6 Countries With Very Confusing Marijuana Laws

The United States of America has confusing marijuana laws. In some states it’s perfectly legal to smoke a joint, while in others that can lead to hard time. And while the U.S. has some confusing cannabis laws, it’s not the only country to do so.

Here are six other countries with confusing marijuana laws:

1. Mexico

From a technical perspective, recreational marijuana is currently legal in Mexico. The country’s Supreme Court ruled in October that Mexico’s cannabis prohibition laws were unconstitutional. Having said that, you can still be arrested and charged with marijuana, but then you could just challenge your arrest as unconstitutional. Mexico’s government will need to decide in the coming months how to change their cannabis laws to accommodate the new Supreme Court ruling.

2. The Netherlands

You’re probably thinking, “Wait a second, how could The Netherlands have confusing marijuana laws? People smoke all the time there!” And that’s sort of true. Possession of marijuana is decriminalized and you can buy cannabis from designated coffee shops. But technically the drug is still illegal and if you buy from anyone other than a coffee shop, you can get in legal trouble.

3. Russia

Technically possession of marijuana up to six grams is decriminalized in Russia. But unlike European countries where decriminalization usually is accompanied by a tolerance for using marijuana, Russia still has strong anti-cannabis sentiment, and the government frequently speaks out against countries legalizing marijuana.

4. Italy

Italy’s marijuana laws are quite unusual. Marijuana is illegal in the country, but it can be prescribed for medical purposes. But there are also a number of stores selling CBD products, but the legality of these products is in question. So they often advertise them as “collector’s items,” because somehow that makes it not illegal?

5. North Korea

So marijuana is technically legal in North Korea, but that’s mainly because there’s no law against it. It’s also fairly common for people to smoke ditchweed here. But honestly we don’t really know enough about the intricacies of North Korean narcotics law to say whether it is or is not legal.

6. Costa Rica

Marijuana is illegal in Costa Rica, however there are no criminal penalties for cannabis. So it’s illegal but there’s no punishment for using it. That actually sounds like it’s legal then?


Local officials and law enforcers often have fears that allowing legal cannabis shops to operate within their jurisdictions will have detrimental effects. Some people fear that allowing pot shops in their neighborhood will increase violent crime rates, allow young people easier access to the drug and lower the property value of surrounding homes. But is any of that true?

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