Where In Europe Is Recreational Cannabis Legal?

Recreational cannabis will be legal in Germany from April 1st.  

But it’s not the first European country to legalise recreational weed. 

While lot’s of European countries have legalised medical cannabis, a handful have also made it legal for recreational use.

They are…


Two weeks ago, the German parliament voted in favour of legalising cannabis for personal use.

The new legislation, which will come into force on April 1st 2024, will see cannabis removed from the official list of illegal substances and adults will be permitted to possess up to 25g of cannabis in public and 50g at home.

Home cultivation of up to three plants for personal use will also be allowed. 

Plans to permit licensed shops and pharmacies to sell cannabis have been cancelled due to EU worries about potential increases in drug exports.

Instead, non-commercial members’ clubs, known as “cannabis social clubs,” will cultivate and distribute a restricted amount of the substance.

Each club will cap its membership at 500 individuals, on-site cannabis consumption will be prohibited, and membership will be exclusive to German residents.


Malta was the first country in the European Union to legalise cannabis for recreational use in 2021. 

Under the Cannabis Reform Act, consumers are now permitted to carry up to 7g of cannabis in public and grow four plants at home. 

The country mandates that consumers purchase cannabis exclusively through formally regulated membership-based non-profit cooperatives, rather than dispensaries, pharmacies, or stores.

A number of organisations have received licences to operate clubs, the first of which began distributing cannabis to members at the end of January.


In June 2023, officials in Luxembourg made the decision to allow individuals aged 18 and above to possess cannabis at home and cultivate up to four cannabis plants. 

However, consuming, buying, or carrying cannabis in public spaces remains illegal. 

If caught with up to 3g of cannabis for personal use, individuals may face reduced fines ranging from €25 to €500. 

But possessing larger amounts can still lead to higher fines and even a possible prison sentence.

Other European countries with relaxed cannabis laws

Recreational cannabis might not be strictly legal in these countries, but they have legal loopholes, relaxed laws, or plans to make it safer to access and consume cannabis for recreational use. 

The Netherlands (tolerated)

It might be famous for its cannabis tourism, but recreational cannabis sales technically remain illegal in The Netherlands – they are merely tolerated under specific conditions in the country’s renowned “coffee shop” establishments.

However, in December 2023, the Wietexperiment (Weed Experiment) kicked off. 

It allows a limited number of licensed growers to supply cannabis to coffee shops in 10 Dutch cities (not including Amsterdam, surprisingly), with close monitoring and assessment. 

This initial phase, expected to run for six months, permits the sale of both legally and illegally produced cannabis.

Czech Republic (expected to legalise this year)

The Czech Republic recently announced plans to legalise recreational cannabis, but it appears there won’t be provisions for a regulated market.

According to local Czech news sources, the proposed bill for legalising recreational cannabis won’t address regulations for a commercial market.

Possession for personal use was decriminalised in 2010, and medical cannabis was legalised in 2013.

In late 2022, the Czech Republic announced plans to legalise recreational cannabis, including the establishment of a regulated market. However, it now appears that legalisation will focus on possession, home cultivation, and the formation of cannabis social clubs.

Spain (decriminalised)

In Spain, owning and growing cannabis for personal use is mostly not considered a crime, but rules can differ between cities and regional authorities. 

Selling or bringing in any amount of cannabis with THC is illegal, and public consumption could lead to fines. 

However, Spain is famous for its cannabis social clubs—these are membership-based clubs, not officially regulated, that have aimed to test the boundaries of the law. 

With over 1,000 of these clubs now operating, they’re especially popular in places like Barcelona, a hub for tourists. 

Despite occasional crackdowns, local police have generally looked the other way, despite objections from the Central Government.

When will the UK legalise recreational cannabis?

Although the UK legalised medical cannabis in 2018, recreational cannabis seems a long way off, with stigma around cannabis being one of the main obstacles. 

This is highlighted by a recent survey that found 1 in 3 police officers were unaware of medical cannabis legality, leading to unwarranted searches. 

Non-prescribed cannabis remains illegal in the UK under the Misuse of Drugs Act, classified as a Class B drug. Possession can lead to up to 5 years in prison, while supplying cannabis carries a maximum sentence of 14 years.

Despite global trends toward cannabis legalisation for recreational use, the UK maintains strict laws. Nevertheless, an estimated 4.7 million people in the UK use cannabis, contributing to a £6 billion black market.

However, changes in policies abroad, such as in Germany, could influence UK attitudes. Arguments for legalisation may gain momentum with potential tax revenues, job creation, and evidence of reduced social harm from neighbouring countries becoming harder to ignore.

Despite initial pessimism, a review of recent years reveals gradual progress. Medical cannabis reforms were not predicted, and the progress of countries like Germany could go some way to altering public perceptions of cannabis. 

So who knows when the UK will legalise recreational cannabis? Your guess is as good as ours…

Final thoughts

In Europe’s changing landscape of cannabis legalisation, Germany is stepping up as the latest player. 

Starting April 1st, 2024, Germany will legalise recreational cannabis, following in the footsteps of Malta and Luxembourg. 

This move reflects shifting attitudes toward cannabis across Europe. 

While nations like the Netherlands, Czech Republic, and Spain navigate legal uncertainties or ponder future reforms, the UK maintains strict laws despite growing public support for change. 

Nevertheless, each advancement brings us closer to a more common sense approach to cannabis regulation.

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