijuana under the guise of a co-op. In other parts of Spain, a vibrant illicit economy is still at work, with hashish and marijuana flower from Morocco making its way across the narrow Mediterranean Sea.

Full legalization is supported by a number of political parties in Spain, including the populist Podemos and leftist Más País. But the Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party, the political party in power, broke with other members of the Unidas Podemos coalition and sided with right wing parties to reject a motion brought in 2021 by Más País to legalize.

Cannabis laws to know in Spain: Trafficking or selling cannabis is illegal, and you can have your possessions seized, receive a fine, or be subject to jail time. The cannabis clubs are a loophole similar to Dutch coffeeshops.


Recreational cannabis is illegal in Sweden and medical use is highly restricted. The country approved medical marijuana in 2012, but the program is highly restrictive. In 2017, the country approved two licenses for patients to use a low THC strain of cannabis for chronic pain. Dronabinol and Sativex are available on a strict case by case basis. In Sweden both drug use and possession are illegal.

Learn more about cannabis laws in Sweden.


While not in the EU, Switzerland is still a central European country with promising cannabis laws. Technically, cannabis is currently illegal in Switzerland, but a law starting in 2012 decriminalized the possession of small amounts of cannabis for personal use. Anyone caught with a quantity large enough to be distributed can still face more serious sentencing. Medicinal cannabis use is legal for those suffering from multiple sclerosis or paraplegia, but only in the form of Sativex. “Light marijuana” containing less than 1 percent THC may be legally purchased and consumed.

However, the country is launching a series of pilot projects to test regulated recreational cannabis sales. The first such experiment was slated to begin in Basel in September with 370 individuals who are current cannabis users enrolled. Participants in the study will be able to purchase a half-dozen products from pharmacies, including four flower products with a THC potency ranging from 5 percent to 17 percent. Enrollees are required to fill out a survey every six months about their consumption habits and mental and physical health.

In October 2021, plans were announced for a new law to legalize recreational cannabis use after a parliamentary commission studying recreational use. Whether the law will be passed in 2022 and, if so, how many grams and plants will be within the new legal limit remains to be seen..

Cannabis laws to know in Switzerland: If you are caught with less than 10 grams of cannabis, it’s deemed to be for personal use and you have to pay a flat fine of 100 CHF ($108). Repeat offenders, or those caught with up to four kilograms, have to pay increasingly higher rates that’s calculated according to monthly income. Over four kilograms is deemed as trafficking, which carries penalties of up to three years in prison.


Both recreational and medical cannabis are illegal in Ukraine. According to Ukrainian drug code, possession of a small amount for personal use is an administrative offense, typically punishable by a fine. The country does allow the cultivation of up to 10 hemp plants. In April 2019, President Volodymyr Zelensky (then a candidate running for the office) stated that medical marijuana “is normal” and that he supported limited legalization.

Learn more about cannabis laws in Ukraine.

United Kingdom

The U.K. legalized medical cannabis in 2018, allowing access to the drug in limited circumstances. Only specialists can prescribe cannabis for certain medical conditions, and patients have struggled to access products through the National Health Service.

Some patients have turned to pricey private clinics, where prescriptions are slightly easier to come by. Between 2020 and 2021, the U.K. saw a 425 percent increase in the number of privately prescribed cannabis products, according to Prohibition Partners.

Map showing legal status of medical cannabis across the world. Green is Medical availability, Blue is recreational.