Cannabis and Politics


These countries have legalized medical cannabis

Practically everywhere you turn, cannabis is the hot topic being discussed right now — and it’s leading to legalizations that, even as recently as a decade ago, would have been thought of as absolutely unfathomable. Although the recreational use of cannabis may still be classified as illegal in most parts of the world, we are witnessing an eye-opening renaissance in regards to medical marijuana.

With the increase of medical cannabis research and the growing demand from patients, every country is applying their own legislation on the medical and recreational use of the cannabis plant.

To see just how far our dear plant friend has come, below, we feature an updated version of several countries that have legalized marijuana for medical use in some capacity.


Argentina has legalized medical cannabis, which is available with a prescription from a healthcare provider in the country. Argentina’s medical marijuana authorities only consider patients with qualifying conditions that cannabis might help with such as persistent, hard-to-treat pain, refractory types of epilepsy, autism, and others.


Medical cannabis is legal at a federal level for qualifying conditions (details vary by state), which are determined by the Australian Minister for Health, but generally allows the use of cannabis to help address a variety of chronic conditions. In order to get access to medical cannabis, patients must receive a letter from their practitioner to support their claim for the need for medical cannabis.


Since 2001, medical cannabis has been legal in the country of Canada. But in 2018, the country made history by passing the Cannabis Act. Although, the consumption and cultivation of the plant is still heavily regulated, access to medical cannabis with authorization from healthcare providers is now a little easier.


In Chile, the recreational use and cultivation of cannabis are illegal. However, medical cannabis is permitted along with the right to cultivate the plant only for those who’ve been granted legal authorization. As of 2015, cannabis-based medications are allowed for use and to be sold in pharmacies.


Colombia has decriminalized personal consumption of cannabis at a designated amount, but medical cannabis is legal with a prescription from a licensed physician. It has also been legalized to cultivate and distribute medical marijuana with a federal license by the Ministry of Health.


Medical cannabis is legal for patients with illnesses such as cancer, multiple sclerosis, or AIDs. Interestingly, all medical cannabis found in Croatia is imported from Canada, and only in both liquid- or capsule form.


Using cannabis recreationally in Cyprus will run you the risk of getting charged for life in prison on top of 8 years maximum for possession. Medical cannabis, however, is legal for only some late stages of cancer. Patients may apply to the Health Ministry in order to receive cannabis, only in the form of oil.

Czech Republic

Good ol’ medicinal mary jane has been legal in the Czech Republic since 2013. In fact, during the first year of their medical marijuana program, the federal government imported medical cannabis products to be sold in tons of pharmacies. Today, medical patients are able to be prescribed medical marijuana like any other drug — dreamy indeed.


In Denmark, medical cannabis is legal with a prescription which includes Sativex — a full-plant based oromucosal mouth spray and Marinol, a THC synthetic, This first-ever medical cannabis trial occurred in 2018 and since then, has enabled around 1,500 patients to enter. It’s anticipated to continue for four years, to explore all of the medical capabilities of cannabis.


In Finland, personal cannabis use is generally subject to a fine, although medical cannabis is possible only under a rare special license. Patients are only allowed to purchase Sativex, Bedrocan, Bediol, or Bedica brand herbal cannabis from one of 27 licensed pharmacies in the country.


Medical cannabis has been legal since 2013 in Italy and is currently available with a few regulations. Basically, the medicines are produced in a military operation and delivered to the country. From there, medical patients are able to purchase medical cannabis from pharmacies across Italy.


Jamaica is undoubtedly every stoner’s dream vacation. But what many may not know is that the use of medical marijuana in Jamaica is actually only partially legal. The use of cannabis is highly regulated yet available for patients (without medical purpose) for therapeutic- and religious reasons within the Rastafarian faith.


Medical cannabis was legalized in 2016 with strict regulations set by the federal authorities of Macedonia. Only cannabis oil products are legal for medical purposes that are prescribed by a specialist of the following practices: neurology, oncology, radiotherapy, and infectious diseases. Your primary healthcare provider may then renew prescriptions.

New Zealand

In New Zealand, medical cannabis is available with a prescription from a licensed physician. The only medical marijuana product allowed to be prescribed to patients is Sativex, which is a pharmaceutical plant-based spray that contains a 1:1 ratio of cannabidiol (CBD) and delta 9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).


Marijuana is illegal in Norway with exceptions to medical cannabis usage that is available from a physician upon request. This can only be applied through the permission of the Norwegian Medicines Agency.


Cannabis usage for medical purposes is only partially legal in Poland. Health authorities have supported purchases of medical cannabis for patients it may help, although cannabis products must be imported from other countries, even if there are no laws that regulate or legalize the production of cannabis in that country.

Puerto Rico

In 2015, the governor of Puerto Rico signed an executive order, which legalized the medical use of cannabis. Despite the damage and challenges of Hurricane Maria, the country’s medical marijuana patient pool has increased tremendously.

South Africa

The use of cannabis was made fully legal by the rule of South Africa‘s constitutional court in September 2018. This not only trumps every law prohibiting the private use of the plant in the country, but it allows adults of legal age to medicate with cannabis without being penalized or a prescription.


Medical cannabis is legal with access to cannabis tinctures and oil concentrations for medical patients with serious illnesses. In order to prescribe medical cannabis, physicians must obtain a special license by the Federal Office of Public Health.


Legal medical marijuana is relatively new in the country of Thailand. As of late 2018, patients with illnesses that may benefit from cannabis will be allowed to receive a prescription from a licensed medical practitioner. With strict regulations on the amount of consumption.

The Netherlands

Although not fully legalized, the use of cannabis is decriminalized or “tolerated” in the Netherlands, meaning if you’re caught, you can only be prosecuted under certain circumstances. Despite the confusing legality, the Dutch government has legalized the use of cannabis for medical purposes on a prescription basis.


As of 2016, medical cannabis is legal with a prescription from a healthcare provider with limitation to use cannabinoid medicines, such as Sativex. Every province varies in legality of cannabis cultivation and are highly regulated and mostly controlled by their government.

United Kingdom

As of November 2018, the UK has legalized marijuana for only medical purposes. However, patients must be recommended by a special consultant for severe epilepsy, vomiting, or nausea caused by chemotherapy or multiple sclerosis.

United States

Medical cannabis in the U.S is legal in 33 states for all ailments with regulations varying on how it is produced, distributed, and consumed.


2013 was the year that Uruguay fully legalized cannabis, including the medical use of the plant. But, it’s not as easy to get as many would think. To consume cannabis, foreigners must be 18 years old or older, while locals must be registered.


Medical cannabis became legal in late April 2018 in Zimbabwe, making it the second country in Africa to pass legalization. The new law also allows farmers to apply for cannabis cultivation licenses to grow marijuana for specifical medical and scientific research purposes with strict regulations and officials monitoring the farms closely.


Around the world, medical marijuana is being prescribed to many patients to help with their symptoms from a range of health conditions. And as research continues, the medical benefits of cannabis will become more and more scientifically apparent as medication. Yes, restrictions and permissions in the legislation of each country vary widely on how medical cannabis may be utilized.

However, the changing perception toward cannabis is shaping up to be a truly incredible future for the cannabis industry as a whole and the general health of mankind.


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