Cannabis Laws in Europe: Legal Status and Penalties

The use of cannabis in Europe has seen a significant rise, with approximately 1% of the European population being regular consumers and 1 in 8 young Europeans admitting to using weed in the past year. This shift in cannabis use has brought about various legal frameworks across European countries. In this article, we will explore the laws surrounding cannabis in several European nations, shedding light on its legal status, regulated quantities, and associated penalties.

Understanding Legal Terms: Before diving into the details of cannabis laws, let’s clarify some key terms commonly used in discussing the legal status of cannabis.

  1. Legalization: The process of lifting or canceling laws that prohibit the possession and personal use of cannabis. Under legalization, cannabis use and sales are regulated and taxed by the government.
  2. Decriminalization: The process of reducing criminal penalties for cannabis-related offenses or reclassifying them as non-criminal infractions. Under decriminalization, the production and sale of cannabis may remain illegal, but penalties for personal possession are typically reduced to civil fines or warnings.
  3. Depenalization: The possession and use of cannabis materials and products remain a criminal offense under depenalization, but penalties are less severe or may not be actively enforced.

Now, let’s examine the cannabis laws in various European countries:


  • Legal Status: Illegal, Partially Depenalized
  • Medical Use: Legal for seriously ill patients with a doctor’s prescription.
  • Recreational Use: Restricted and illegal, but possession of “small amounts” is sometimes tolerated, with prosecution being optional under federal law.
  • Allowed Quantity: Up to 6 grams in most states, up to 15 grams in Berlin.

United Kingdom

  • Legal Status: Low-THC CBD products are legal.
  • Medical Use: Legal under specific circumstances, with a doctor’s prescription.
  • Recreational Use: Prohibited, but simple possession may result in a warning or an on-the-spot fine.
  • Allowed Quantity: Not specified.


  • Legal Status: Illegal
  • Medical Use: Legal for certain cannabinoid drugs under specific conditions.
  • Recreational Use: Illegal.
  • Allowed Quantity: 0 grams.


  • Legal Status: Decriminalized/Legalized
  • Medical Use: Allowed for specific medical conditions under doctor’s prescriptions.
  • Recreational Use: Legal to cultivate small amounts for personal use, but possession of larger quantities can result in fines or document suspension.
  • Allowed Quantity: Not specified.


  • Legal Status: Decriminalized/Legalized
  • Medical Use: Limited use of cannabis-derived pharmaceuticals.
  • Recreational Use: Legal for personal consumption in private areas, subject to fines for public consumption or possession.
  • Allowed Quantity: Not specified.

Please note that cannabis laws may evolve, so it’s essential to stay informed about the latest regulations in your area or any country you plan to visit.