When planning foreign travel, know the laws. And don’t do anything stupid.
That’s the most important bit of advice for United States travelers who plan to buy and partake of marijuana while traveling aboard. Anything beyond that is just details.
With marijuana legal in so many places within the U.S. these days, many tourists with their mind set on buying cannabis while on the road are choosing domestic vs. foreign travel.
Doing the same thing in some foreign countries can be both safe and legal, depending on the location. However, many of the same rules apply. It’s on travelers to know the local laws and adhere to them.
The following are some of the foreign destinations where marijuana is legal – up to different points. Keep it handy for when you make your travel plans aboard. However, if buying and using marijuana is priority for your trip, you might want to consider staying right here in the U.S.
Foreign Travel Warning
Much like in U.S. cities where recreational marijuana is legal, it’s not legal to use cannabis in public in most countries. Some will allow it in designated places such as coffee shops. Of course, locals also might tell you that what happens at midnight in a club differs from what happens at 1 p.m. on a busy major city street. But still, know the laws.
Major European Cities
Let’s get this out of the way. Four of the most popular foreign travel destinations for U.S. travelers are London, Rome, Paris and Dublin. None of those cities allow purchases and possession of marijuana. So if you plan to hit one of these popular spots, put away any plans of getting cannabis legally.
No surprise, here. Long before marijuana became legal in parts of the U.S., Amsterdam was a popular spot for pot tourists. There are rules to keep in mind, however. Designated coffee houses can sell marijuana, and it’s decriminalized if a person possesses less than five grams. However, it’s actually technically illegal to sell marijuana – coffee houses have a special permit to do so.
It’s all a bit hazy. Still, the Netherlands has some of the most liberal marijuana laws in the world. And yes, there are even coffee houses in The Hague.
You might think because it’s a Caribbean Island and that things would be pretty laid back in Jamaica, and you’d be right. In 2015, politicians there voted to make possession of cannabis for amounts up to two ounces a petty offense that will result in no permanent criminal record. The law allows for purchase of medical marijuana, but tourists must apply for a permit.
Prague, Czech Republic
This one is on the list partially because so many people think marijuana is legal there. It’s not, for adult use. The Czech Republic has also made possession of small amounts of marijuana (up to 15 grams) an offense to be paid by a fine, and medical marijuana is legal there for residents. However, there are not coffee shops or dispensaries such as you find in Amsterdam and Denver. That makes it a more difficult proposition. Plenty of message boards on travel sites indicate that you should never buy marijuana from anyone on the street or at a train station, but that some bars and clubs have sellers on the premises. In short, enforcement can be more relaxed in Prague depending on the officer, but cannabis remains technically illegal.
Well, not yet. Canadian officials are currently going through the process of setting up a nationwide legalized marijuana system for both medical and recreational use. But that’s not going to happen until 2018, and that’s not yet a certainty. If it does go through, each province will have the opportunity to create its own marijuana laws. That means it’s possible coffee houses and dispensaries could eventually spring up, but at this time that’s far down the road.
This is one of the Top 10 destinations for U.S. tourists. While Mexico legalized medicinal marijuana nationwide earlier this year and decriminalized possessing small amounts (up to five grams) for recreational use, it’s still technically illegal.
That’s a short list of the marijuana laws in some of the most frequent vacation spots for Americans.
Our honest advice: If partaking of marijuana on a trip is a priority, you might want to think about Las Vegas or Denver.