Is Sativa Legal? Legal Status of Sativa Worldwide

legal status of sativa worldwide

If there’s one thing that confuses most people who are just starting their cannabis journey, it’s the legality of cannabis sativa around the world. The truth is that it’s a VERY complicated matter – especially since not only do laws between countries differ, but in some cases, you can also have different laws between parts of the same country (look at the United States).

Another thing that makes it hard to figure out is that the laws are constantly changing. In some cases, that’s a change for the better, while in others, it’s the complete opposite.

Still, it’s good to familiarize yourself with it, at least to some extent. No one is saying you should memorize the whole map, but knowing the laws for your country and any other country you will be visiting in the near future can help you avoid less-than-pleasant consequences.

To help you with that, we prepared this short guide on sativa legality around the world. While you should do some additional research on your own, it’s a good starting point. Is sativa illegal? And if so, where? We’ll cover it all here.

Cannabis Sativa Legality in the United States

Before looking at the wider picture, which is how cannabis sativa’s legality looks around the world, let’s focus on the United States, as that’s a rather interesting case.

As you probably know, the United States consists of 50 states, each of which can make decisions regarding its laws, including the legalization of cannabis. That’s why, when you look at the map of cannabis sativa legality in the US, you will notice a few different colours, each representing a various extent to which cannabis sativa is legalized in a specific state:

Cannabis Sativa Legality in the United States

At the moment of writing, there are 24 states where cannabis sativa is legal for both medical and recreational use and 8 in which only medical use is allowed. Four states deem cannabis illegal for either use, while in seven of them, only CBD with THC is legal (it should be noted that the amount of legal THC varies from state to state). In five states, cannabis sativa is legal for medical use and decriminalized, while in two, it is illegal but still decriminalized.

When visiting the country, especially when you are planning on crossing state lines and having cannabis with you, it’s imperative that you make sure that you comply with the law. For example, let’s say you’re located in Washington and want to travel to Idaho – you will be going from a state where cannabis is completely legal to one where being caught with it results in a penalty. Safe to say, the cannabis won’t (or shouldn’t) be going with you.

Cannabis Sativa Legality Around the World

Cannabis Sativa Legality Around the World

While the cannabis legal situation is already complicated in the United States, it is even more complex once you go internationally. While we did provide you with a general map of the cannabis sativa legality worldwide, there are many countries in which this matter is more ambiguous than a simple “legal / illegal” answer.

Here are a few good examples of that:

  • Australia – While cannabis for medical use is approved on a federal level when it comes to recreational use, only Northern Territory and South Australia have decriminalized it. Additionally, in the Australian Capital Territory, cannabis sativa is legal for personal use (even if it’s not medicinal), but selling remains prohibited. 
  • Brazil – While cannabis sativa is legal for medical use, it only applies in two cases – for terminally ill patients and those who have tried all the other treatment options available for their condition but with no results. 
  • India – Generally, cannabis sativa, also referred to as ganja in India, is illegal in the country – however, it can be used and sold in the form of bhang
  • Jamaica – While technically, cannabis sativa is illegal in Jamaica for other purposes than medical, it can be used for sacramental purposes by Rastafarians. 
  • Barbados – Similarly to Jamaica, cannabis sativa is legal for spiritual use by registered Rastafarianas. 
  • Luxembourg – It is legal to grow a maximum of four plants for your own use. You can also possess up to 3 g when outside, as it is decriminalized, although you might have to pay a fine. Selling cannabis products continues to be prohibited. 
  • Nepal – Cannabis sativa consumption is only allowed during Maha Shivaratri – aside from that, it is illegal. 
  • Uruguay – While cannabis is legal there for recreational use, only Uruguayas and legal residents of the country are allowed to buy it – tourists are not permitted to do it.

There are more examples, but those are the most notable ones.

Another thing that makes the legality of cannabis blurry in some regions is the presence of CBD. As you probably know, cannabis sativa is a type of cannabis plant that contains a higher dose of THC, contrary to cannabis indica, which contains more CBD. Cannabis indica is also known for its more relaxing properties, contrary to cannabis sativa, which is not recommended for those who want to get a good night’s sleep or calm themselves down in the evening. There are several places where cannabis sativa is illegal, while CBD (even if THC) is perfectly fine.

In many countries, cannabis sativa remains illegal while allowing for cannabis-derived products use when it contains no more than a specified amount of THC. For example, in Switzerland, where cannabis is technically only approved for medical use, you can actually still buy low-potency cannabis as long as it contains less than 1% THC.

Finally, we have countries like Austria or South Korea, where cannabis-based medications like Sativex are officially approved as part of the treatment plan for specific diseases.

Is Cannabis Sativa Legal? – The Bottom Line

Understanding the legality of Cannabis sativa can be challenging, considering just how diverse the laws are, not only across the globe but even within the same country, as seen in the example of the United States or Australia.

The truth is that if you want to stay on top of information, you will have to do extensive research regularly, as the legalization status is constantly changing, with more states and countries either legalizing cannabis sativa or decriminalizing it.

In some cases, however, those changes might have the opposite purpose – for example, while, at the moment, cannabis is legal for both recreational and medical use in Thailand, there are rumours about the country actually wanting to introduce a ban on recreational use. Will it actually happen? That’s something only time will tell.

Interested in more things cannabis? Don’t hesitate to take a look at our Blog section. From a comprehensive guide on how to store cannabis sativa to a detailed comparison between cannabis sativa, indica, and hybrid, we’re sure you’ll find something for yourself.

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