CBD Legality around the world

*Updated March 2020

Currently, there are conversations surrounding the legality of CBD around the United States and the world, happening at this very moment, in many different places. With laws rapidly changing, and no clear guidelines on where or how to find out what the clear laws in your area are, it becomes a risk to purchase or possess CBD products. People all around the world are curious or ready to try CBD products but fear the legal ramifications of doing so. It doesn’t help that there is still some social stigma regarding CBD because it is still very closely associated with the psychoactive marijuana cannabis plant.

Hemp-derived CBD is the only type of CBD that is legal in most countries. CBD is also found in the marijuana plant and can be extracted into what is known as marijuana-derived CBD. Marijuana-derived CBD is not legal in most countries because the growth and cultivation of marijuana are not legal. 

Around the world, CBD is often legal and well regarded for its purpose of health and wellness uses. In this article, we will be breaking down the legality of hemp-derived CBD by country and region of the world. For some areas of the world, we may know very little to nothing about the legality of hemp-derived CBD or marijuana.

It’s important to take note that this article serves merely as a reference that may not be up to date with current state and country regulations. Please take the time to research or discuss the legality with your local regulators before possessing or using CBD. While TSA allows the transports of hemp-derived CBD products (when in compliance with regular mandated TSA regulations), customs from nation to nation may or may not allow entry into their country with CBD products. 

CBD LAWS IN THE UNITED STATES

Again, as long as the CBD is produced from hemp plants, with less than 0.3% THC content, they are legal to possess in the United States. Because of the 2018 Farm Bill, Hemp is now an agricultural commodity. This article on Halt.org goes into some great detail about the legality of hemp-derived CBD in the United States: https://www.halt.org/8-things-you-should-know-about-the-legality-of-hemp-derived-cbd-oil/

CBD LAWS IN CANADA

In Canada, hemp-derived cannabis with a percentage of THC less than .3% is legal as long as it complies with the regulations set forth in the Cannabis Act. It is also noteworthy that Recreational Marijuana is federally legal across all of Canada.

CBD LAWS IN EUROPE

Marijuana and Cannabis laws differ from country to country in Europe. Generally, Europe permits the consumption of hemp-derived CBD products containing no more than 0.2% THC. Some countries in Europe, including Croatia and Slovenia have an outright ban on all cannabis and cannabis-derived products including CBD. See below a breakdown for the larger, more well know countries across Europe.

Austria 

In Austria, cannabis flowers and extracts containing CBD can be legally sold, but not as a food supplement or medication. The max content of THC potency allowed is 0.3%.

Bulgaria

Bulgaria was the first country in Europe to allow a legal, free and open sale of hemp-derived CBD. CBD products are legal and easy to purchase in Bulgaria, as long as they contain less than 0.2% of THC.

Cyprus

Cyprus allows cultivation of hemp. Any products manufactured from this plans must not exceed 0.2% of THC, making regular CBD products legal to purchase.

Czech Republic

Czech Republic has a slightly higher tolerance for the percentage level of THC they allow in their CBD than Europe as a nation (0.2% THC). Hemp-derived CBD is legal to purchase as long as it has less than 0.3% THC.

Denmark

Danish laws unequivocally prohibit the cultivation, processing, sale and or distribution of marijuana. However, only recently (January 2018) whole plant for medical and wellness purposes was made legal for a 4 years pilot.

To become eligible to legally purchase and use a control quantity of the substance in Denmark, you would require a written prescription from your licensed health care provider.

While cannabis derived CBD is legal, there are controlled measures with prescriptions. Marijuana remains an illegal substance in Denmark and when reprimanded would cost you a small fine or on a heavier note, a prison sentence of up to 2 years depending on the quantity in your possession at the point of arrest.

Finland

While CBD products in Finland are legal, they are regarded as medicine, therefore require prescription. Importing CBD products form abroad is also not easy and heavily regulated.

France

France is the largest producer of hemp in Europe, mostly used for hemp paper. It is unclear whether CBD oil is legal in France. France follows the general EU law for industrial hemp and allows legal purchase of CBD products with content of 0.2% THC or less. However, in 2018,  french health authorities shut down “CBD cafes” and sent out a directive clarifying regulation surrounding CBD products: “Products, and especially CBD-based e-liquids are prohibited if they contain THC regardless of the rate and if they are not obtained from varieties and part of authorized plants.” France stated that “the .2% THC limit principle exists in order to allow the use of hemp for industrial and commercial purposes”.This directive would seem to indicate that only CBD products with 0% THC are legal for sale/consumption, inconsistent with EU standards. 

Greece

According to Greek law, hemp-derived products are not considered as drugs, as they do not contain high amounts of THC. Therefore, CBD products can be legally purchased in Greece as long as they contain .2% or less of THC. 

Germany

CBD and medical cannabis are legal substances in Germany and have been so for over 2 years now. Patients requiring CBD are expected to get a marijuana card and doctors prescription for their medications.

While recreational cannabis remains illegal, Germany holds a liberal stance on the private and public consumption of the substance.

Italy

Italy legalized cannabis for medical use in 2007, with many caveats. In the 1940s, Italy was said to be the world’s second-biggest producer of industrial hemp, but after World War II, the country adopted a different approach to the cultivation of hemp, banning the business completely. In 2017 , a government directive shifted the perspective by no longer requiring authorization for cultivating hemp with a maximum THC content of 0.2% with a tolerance level up to 0.6%. CBD Oil was Legal in Italy as long as the product had less than 0.6% THC. High CBD cannabis strains were also available in Italy in smokeable form, commonly called Cannabis Light.However, in June 2019, the Supreme Court outlawed so called “Cannabis Light” as the Interior Minister put the pressure on to shut down CBD shops. The verdict means that the sale of cannabis light is prosecutable but no formal change of legislation has happened yet, so we should not expect all stores to shut immediately; that will depend on local enforcement.

Ireland

Pharmacies and stores in Dublin have started selling CBD products which contain less than 0.2% of THC. This is because of the recent amendments to Irish law, which have recognized CBD (hemp-derived CBD) as a non-cannabis product, making it legal. These oils and products must be developed according to HPRA and EU standards to be accepted in the market. 

Norway

CBD oil is widely accepted in Norway. The Norwegian Parliament decriminalized personal drug use in December 2017.  As long as there’s 0% trace of THC, CBD is legal. Norway is not a part of the European Union, which has a .2% THC limit. It is legal to use and possess CBD only if it is prescribed by a doctor.

The Netherlands

CBD oil is legal in the Netherlands as long as it was produced outside of The Netherlands and contains less than the legal concentration of 0.2% THC in its formulation.

Sweden

Sweden has some of Europe’s most restrictive drug laws. There are currently no specific laws about CBD in Sweden yet, so CBD is in a gray zone here. CBD is not classified as a medicine, but the medical agency is currently working on classifying it as medicine. Classifying CBD as a medicine needs to be tried in court first and the process will take a long time.According to EU laws, CBD products cannot contain more than 0,2% THC and this applies to Sweden as well. However, a recent court ruling (June, 2019) provided clarification that while hemp is excluded from the definition of cannabis, and therefore is not considered a drug..a preparation containing THC does not meet this exception and is therefore considered a drug.  (https://www.nutraingredients.com/Article/2019/07/24/Sweden-s-Supreme-Court-outlaws-sale-of-THC-containing-CBD-oil)

The United Kingdom 

Cannabis remains illegal in the United Kingdom although the government has made some concessions on the dispensary of medical cannabis. While the UK remains strongly averse to the idea of legalized cannabis, growing public concerns and agitation is likely to shift the pendulum in the nearest future.

CBD LAWS IN THE ASIA REGION

Countries in Asia have some of the strictest cannabis laws in the world. 

China

While the consumption of CBD has not yet been authorized in China, this hasn’t stopped some states in the Country from cashing in on the cannabis boom and cultivating cannabis to produce CBD oil. To produce hemp in China requires, among other things, approval from the police to insure that the plant is bred with less than .3% THC. This is difficult to enforce in theory, as you won’t know the % of THC until the hemp is harvested. China is another country with some of the strictest drug enforcement policies in the world. Cultivating and using marijuana in China are strictly forbidden, and it’s uncertain whether or not CBD will be legal for use in food or medicines any time soon. Currently China permits the sale of hemp seeds and hemp oil and the use of CBD in cosmetics.

India

The laws in India are very unclear. Growing hemp is allowed only with special permission. It is said, that cannabis medicines are allowed and legally available under the AYUSH ministry as Ayurvedic medicine. It is advised to be careful when importing/exporting any products that are made from hemp/cannabis

Japan

In Japan, cannabis possession alone can land you a five year prison term with 7-10 years for cultivation, sale, and transport. Surprisingly, CBD oil IS LEGAL in Japan. However, it has to contain absolutely 0% THC. 

South Korea

South Korea was the first country in east Asia to legalize Medical Cannabis in November, 2018. CBD oil is legal but strictly for medical purposes from a short list of approved drugs.  

Singapore

The Republic has an absolute zero tolerance position on drugs. There may be a health case for CBD in Singapore despite the harsh drug policies. In February, the Health Ministry and the Ministry of Home Affairs commented that it was vital to distinguish between compounds containing unprocessed illicit substances and medically useful supplements with cannabinoids.In other words, any material with scientific evidence backing its efficacy and safety for the body might not be considered illicit. Currently, the country is exploring medical

treatments and the utility of CBD.

Thailand

In August, 2019 the Ministry of Public Health took CBD off of the Narcotics list as long as it is 99% pure and contains no more than .01% THC by weight. This oil can be derived from cannabis or hemp as long as there is less than .01% THC. Thailand currently bans imports of 99%-pure CBD oil made from cannabis for a period of five years from the date the regulation came into effect on September 2, 2019. Any imports during that time will be considered a narcotic. While CBD oil made from cannabis is illegal to import, there is no ban on imports of CBD oil made from hemp. 

CBD LAWS IN THE MIDDLE EAST

CBD is not legal by any means in the UAE. Bringing even the smallest amount of an illegal drug into the UAE can lead to a jail sentence of at least four years.

CBD LAWS IN CENTRAL AND SOUTH AMERICA

Several Latin American countries have relaxed their laws surrounding cannabinoids, including non-psychoactive cannabidiol (“CBD”).

CENTRAL AMERICA

Mexico

Mexico in days would join the league of countries that have fully legalized the cultivation, processing, sale, possession, and use of Cannabis and cannabis derivatives. This has come on the heels of an October, 31st2018 Supreme Court ruling.

However, the laws since 2015 have been a little relaxed with medical CBD for the treatment of degenerative ailments such as cancer and Parkinson disease.

SOUTH AMERICA

Argentina 

CBD is tolerated.

Bolivia 

All forms of cannabis products and by-products are illegal in Bolivia.

Brazil

Brazil has been a long-time opponent of cannabis legalization, but in April 2014, the country and its regulatory authority ANVISA legalized CBD for therapeutic uses. Currently, the government has approved the import of hemp-based CBD oils for epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease, and chronic pain, including migraine headaches.

Chile

Consumer acceptance for CBD in Chile is quite high and CBD is available for purchase online and use is well tolerated by authorities. You need a prescription to access CBD in Chile.

Colombia

CBD products containing less than 1.0% CBD are allowed to be sold by retailers who have obtained a license to sell.

Peru

CBD products are legal and widely available for purchase in Peru.

Uruguay 

CBD products are apparently hard to come by in Uruguay despite their relaxed laws on Cannabis. You must have a prescription to obtain CBD products in Uruguay.

Venezuela

Illegal.

 

CBD LAWS IN AFRICA

There is not much information available and the CBD market across Africa. Cannabis varies between highly enforced as an illegal substance in some areas, to unenforced in others. 

North Africa

East Africa

Middle Africa

South Africa

In May the South African Health Minister amended the country’s Medicines and Related Substances Act, 1965, to remove certain cannabidiol preparations for nonserious health claims. The change to South Africa’s medicines law means the country is the first in Africa to carve out a federally approved market for nonprescription CBD.The rule change pertains to preparations that contain a maximum daily dose of 20 milligrams of CBD and that contain not more than 0.001% of THC and not more than 0.0075% total CBD.

West Africa

CBD LAWS IN OCEANIA

Australia

Hemp products and foods have been approved for trade in Australia, but the kicker is that they classify CBD products to contain less than 0.005% THC. Basically, they allow allow CBD isolate products. The legal age to buy CBD and hemp products in Australia is 18 years old.

Fiji

Illegal.

New Zealand

Authorized prescribers and pharmacies are allowed to import CBD products, as well as persons or companies holding a licence to sell medicines by wholesale. 

If the country you are searching for was not listed here, please leave a comment and we can add it for you! You can also search online to find out if CBD is legal in the specific region you are searching for.