Which Countries Smoke the Most Weed?

28 Nov 2022
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There are reportedly over 183 million global users of cannabis, but what are the countries where weed is considered legal? Which countries have the highest weed usage or smoke the most weed in the world? Which country tops the list, and what are their conditions on marijuana? 

Top 10 Countries Where Weed Is Legal

As the cannabis stigma gradually vanishes, its legalization is starting to change, allowing recreational use, not just medicinal. Although marijuana is acclaimed to have numerous health benefits, there are still many countries that prohibit the usage and sale of the plant. Below are the countries where selling, possessing, and using marijuana are not against the law. The United States of America is not included in this list due to the fact that weed is not legal in all of the states.  

  1. The Netherlands

It’s illegal to bring weed home in the Netherlands but it’s legal in coffee shops. That’s right. Simply walk into one of the many cafes or coffee shops with weed leaves portrayed on the signboards or walls. Even amidst the outbreak of coronavirus, these coffee shops were reopened a few days after they were temporarily closed for business by the government, considering weed sale essential. Most if not all of the customers are tourists.     

  1. Canada

The laws in Canada allow anyone who is 19 years old and older to publicly obtain up to 30 grams of weed. Also, people in Canada are allowed to grow one to four marijuana plants at home. The only law is: people should purchase cannabis from licensed producers and sellers.  

  1. Uruguay

People in Uruguay can simply buy weed from pharmacies for leisure. Since 2013, it has been legal for adults aged 18 and older to purchase or possess non-medical marijuana for recreational use. But first, they have to formally register with a regulator. 

  1. South Africa 

In 2018, South Africa’s Constitutional Court legalized possessing, growing, and using weed for adults in private. Still, the purchase, sale, and usage of weed remains illegal outside private spaces. 

  1. Jamaica 

In 2015, Jamaica decriminalized cannabis use. It is legal not just for medicinal purposes but also for religious purposes. In fact, Rastafarians, or those who practice the religion called Rastafari, are allowed to have an unlimited amount of weed. 

  1. Costa Rica 

To some extent, the usage of non-medical weed is illegal in Costa Rica. Selling cannabis is considered punishable by law. However, smoking is completely normal and will not lead to legal penalties. Therefore, people lighting up weed on the beach is a common sight. 

  1. Colombia

It is illegal to sell marijuana in Colombia. However, it is legal to possess up to 20 grams. Also, people are allowed to grow 1-20 marijuana plants for personal reasons, and due to the sufficient climate conditions in this country, the plants can grow humongous.

  1. Spain 

In 2017, Spain permitted the operation of smoking clubs in Catalonia, but smoking isn’t only allowed in clubs. Those who smoke freely aren’t penalized or fined. 

  1. Belize

In 2017, Belize legalized up to 10 grams of cannabis. There is just a minor restriction: clear permissions must be taken. Aside from that, people are free to use marijuana at home or in other places. 

  1. The Czech Republic

Marijuana for medicinal purposes is legal in The Czech Republic. Also, possessing up to 15 grams is allowed. Most of the weed is not local but imported, which can be costly. 

Top 9 Countries With the Highest Weed Usage

We found out about the countries where weed is legal but do they also smoke the most weed? 

What comes to mind when pondering countries with the most number of weed smokers? The Netherlands because there are pot bakeries and cannabis coffee shops? USA, Uruguay, or Portugal because of their efforts to decriminalize marijuana? Well, hold onto your seats as we reveal the top nine countries and the respective population percentages of cannabis users, starting with the lowest number. 

10. Zambia: 9.5%

9. Australia: 10.2%

8. Bermuda: 10.9%

7. New Zealand: 11% 

6. France: 11.1%

5. Chile: 11.83%

4. Canada: 12.7%

3. Nigeria: 14.3%

2. United States of America: 16.3%

The Netherlands isn’t even part of this list. This may come as a shock to everyone, but The Netherlands is actually at 20th because the estimated number of Dutch people who smoke marijuana is only 8%. Although marijuana is widely available in their country, the locals don’t usually partake in activities inside cannabis coffee shops as those are mostly for tourists.

In fact, there is a significant difference between the list of countries with liberal cannabis laws and the list with the highest number of smokers. This proves that just because it’s legal doesn’t mean everyone is using it. Legalization is not automatically linked to maximum consumption.

Number One Country With the Highest Weed Usage

According to the data collection of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Iceland comes in first place with 18.3% of the population ages 15-64 smoking weed. 

Iceland uses more cannabis per capita compared to any other country but what’s interesting is that marijuana isn’t even legal for recreational use in this country. Marijuana is limitedly allowed for patients with chronic illnesses. Reports point out that there is some toleration to this law. Cannabis users won’t be put to prison right away. Public smoking or possession of one gram of weed results in a fine of 500 USD upon getting caught by police. Repeat offenders and those who possess up to one kilogram of weed are likely to face a three-month jail sentence. 

Furthermore, law enforcers in Iceland seem to experience restraints in implementing marijuana laws. Police cannot search people against their will unless these people are reasonably suspected to be acting suspiciously.