As we’re already well into 2019, the cannabis industry has reached a spectacular stage of development.
In fact, both the advance of cannabis technologies and legalization across the globe have started to shape the reality of the future in profound and meaningful ways that are bound to change the course of history forever.
Despite being violently restricted, regulated and categorized as a Schedule 1 Drug for over a century in the U.S. alone, marijuanization is here to stay. Most noteworthy, the new rise of accessibility and a better understanding of the miraculous recreational and medical benefits of the herb are paving the path towards a never-seen-before, holistic approach to health and well-being.
Whether it comes to investing in the growing cannabis business niche, figuring out if it would be a good idea to light one up while on a trip in a foreign country or if you are one of the cannabis connoisseurs who carry an open, curious mind hungry for the latest, hottest trends, we have got you covered.
Join us below and let’s write history together, bud buddies.
The Ultimate List of Marijuana Friendly Countries
When thinking about where weed is legal across the world, it can get quite perplexing whether or not you’re likely to get into trouble based on the local laws.
Fortunately, bright days are coming for all of us, marijuana aficionados and medical marijuana patients alike, as we are finally being granted the opportunity to regain our sacred rights to consume the green medication in a broad range of countries throughout the globe.
Get your bucket list checked with the awesome bits of useful information we’ve compiled for you below.
The homeland of the Amazon jungle, the mesmerizing Galápagos Islands and the breathtaking Andean highlands, Ecuador seems like a wonderful destination for the lovers of nature, adventures, and, nonetheless, cannabis.
Now, don’t get things wrong – cannabis is still considered illegal in Ecuador, as far as selling and growing are concerned.
However, you are free to carry up to10 grams of cannabis for personal use (and, respectively, consume it), as long as you don’t get too perky about your cannabis consumption. In a nutshell, Ecuador is one of the rather chilled out cannabis-friendly countries on this list.
Jamaica and marijuana? This one is a no brainer, right?! Indeed, ever since 2015, weed has been fully decriminalized in Jamaica.
As a matter of fact, Rastafarians are well-known for being allowed to use unlimited quantities of cannabis without being faced with any repercussions.
But more importantly, you don’t have to be a Rastafarian to lay your hands on top-notch, Jamaican nuggets. A casual walk on the beach will most certainly get you bumped into locals that will gladly ask if you need some of the green medication. Blissfully, ganja fits merely perfectly into the big picture while roaming the incredible reef-lined beaches and fully enjoying the beauty of life!
If you’re planning on a visit to Machu Picchu or any of the whimsical spots Peru has to offer, do mind that weed fits into kind of a double standard in this country.
Many weed-related questions are yet to be addressed in the foreseeable future but as of now, both growing and selling is forbidden. However, if you stay away from the public radar (meaning no weed smoking in public places or whatsoever), you can feel free to enjoy the herb. Then again, just be discreet about it, and you’d be good to go.
The Caribbean seashore lines of Belize can easily grab your heart for eternity.
But what’s even better for us, cannabis consumers is that the government of Belize was so kind to finally decriminalize the possession of up to 10 grams of marijuana for personal use in 2017.
However, similarly to the cannabis consumption culture in Peru, do make sure you only consume the green medication in private zones, away from the public radar.
By 2020, New Zealand is about to hold a national referendum intended to set the debate over whether or not adult use of cannabis will finally become legal.
Most experts are very optimistic about the outcome of the important national referendum so let’s keep our fingers crossed that we are all about to be able to freely enjoy the herb when visiting the homeland of glaciation and volcanoes.
But before the referendum takes place and new regulations are finally set, please, do mind that recreational marijuana remains illegal in New Zealand. Rule breakers can face penalties ranging from $500 fines for cannabis possession and up to 14 years imprisonments for distribution and growing.
England-based experts Steve Rolles, who is a senior policy analyst at a global drug law reform organization, shares high hopes about the bright future of cannabis in South Africa.
Moreover, September 2018 marked a new beginning in South Africa’s journey towards cannabis legalization. Thanks to what the South Africa’s Supreme Court ruled, cannabis consumption is now considered legal, and so is growing cannabis for personal use. However, both growing, as well as consumption isstrictly allowed only in private settings, away from the public.
After Uruguay, Canada was the second country to officially fully legalize cannabis for medicinal, as well as recreational purposes.
The date of triumph for cannabis legalization in Canada – October 17, 2018 – is believed to be one of the most important steps for freeing the weed not merely on a national but on a global level.
Many countries (including the U.S.) are now looking towards Canada’s example and how the government manages the rapidly expanding cannabis industry. While both local citizens, as well as foreigners, are allowed to consume weed in public (including but not limited to parks and other public settings), don’t forget that there are certain rules regarding possession limits and consumption that you want to respect.
Unauthorized cannabis sales are illegal, even if you sell the herb to somebody else without a profit or a loss. Nonetheless, if you’re planning to visit Canada and blaze one up, don’t forget to research the local rules set by the municipality you are about to travel to. According to Canada’s laws regarding cannabis use, all municipalities/ provinces are free to determine how, how much and whether cannabis products can be distributed and sold.
Considering Mexico’s amazing trace in the cannabis culture (the first ones to introduce smoking weed recreationally to the USA were Mexicans!), as well as the country’s vibrant, spirited customs and tourists-friendly attractions to enjoy, it almost seems as if Mexico and marijuana simply go hand in hand.
The first big step towards marijuana legalization in Mexico was made in 2009 when in a sensible attempt to put a stop on the ravaging rates of corruption and drug wars violence, the possession of small amounts of marijuana (and other drugs) was decriminalized.
As of now, using and/or possessing up to 5 grams of weed in Mexico is not punished by jail time or any fines. However, both selling and growing cannabis are still illegal.
But earlier than most of us could even possibly imagine, Mexico is bound to change the way cannabis use, distribution, and cultivation are treated. The wave of momentum behind cannabis legalization is a much-needed, inevitable step the government has been undertaking ever since 2015 to defuse drug violence.
The horizons look brighter and clearer than ever, as the current members of Mexico’s government are pro-marijuana legalization.
For a start, the former President Vicente Fox labels himself a soldier in the global marijuana legalization campaign to legalize marijuana. In 2018, Vicente Fox joined High Times’ venerable cannabis publication board of directors, so now he has an excellent platform and a wide audience to advance the cannabis legalization-related discussions.
What’s more, with the blessing of President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (controlling the houses of Mexico’s Congress), the incoming interior minister Olga Sanchez Cordero stated that she determined to push for broad marijuana legalization.
With all of this in mind, experts believe that Mexico is about to debate and, subsequently, regulate, their domestic cannabis market by 2019/2020.
The United States
Without any doubt, cannabis legalization in the USA is on the rise. However, the state-by-state laws regarding cannabis possession, use, and cultivation do widely vary. As of now, even CBD is still technically illegal!
On the bright side, the US seems to be the next “promised land” for recreational and medical cannabis consumers alike. But on the downside, do make sure not to take marijuana consumption, possession and/or distribution for granted.
In some states, you can smoke as much as you want without getting into trouble. In other states, though, even medical marijuana patients are not 100% free in choosing the way they want to ingest the green medication (smoking the herb is technically illegal for medical marijuana users in some states). And finally, in some states, getting caught with even a tiny amount of pot can get you thrown up in jail (no joke on that matter).
Your best move? Always get familiar with the state-by-state rules regarding cannabis in the USA before you attempt to light one up.
The rainforested country of Costa Rica (about a quarter of the total territory of Costa Rica consists of protected jungle) is a spectacular place to enjoy cannabis as volcanoes, beaches, and the stunning wildlife diversity make up for a truly one-of-a-kind cannaperience.
Even though cannabis is still technically illegal in Costa Rica, smoking cannabis is very, very common. Most of the tourists (and locals alike) are super comfortable lighting up a joint right on the beach, so nobody is really into keeping cannabis consumption limited strictly to the privacy of hotel/hostel rooms.
While being (technically) illegal, getting you caught smoking cannabis in Costa Rica does not carry legal penalties.
Laos and cannabis have a kind of awkward relationship. But while we dare to call this relationship awkward, don’t associate this term with anything negative.
Weed is culturally well-accepted in Laos, and even though it is technically illegal, it’s not uncommon to come across meals labeled as “happy” – the discreet term for cannabis-infused. The cannabis policy in Laos is not enforced but it would be best not to be intrusive with your cannabis consumption, meaning limiting marijuana use to the privacy of your hotel/hostel room.
For nearly a decade, Argentina’s laws regarding recreational marijuana use and possession are very kind to the cannasociety. In a nutshell, you can rest assured that you will not end up arrested for possession of recreational pot in Argentina.
As a matter of fact, Argentinapassed a law allowing medical marijuana patients to receive the green medication for free– an unparalleled step that took place in March 2017.
Similarly to Laos, Cambodia is well-known for having a deep relationship with cannabis on a cultural level. Nonetheless, weed is simply omnipresent in Cambodia, and it is also super cheap! Then again, while still being technically illegal, you can enjoy fantastic cannabis-infused meals labeled as “happy” meals.
In 2017, Germany introduced a unique, expanded program regarding cannabis import as it officially started importing medical marijuana from Canada. What’s more, medical marijuana patients can pick their licenses straight from pharmacies.
Recreational cannabis legalization in Germany has not taken place yet but as long as you are careful and discreet about your cannabis consumption, you can have a wunderbar time.
India is one of the countries that have a very rich, deep history of cannabis consumption.
Similarly to Cambodia and Laos, it is fair to state that weed in India is culturally accepted and widely tolerated.
However, before you dive in your enjoy-my-cannabis-in-India adventure, do mind that ganja (the most popular Indian term for weed) remains illegal on a federal level.
Anyway, there are several states that have set their very own, pro-cannabis laws on consumption, possession, and sale. Plus, if you visit India during any of the major local holidays (and especially during the Holi festival), weed will be overflowing as it is a major part of the religious celebrations, some of the most popular forms being the local cannabis-infused drink bhang, as well as the unique cannabis concentrate known as charas.
As of now, recreational cannabis use, as well as cultivation for either medicinal or recreational purposes are still deemed illegal in Poland.
But on the bright side, there seems to be light at the end of the tunnel. Health authorities have managed to partially legalize medical marijuana. Thus, various medical marijuana products are now legally imported to Poland from other countries.
One of the most incredible countries for the lovers of tropical adventures, unspoiled beach coastlines, crystal water and some of the tastiest local treats on the planet, the Philippines has made a major step in legalizing medical marijuana.
As of March 2019, the HB 6517 has been into the spotlights of the debates of the Philippines’ House of Representatives. Experts are positive that once (hopefully) approved, the country will fully legalize medical marijuana in all forms of use. The next big step expected would be the legalization of recreational cannabis, especially when keeping in mind the Philippines’ tourism potential that can be further greatly benefited by cannabis tourism.
Ever since 2016, the small Balkan country of Macedonia located in Eastern Europe has fully legalized medical marijuana, unlike many of its neighboring countries.
Due to the favorable meteorological conditions and the fertile land in the region, Macedonia has become one of the trailblazing countries attracting the interest of international investors.
Cannabis production in Macedonia is regulated by federal authorities being in charge of issuing the needed licenses, as well as selecting operators accordingly.NYSK Holdings (US-based) has been among the first foreign companies to tap into Macedonia’s medical marijuana cultivation and production potential.
Israel has been the very heart of cannabis research for a very long time, and in fact, it continues to be the most advanced center for cannabis-related research globally.
With this in mind, it comes as no surprise that medical marijuana was fully legalized in Israel all the way back in the 1990s. Doing so allowed for scientists and researchers to team up in studying the amazing properties of the herb without being faced with the multiple restrictions and regulations that block the successful investigation of the plants’ benefits in other countries.
It wasn’t before 2004 when the Israel government approved the start of a series of experiments involving THC as a possible treatment for PTSD in military members.
Also, while roaming the streets of Tel Aviv, you can enjoy highest-quality CBD-infused ice cream.
Nowadays, patients can get access to green medication by having their prescriptions easily filled in medical centers or company stores. However, it is good to keep in mind that even though the locals would respect your sacred rights to medicate with cannabis, using marijuana for recreational purposes remains a taboo as it is considered not to be a kosher practice.
Despite all the tremors and challenges on the domestic political scene, Turkey has made a big step when it comes to marijuana. In 2016, medical cannabis was successfully legalized.
As of now, there seems to be a little indication of whether or not the Turkish government would be willing to take the next big step into legalizing marijuana for recreational purposes.
Up-to-date, cannabis cultivation is permitted only in select provinces.
However, there are important exceptions on that matter as the government can approve for any province to host cannabis cultivation facilities as long as the herb in these facilities is about to be used for scientific research purposes. The government has full control over the needed licenses, and these are issued for a period of 3 years validity.
The beautiful Caribbean island of Puerto Rico has become a medical marijuana-friendly destination ever since 2015. The first dispensaries started operating in early 2017.
Up to the present day, only groups who have been approved and licensed by the US government are allowed to cultivate medical cannabis in Puerto Rico.
Greece has finally legalized the use of medical marijuana in 2017. However, it took the government almost a full year before the ban on cannabis cultivation, as well as the production of cannabis products were successfully lifted.
The Greek government has issued only two licenses as of March 2018, however, it quickly started gaining speed on that note by issuing 12 more licenses by the end of 2018.
The country’s approach to cannabis cultivation remains conservative, though, as, in 2018, the deputy economy minister Stergios Pitsiorlas stated that the local cannabis industry is “export-oriented,” as shared by Reuters.
While the indications of legalizing recreational marijuana are still vague, considering the country’s need to boost tourism-related income, many experts believe that the next step for Greece is none other but lifting the ban on recreational pot, too.
Currently, there is no other country that can compare to Uruguay’s holistic, futuristic, and humanistic approach to marijuana use.
Plus, no other country has made such a tremendous advance in developing the cannabis tourism niche. Bud & Breakfast experiences have become a real blast in Uruguay, and we couldn’t imagine it any other way!
Uruguay is the very first country to fully legalize cannabis for anyone aged 18+. The only thing people in Uruguay need to do in order to buy, sell or grow weed is to register with the government.
By 2017, commercial weed has become widely available to anyone looking forward to consuming it, no matter if it comes to recreational or medicinal purposes. Indeed, Uruguay’s spectacular approach to cannabis is writing history, building the future that all liberals crave for.
Colombia has a long history related to the drug trade.
While this has cast negative associations at the very mention of the country for some, the truth is, the seemingly bad drug trade glory has given the local community, as well as the local government a great perspective when it comes to whether or not marijuana should be treated as equally harmful as various other psychoactive substances.
That’s exactly why cannabis is not treated like another dangerous drug in Columbia.
Back to almost 10 years from now, Colombia has decriminalized the use and possession of up to 20 grams of cannabis. Anyway, marijuana remains illegal to grow or sell in Columbia, except for growing on a small-scale for private use, which allows to cultivate up to 20 cannabis plants. Keeping in mind the favorable climate, these plants are bound to reach monstrous sizes (which is why we must admit we are slightly envious, our dear Colombian bud buddies.)
While recreational marijuana is not officially legalized in Australia, fortunately, possession is decriminalized (in most regions), meaning no actual penalties or jail time threatening those who are caught smoking or simply carrying marijuana around for private use.
In any case, it is best to avoid being too obtrusive by smoking/vaping at inappropriate public spots and/or settings.
Thumbs up for the fact that Australia has been at the very forefront of cannabis research, as well as cannabis commercialization. For more than two years now, medical marijuana has been completely legalized. Way to go, canna-Aussies!
As of now, you most probably don’t have North Korea on your bucket list because of some quite obvious reasons.
However, for those who may be curious about how things regarding marijuana legalization in North Korea are going, we have the following answer: just like everything else, pretty messy.
On the one hand, smoking wild-grown, local cannabis is rather well culturally accepted, and is, in fact, a practice that is quite prevalent. We would not advise anyone to try his luck smoking a joint in North Korea, though, at any cost!
While there are frequent reports that North Korea has fully legalized marijuana, most of these are, unfortunately, merely due to a lack of trustworthy information in general.
Ah, Portugal – the homeland of the Algarve beaches, as well as grilled sardines. So, can you couple your grilled sardines with a toke or few? Oh, yes.
Ever since 2001, Portugal has fully decriminalized all drugs. Yeah, every single drug out there.
When it comes to marijuana, in particular, you are allowed to carry up to 25 grams. That sounds fairly reasonable, doesn’t it? Or else, you might end up with a fat fine but at least you won’t be thrown in prison.
For many of the experienced cannabis connoisseurs, the very mention of anything Netherlands-related used to quickly bring about the associations of “the promised land” or “the homeland” of cannabis.
While most of the people across the globe could only dream of blazing up a joint in a cozy café, the Netherlands’ government was so kind and progressive to allow anyone aged 18+ to consume cannabis in the notorious local coffee shops.
However, marijuana cultivation remained illegal before 2017 when the government finally lifted the ban. What is important about this big step is that most experts believe legalizing cannabis cultivation will actually lead to full legalization (as of now, smoking cannabis outside coffee shops is not allowed but at least you won’t spend years in jail for breaking the rule).
If heading out to Ukraine, do keep in mind that cannabis has not been legalized yet, not even for medicinal purposes. On the bright side, it has been decriminalized so you can use and/or carry up to 5 grams without having to deal with any unwanted consequences. Also, you are allowed to grow up to 10 cannabis plants for private use.
While still lacking quite behind from the global scene of cannabis legalization, Belgium has at least decriminalized cannabis use and possession in minimal amounts for individuals aged 18+.
You can consume marijuana in private and you can also carry it around if needed, provided you do not have more than 3 grams (better than not being able to carry any, right).
Switzerland has decriminalized the possession of small amounts of cannabis intended for personal use.
Whether more big steps are about to take place when it comes to the cannabis movement, this doesn’t seem to be a matter of hot discussions in the country up-to-date. Anyway, there seems to be a bright light at the end of the tunnel as there has been a great push to opening cannabis clubs. Nonetheless, citizens are allowed to grow up to 4 hemp plants.
It wasn’t before late 2016 that the Italian government approved the legalization of industrial hemp, provided it only contains very low amounts of THC.
However, both the sale, as well as the cultivation of cannabis can get people in big, big troubles on Italian territory.
On the bright side, the possession of small amounts of marijuana for private use are considered misdemeanor, meaning that you are highly likely to get fined and have your documents suspended for a certain period. But at least you won’t end up in jail!
Ever since the legalization of industrial hemp, dried hemp flowers have hit some of the local shops. With this in mind, experts believe that Italy stands a high chance of becoming the first European country to legalize marijuana.
As of now, though, the marijuana regulation measure still needs more support to make its way through the parliament. Well, we can only hope that we would be able to freely enjoy a sip of highest-quality Italian wine while admiring the sunset and taking a toke of locally sourced top-notch weed in the foreseeable future.
Croatia has recently legalized medical marijuana for the treatment of conditions such as cancer, AIDS, and multiple sclerosis. However, cannabis cultivation is still banned so medical cannabis is imported.
Fortunately, cannabis has been also decriminalized by the Croatian government meaning that if you are lucky enough to explore the breathtaking coastlines of Croatia, you can discreetly get blazed without getting into big trouble.
While Spain still seems very far away from fully legalizing marijuana, the herb has been decriminalized so as long as you are discreet enough to smoke on your own without driving too much attention, you can get away without any legal repercussions or fines.
What’s more, Spain’s cannabis smoking clubs are greatly on the rise. In 2017, Catalonia (Northern Spain) has successfully legalized the local smoking clubs. You might be surprised to find out how widely spread is the smoking culture in these clubs, of which you will find hundreds!
Many people keep associating Russia with the former reign of the Soviet Union. With this in mind, it is more than logical to expect stringent measurements regarding cannabis.
However, the Russian government has decriminalized cannabis in amounts that do not exceed a total of 6 grams.
Even more surprisingly, Russia officially allowed World Cup fans from other countries to legally bring in their medical marijuana supplies.
Weed culture in Estonia runs deeper than what most of us are aware of. Did you know that there is a particular town in Estonia that has adopted a cannabis lead as the official local emblem? This town is called Kanepi.
Despite this intriguing marijuana-related fact, both cannabis sale and cultivation remain fully banned in Estonia.
But on the bright side, you can carry up to 7.5 grams of weed without facing jail time. Although, if caught, you will definitely get fined.
The Czech Republic
For over 5 years now (ever since 2013), medical cannabis has been fully legalized in the Czech Republic.
During the very first year of the program, federal authorities used to import all medical marijuana products sold at pharmacies. Nowadays, licensed cultivators are in charge of growing cannabis to fulfill the needs of the local market.
It’s important to note that the Czech Republic has demonstrated tremendous progress when it comes to marijuana policy.
Even though legalizing recreational marijuana is not expected to take place within the next year or so, cannabis possession is decriminalized. You can carry up to 15 grams and feel free to consume the green medication, as long as you stay humble, discreet, and moderate (like, no waving around a plastic bag full of weed or rolling a joint right amidst the crowd at the local parks or whatsoever).
A Neat Cheat Sheet of the Most Advanced Cannabis Technologies2019
As marijuana legalization expands, so do the innovative technologies in the cannabis space, no matter if it comes to cultivation, education, research or revolutionary applications of the herb.
Did you know that at the closing of 2018, “nomophobia” was the word crowned by the Cambridge Dictionary “the word of the year”? Nomophobia is the term used to describe the fear, panic or worry at the mere idea of being left without your mobile phone or simply unable to use your mobile phone.
Well, if the cannabis industry analytics would have to select a word of the year for 2018-2019, this would undoubtedly be no other word but “terpenes.”The truth is, “terpenes” were, indeed, ranked among the most researched compounds for 2018.
More importantly, experts believe that this research is shaping the future of the marijuana industry in 2019.
Alongside THC and CBD, terpenes are expected to become the next “must-have” compounds that consumers (both recreational, as well as medicinal weed consumers) are estimated to become rather engaged with and excited by. As a result, we are expected to witness a rapidly rising demand for further research, availability, and accessibility of terpenes.
Well, the trend is already on the rise, especially with the introduction of isolated terpenes. In a nutshell, terpenes can be isolated from cannabis plants, as well as from different non-cannabis plants. Alongside terpenes’ isolation technologies, solventless cannabis extractions technologies do not lack behind, not at all!
Once isolated, terpenes can be easily added to a whole myriad of products, and, nonetheless, consumed in significantly high amounts. Not familiar with the synergistic action of terpenes and active cannabinoids on your endocannabinoid system? Wow, time to get into the flow of the new century, bud buddies! Know your cure, know your treat, know your medicine in order to make the most out of it.
So, you read Led Lights + Cannabis and a big “duh” is what most probably pops up in your head, right?
Indeed, a lot has been said about marijuana cultivation and the successful application of LED lighting systems. But the truth is, the LED lights technology is full of amazing surprises, innovations, and benefits that are yet to be revealed and become more widely available, as well as easily accessible to the public.
After all, we must not forget that it is none other but NASA’s team of professionals who have embraced the development of LED technologies with a mind to sustainability times of the future.
Plus, we challenge you to Google up the LED lights that were available on the market in 2017 and compare these with 2019 models. The difference is breathtaking.
Contemporary LED lights start resembling some form of extraterrestrial gigs, and we can’t wait to take full advantage for making home marijuana growing more enjoyable and reliable than ever before.LEDs = Low energy output, resulting in an economically and environmentally friendly alternative, plus giving rise to some out-of-this-world dense nuggets. What more could both recreational, as well as medicinal marijuana users possibly wish for?
The Advance of Cannabis Technologies and Legalization across the Globe: The Wrap-Up
It is happening, fellow cannabis connoisseurs. The world of cannabis is rapidly developing, growing, changing, and expanding right in front of your very eyes.
As the cult classic song goes, things will never be the same again but we do share bright hopes that the changes we are witnessing and participating in (whether actively or inactively) are about to impact the faith of mankind for the better.
Cannabis getting into the menus of the most exquisite restaurants, cannabis businesses turning into a profitable niche for both investors and entrepreneurs, recreational marijuana challenging the alcohol industry, traditional business finally recognizing the validity of cannabis, international cannabis trade on the rise – fasten your seatbelts, for we are going to experience a crazy ride!
The advance of cannabis technologies and legalization across the globe does no longer seem like a luxury or a distant dream. Instead, it seems like a limitless source of inspiration, economic value, environmental value, and well-being that is going to benefit those who are visionary enough to expand their horizons and open their minds to a higher perspective.