Cannabis law around the world: what’s up with legalization?

international cannabis law

Taking a look at American cannabis, it’s a woven tapestry of various laws and levels of legality. Every legal state industry faces similar but unique issues as the next, creating a patchwork of insulated areas of commerce.

The same is happening on the global level, with updates to international cannabis law from Africa to Europe.

Germans drop legalization bill

Germany went public with its legalization bill earlier this month after teasing the prospect of legalization for some time. It is now being reviewed by the public and state health officials. If all goes well, it will advance through the cabinet.

If the bill were approved as written, those 18 and older could grow up to three plants, but home extraction is prohibited. Civilians not working at designated cannabis social clubs could carry up to 25 grams.

Social clubs would be issued permits granting the right to serve cannabis to the adult community. These establishments must remain 200 meters from schools, with only one allowed per every 6,000 residents.

This is just the first pillar of legislation on the topic. Officials will draft another bill to establish and regulate cannabis commerce in the country starting as a pilot program in a certain regions.

Legalization in Luxembourg

A week after the German announcement, the neighboring country of Luxembourg enacted new adult-use laws. Adults can now legally possess and purchase up to three grams of flower and grow up to four plants at home.

The law doesn’t set parameters for cultivation or dispensary regulations, however. This makes resources for interested consumers limited until their first harvest.

Getting caught with more than three grams, however, could mean six months in jail. Public consumption and transport of cannabis remain prohibited, though fines have been softened. Implementation of the law comes one month after the approval of the legalization bill.

This makes Luxembourg the second in the European Union to legalize cannabis after Malta, joining Canada, Uruguay, and other countries with federal legalization. And Ghana may be next.

Ghana takes first steps toward medical cannabis

Only a few days after big announcements from Europe, Ghana’s Parliament made their own moves. Africa News reported approval of the Narcotics Control Commission Amendment Bill, opening doors for medicinal and industrial cannabis.

The Ministry of the Interior can issue medical and industrial cultivation licenses under the new amendment. THC-content must stay under 0.3 percent to comply with the new law.

This is set to be the first stone laid in a regulated cannabis industry for the country, who hopes to capitalize on the medical and industrial applications of the plant. According to Business Insider Africa, Ghanaian experts are calling out the need to preserve market share for small farmers as the industry sets its course.

New Zealand updates import/export laws

New Zealand has also altered its medical cannabis law in the past weeks. The Manatu Hauora Ministry of Health issued the changes. The most notable updates apply to the import and export of cannabis seeds, plant material, and infused products.

Cannabis products, “start material,” seeds, and “cannabis-based ingredients” can be exported and imported for testing, analysis, and research. The changes also expanded the definition of “starting material” and “cannabis-based ingredients.”

License holders can now authorize non-therapeutic research with medical cannabis or industrial hemp. This change expands the areas of inquiry that can be illuminated using imported cannabis.

Every month, American and international cannabis laws bring humans closer to understanding and wielding the true power of the plant. These small legislative steps toward ending prohibition not only provide more people with access to cannabis medicine but open doors to understanding the potential it has.

Cara Wietstock is Senior Content Producer of and has been working in the cannabis space since 2011. She has covered the cannabis business beat for Ganjapreneur and The Spokesman Review. You can find her living in Bellingham, Washington with her husband, son, and a small zoo of pets.