The Global Green Map: Countries Where Cannabis is Legal

Global Green Map (10)

As the green wave of cannabis legalisation sweeps across the globe, keeping up with countries where cannabis is legal can be a challenge. The cannabis industry is dynamic and fast-moving, with constant changes in regulation and unexpected U-turns. This article offers an overview of the legalisation status of cannabis across the globe, reflecting both the economic and societal shifts that shape global markets, to help you stay in the loop.

Looking for a comprehensive list of all countries where cannabis is legal? Scroll to the bottom of this page!

North America: Leading the Charge


In North America, Canada stands out as a pioneer, having legalised cannabis for both medical and recreational use in 2018. This makes Canada one of the few countries with a federally regulated marijuana market, serving as a model for other nations considering similar paths.

In North America, Canada stands out as a pioneer, having legalised cannabis for both medical and recreational use in 2018.

The United States, while not federally legalising cannabis, has seen a significant number of states decriminalise or legalise, either for medical or recreational use. States like California, Colorado, and Massachusetts have robust cannabis industries thanks to their progressive policies. This state-level approach offers diverse business opportunities but can somewhat complicate the landscape for nationwide strategies. There is a lot to learn from how the US cannabis industry has grown, taking into account both the successes and challenges they have encountered in embracing an emerging and dynamic industry.

A heat map of legalisation for the United States, showing the status of legalisation in each state.

Central and South America: Progressive Policies in Play


Uruguay is notable for being the first country globally to fully legalise recreational cannabis in 2013. This small South American country has established a regulated market that includes government control over the production and sale of cannabis.

In addition to Uruguay, other Latin American countries are also reforming their cannabis policies. Mexico, for example, has legalised cannabis for medical use and is on the path to legalising recreationally, which could unlock a large new market.

Europe: A Cautious Yet Expanding Frontier


Europe’s cannabis policy is characterised by a cautious yet forward-moving approach, with growing acceptance from both the public and governments across the continent. Countries like the Netherlands have long tolerated the sale of cannabis in coffee shops and are now moving towards a regulated cultivation system to control the supply chain better, with the introduction of the Dutch cultivation pilot project.

From pilot projects to quasi-legalisation, Europe has seen major changes in cannabis regulation in recent times.

In the past year, Europe has also seen the approval of an adult-use cannabis pilot project in Switzerland, a proposed legalisation bill in the Czech Republic, the legalisation of prescription cannabis for medical use in Greece, and Malta’s first cannabis social club.

Not to mention the biggest news of all, Germany’s quasi-legalisation of cannabis for recreational use, which has sent shockwaves across Europe and beyond. With the dynamic nature of cannabis regulation, we can expect more big updates across Europe as markets continue to expand.

Asia and Oceania: Emerging Markets and Diverse Approaches


Thailand recently made headlines by becoming the first Asian country to decriminalise and allow the cultivation and consumption of cannabis, setting a precedent in a region that has traditionally maintained strict anti-cannabis laws. There is some noise regarding a possible U-turn in Thailand’s policy, although the reality of this remains yet to be seen.

Elsewhere in Asia, Pakistan has been making positive progress with their approach to cannabis. Although illegal recreationally, extracts of cannabis have been legal for industrial and medical purposes since 2020 and as of 2024, Pakistan has launched a regulatory body for cannabis trade to fuel economic growth.

Additionally, there have been positive movements occurring in Japan, with their parliament passing a bill to legalise cannabis-derived medicines.

Australia has legalised medical cannabis and is seeing progressive reforms at the state and territory level concerning recreational cannabis, particularly with recent changes in places like the Australian Capital Territory. In 2023, the Legalising Cannabis Bill 2023 was introduced into the Australian senate, aiming to federally legalise cannabis for recreational use, including growing and supply.

Australia has legalised medical cannabis and is seeing progressive reforms at the state and territory level concerning recreational cannabis.

Africa: The New Frontier


In Africa, the legal status of cannabis varies, but several countries are embracing its economic potential. Lesotho and Zimbabwe have legalised the cultivation of cannabis for medical and industrial purposes and are both nations that have strong potential for the future of commoditized cannabis, having proven routes to market with shipments already having landed in Germany.

South Africa allows private cultivation and consumption following a landmark court ruling. Medical cannabis is also legal in South Africa where patients need a prescription from a licensed doctor. The revenue for the medical cannabis market is estimated to reach around US$55.96m in 2024 and is expected to keep growing over the next 5 years. Private-member social clubs are common in South Africa, although they still operate in a legal grey area.



The global legal landscape for cannabis is ever-evolving, with an increasing number of countries relaxing restrictions and developing regulated markets. For those involved in the cannabis industry, these developments highlight the importance of staying updated on the status of legalisation across the world, as each day can bring something new. This knowledge is crucial not only for compliance but also for tapping into emerging markets and understanding global trends.

The cannabis industry is dynamic and fast-moving, with constant changes in regulation and unexpected U-turns.

The trend towards legalisation is not just about societal acceptance but also economic benefit, as new jobs are created and new markets are opened. As more countries join the ranks of those where cannabis is legal, the opportunities for growth in the cannabis industry look increasingly promising.

Countries Where Cannabis is Legal


Recreational Use:

  • Canada
  • Georgia
  • Germany
  • Luxembourg
  • Malta
  • Mexico
  • South Africa
  • Thailand
  • Uruguay

+ 24 states, 3 territories, and the District of Columbia in the US, and the Australian Capital Territory in Australia.

Medical Use:

  • Albania
  • Argentina
  • Australia
  • Barbados
  • Brazil
  • Canada
  • Chile
  • Colombia
  • Costa Rica
  • Croatia
  • Cyprus
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Ecuador
  • Finland
  • Georgia
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Ireland
  • Israel
  • Italy
  • Jamaica
  • Lebanon
  • Luxembourg
  • Malawi
  • Malta
  • Mexico
  • The Netherlands
  • New Zealand
  • North Macedonia
  • Norway
  • Panama
  • Peru
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Rwanda
  • Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
  • San Marino
  • South Africa
  • Spain
  • Sri Lanka
  • Switzerland
  • Thailand
  • Ukraine
  • UK
  • Uruguay
  • Vanuatu
  • Zambia
  • Zimbabwe

+ 38 states, 4 territories, and the District of Columbia in the US.

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