Everything You Need to Know About the Medicinal Use of Cannabis in Europe



In recent months, you’ve no doubt heard a lot about cannabis legalization in the United States. 

Not only is it becoming legal on a more consistent basis across the states for medical reasons, but it’s also gaining legalization for recreational use. 

However, that’s just in the United States. 

One big question to be asked, especially if you’re planning to travel abroad, is this:

What is the state of cannabis legalization in other countries? Especially in European countries? 

These are important questions.

And in this post, you’re going to learn the answers. 

We’re going to take a look at several prominent European countries and discuss the current legality of marijuana in those areas

Let’s break it down and get into it.

1. France

In France, cannabis-derived medicines are legal—but recreational marijuana is actually illegal. 

France’s first medical marijuana law was passed in 2013. 

With that being said, only cannabis-derived medicines became legal under the law, and they were very difficult to obtain. 

In January of 2021, the country began a program to provide free cannabis treatment to 3000 patients.

However, it is yet to be determined how these tests will turn out.

2. Germany

In Germany, medical marijuana has been legalized and recreational marijuana has largely been decriminalized. 

Germany passed a law allowing medical marijuana in 1998. 

However, their program has expanded significantly since then. 

The recreational possession, cultivation, and sale of cannabis remain illegal though. So, unfortunately, you won’t be able to buy or smoke any marijuana in the street in Germany for recreational purposes. 

3. Ireland

In Ireland, medical marijuana is legal—but recreational marijuana is still illegal. 

In 2019, Ireland actually launched a medical cannabis program in which they approved two different medical CBD products for qualifying patients.

4. Italy

In Italy, medical marijuana is legal to a point—and recreational marijuana has been decriminalized. 

If you’re caught with personal use non-medical marijuana, you can be subject to punishments like losing your driver’s license or getting fined. 

However, in 2019, the courts did rule that growing small amounts of marijuana at home for personal use is not a crime.

So it’s not altogether impossible to use it recreationally, as long as you stick to certain rules. 

5. The Netherlands

In The Netherlands, medical marijuana is legal, and recreational marijuana use has been decriminalized. 

Medical marijuana has actually been legal in The Netherlands since 2003. 

Plus, the company is actually a pretty major producer of medical-grade cannabis. 

Recreational marijuana, however, is a current gray area in the country. 

Marijuana is technically not legal for recreational use in the country. But, it is pretty well tolerated (for the most part). 

It’s also legal for sale in coffee shops. And as long as you possess less than 5 grams, you’ll typically not be prosecuted for it. 

6. Norway

In Norway, medical cannabis has been legalized—but recreational cannabis use has only been decriminalized. 

Recreational marijuana is not legal in Norway—but if you are caught with fewer than 15 grams, you’ll usually only get punished with a fine. 

Doctors are now allowed to approve medical cannabis in Norway on a case-by-case basis. 

7. Spain

In Spain, both medical and recreational marijuana is still illegal. 

With that being said, it’s also decriminalized for personal at-home use and cultivation. 

There are also some areas of the country that operate with a bit more leeway. 

But for the most part, it’s just not legal—though using it personally isn’t always that big of a legal issue. 

8. Sweden

In Sweden, medical marijuana has been legalized (though it is still highly restricted), and recreational cannabis use is illegal. 

9. Switzerland

In Switzerland, medical marijuana is legal, while recreational use has been decriminalized. 

In other words, if you’re caught with less than 10 grams of recreational weed, you’ll probably only get a fine. 


There you have it. 

Everything you need to know about how different European countries handle marijuana laws. 

As you can see, the whole world is slowly opening up to cannabis. 

But it’ll still take some time! 

So always be sure to research local laws before trying to buy or possess any cannabis—especially if you’re in an area where you aren’t sure about the legality. 

You’ve got this!

Now get out there and have an adventure!