Travel doesn’t have to put a wrench in your favorite hobby. Recently, Canada made headlines by legalizing the recreational use of cannabis, full stop. But they’re not the first country to do so — nor are they the only weed-friendly destination in the world. From navigating the world of flying with weed to booking stays at weed-friendly hotels and attending raging 420 events, the legal consumption as we know it is changing quickly. If your next vacation requires a spliff (and some warmer weather than Canada has to offer), consider one of these smoker-friendly destinations for your next holiday getaway.
Weed-Friendly Countries in South America
South America is known for it’s beautiful scenery, blissfully warm weather, and….some hard-fought battles against drugs. So it’s surprising to find that most of the continent is relatively relaxed when it comes smoking dope.
In 2017, Argentina was one of the first in South America to legalize the use of medical cannabis, allowing patients with certain medical conditions to access cannabis-based treatments. With that legalization, Argentina also became the first country in the world to provide medical marijuana to patients for free.
In 2020, the government decriminalized the possession of small amounts of cannabis for personal use. However, recreational cannabis use remains illegal, and there are still restrictions on the cultivation and distribution of cannabis products. There is ongoing debate and advocacy for broader legalization of cannabis in Argentina, with many arguing that it could have significant economic benefits for the country.
While weed is still illegal in Chile, private at-home consumption is allowed. Even more surprising, Chile has the highest per-capita use of cannabis in Latin America. While the cultivation, sale, and transportation of cannabis remain illegal, the country continues to consider the benefits and drawbacks of broader cannabis legalization, and it remains a progressive leader in the region for its forward-thinking approach to personal cannabis use.
Colombia has enough to worry about with other drugs, so they’re pretty soft on the green stuff. This South American paradise decriminalized up to 22g for personal use, legalized medical use and allows individuals to cultivate up to twenty plants for personal consumption, risk free. Sounds pretty good? Well, one country has one-upped it….
One tiny, Dorito-shaped country made headlines in 2014 as the first country to completely legalize the use, sale, and cultivation of marijuana for medical and recreational purposes nationwide. Uruguay’s not interested in attracting weed tourism however, so only actual residents of the country can purchase legally — foreigners aren’t allowed. Still, we’re pretty sure you can make a Uruguayan friend to share a joint with while you’re enjoying South American summer, or register to attend one of their famous 420 events.
Ecuador has recently made some exciting strides in its cannabis policies that have cannabis enthusiasts cheering. In 2019, the country decriminalized the personal use of cannabis, allowing individuals to possess up to 10 grams without facing criminal charges. Moreover, the government has authorized the production and commercialization of cannabis-based products, such as creams and oils, for medicinal purposes. This move has created a budding industry that has the potential to bring significant economic benefits to the country. Additionally, in 2020, Ecuador’s national assembly approved the legalization of industrial hemp cultivation, allowing farmers to grow this versatile crop for various purposes, including textiles, construction, and biofuels. These progressive cannabis policies demonstrate Ecuador’s commitment to embracing a more open and inclusive approach to cannabis use and the opportunities it presents.
While weed is widely available in Brazil, it’s still a criminal charge to possess, cultivate, or sell the plants there. Although there’s plenty of cannabis users in Brazil, it’s certainly not risk-free for smokers.
Cannabis-Friendly Countries in Asia & Oceania
In Sri Lanka, the use of cannabis has always been closely tied to spiritual celebrations and traditional medicine. In the 1980’s, the Ayurveda Act made sure that the use and and subsequent sale of marijuana for the purposes of celebrations and medicine were legally protected activities. Ayurvedic doctors still prescribe marijuana to treat certain ailments, and Ayurvedic pharmacies are permitted to sell the plant as part of medicinal mixtures. Cultivation is allowed as well, but only by the government and government-sanctioned growers.
Sri Lanka’s neighbor to the north, India, has a similar leniency to marijuana. Although it’s technically illegal, it’s so prevalent that you can even purchase cannabis from government-owned shops in the form of bhang, a type of weed-milkshake. Some Indian states have legalized or decriminalized personal use ganja, making it even easier to get some on your holiday.
While most Asian countries are pretty restrictive — such as Indonesia, where simple possession can lead to a four-to-twelve year prison sentence — in Laos, weed is both culturally accepted and readily available.
In 2021, the country became the first in Southeast Asia to legalize the production and export of medical cannabis. This move has opened up a new avenue of potential revenue for the country while also providing new opportunities for medical research and treatment. The government also decriminalized the use of cannabis for personal use, recognizing the cultural significance of the plant in Laos. This decriminalization has led to a more relaxed approach to personal cannabis use and has allowed for more open discussions about the potential benefits of broader legalization.
Cambodia is blazing a trail towards a more fun and relaxed approach to cannabis. The country has a rich history of using cannabis for traditional medicine, and the government is committed to ensuring that this funky tradition can continue alongside modern medical cannabis treatments.
In 2020, the government gave the green light for the production and export of medical cannabis, giving a thumbs up to this groovy plant’s medicinal benefits. And just like in Laos, weed is both accepted and available — even if its not quite legal. Keep your eye out at restaurants especially, where any dish marked “happy” is most likely sporting some THC infused ingredients.
Down under, another country blessed with incredible scenery and even better beaches and was also kind enough to (mostly) decriminalize weed. While medicinal use is legal across Australia, personal use has only been decriminalized in a few states. Australia’s Northern Territory, South Australia, and the Australian Capital Territory all make the list, and in 2016, the first weed clubs and weed cafes began opening up to make distribution easier.
Cannabis Culture in Central America and The Caribbean
Thanks to one unique religion, Jamaica has long been a haven for smokers. That makes it surprising to find out that weed has only actually been decriminalized since 2015. The law allows for up to 2 ounces or up to five plants for personal use, and if you happen to be Rastafarian, you can use unlimited amounts for religious purposes, whenever you want.
Similarly in Mexico, you’ll find a de-facto legalization of weed. Possession of up to 5 grams was decriminalized in 2009, followed by the legalization of personal cultivation by a Supreme Court case in 2015, which stated that “prohibiting people from growing the drug for consumption was unconstitutional as it violated the human right to the free development of one’s personality.” Medicinal use was made legal in 2016, and many think that full legalization for recreational usage will be soon to follow.
Belize is quickly becoming a cool, laid-back destination for cannabis enthusiasts. In 2021, the government announced plans to decriminalize the personal use of cannabis, recognizing the potential benefits of this herb for relaxation and medical purposes. This move has led to a more relaxed attitude towards cannabis use, and Belize is quickly becoming a favorite spot for those looking to kick back and enjoy the benefits of this groovy plant. As the country continues to explore the potential of this versatile plant, it’s clear that Belize is well on its way to becoming a must-visit destination for cannabis enthusiasts around the world.
The ever-popular holiday destination, Costa Rica, is an eco-friendly tropical paradise where friendly locals live the “Pura Vida.” Like Belize, they also decriminalized recreational smoking, meaning that although it is illegal, the police are only after traffickers, not your average users.