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To Smoke Or Not To Smoke: What Countries Allow Recreational Cannabis Use?

Cannabis use has, for a long time, been a taboo subject. It’s now more accepted and respected globally, so what countries allow recreational use? Click here for more

Cannabis is an escape, an outlet, and a way of relaxing the body and the mind. For some people, using cannabis is a way of potentially healing, physically and mentally. Sadly, it has taken many years to get to the stage we’re at now, where cannabis is more widely respected – even used as a medicinal aid in more parts of the world than ever before.

While medical marijuana is widely accepted, recreational use is still working its way through the acceptance ladder. Let’s explore what countries now have a relaxed view on using cannabis for recreational purposes.


The view on recreational cannabis across Europe is mixed. While some countries still impose strict Draconian style rules towards the naturally occurring drug, others promote the use as part of a healthy lifestyle. European cannabis laws and regulations are complex, so let us start with the countries that support recreational cannabis use. Here’s a list of some countries that have decriminalized recreational cannabis use and since when:

  • Croatia – 2019
  • Italy – 2019 (although some parts will still issue a fine for possession)
  • Portugal – 2001
  • Switzerland – 2013

Although the countries listed above say that they have decriminalized recreational use, some still impose fines against people caught using cannabis in public. One not on the list is Spain. Spain has decriminalized cannabis use, possession, and personal cultivation. However, if you were to be caught on the streets of Spain with even a small amount of cannabis, hefty fines may follow – especially if you’re not a local.

Portugal is perhaps the most fluid, with its opinion on cannabis and drugs as a collective. Interestingly, Portugal decriminalized the use of all drugs in 2001, although that’s different from making them completely legal. Possession of small amounts of any drug, including heroin and cocaine, results in a slap on the wrist or a small fine. More substantial amounts, including over 25 grams of cannabis, will cause hefty fines and jail time.

The US and Canada

The US and Canada still have mixed opinions on the decriminalization of cannabis. You’ve got states such as California that promote the use of weed and have multiple cannabis shops. Then you’ve got states like Florida, where it is still illegal to use cannabis recreationally. States such as Georgia have a mixed approach, with some cities allowing recreational use, and others still state it is a crime.

One thing is clear, much of the US has decriminalized recreational use. The states included are:

  • Connecticut
  • Illinois
  • Colorado
  • Washington C
  • Massacheutus

While the majority are conforming to the use of recreational cannabis, some states still impose strict sanctions, often resulting in jail time. Canada passed the Cannabis Act of 2018, meaning adults could have up to 30g of cannabis, and it’d still be legal. Canada made the move to control drug use, and it worked.


Cannabis remains illegal in most of Asia, with some parts of Asia imposing fines and jail time that would make your eyes water. Parts of Asia, such as Singapore and Japan, notoriously have the strictest rules – especially against tourists. It is the reason why cannabis use in Japan and Singapore is at around 2% of the entire population.

Parts of Asia like Thailand, however, are warming to the idea. In 2019, Thailand made the use of medical marijuana legal. In Thailand, there are well-known ‘happy menus’ that feature drinks and food with cannabis-infused and, sometimes, even psychedelics infused. Don’t let this fool you; you’d still find yourself in jail if caught on the streets with cannabis.

The world is warming to cannabis – there’s no doubt about that. While much of the world now has relaxed views on medical marijuana at the very least, we expect many to legalize recreational use in the coming years. There’s a lot of money for countries to make out of the cannabis industry.