CBD Legality in Other Parts of the World
The growing number of CBD users around the world make the information on which countries allow the use of CBD a crucial bit of knowledge, especially for people who frequently travel. International legal matters regarding cannabidiol and other cannabis-derived products can be fraught with peril as bringing CBD to the wrong country can mean criminal charges and even jail sentences.
While you can try bringing innocuous-looking CBD products with you, like CBD gummies or other foods, you don't want to just bet on the authorities not recognizing it. If CBD is illegal in that country, you best not bring it there at all. You don't want to rely on plausible deniability either since it'll still make it illegal there. You likely won't get off with just a warning and a slap on the wrist.
That's why you need a complete guide to CBD legality around the world which lets you know which countries let you safely travel with CBD. Cannabis is still illegal in most countries, but there are some countries where THC is illegal, but CBD is legal, and there are some where both are completely legal. You need to know which one of them it is for your next travel destination.
EU regulations oversee the sale of CBD in most European countries, although they're given leeway to make their own interpretations, implementations, and penalties. Tolerance for cannabis-related crimes greatly varies between these countries, and so do their laws on CBD.
CBD and other cannabis products are legal in the following European countries:
- Czech Republic
- United Kingdom
CBD and other cannabis products are allowed with a medical prescription in the following European countries:
CBD and other cannabis products are illegal and/or prohibited in the following European countries:
- Bosnia and Herzegovina
The CBD market has been growing very quickly in South America as attitudes all over the world regarding cannabis have softened. South American countries are now starting to recognize the medical benefits of CBD, which has resulted in medicinal cannabis laws.
However, there isn't enough information regarding CBD for some of them, so not all South American countries are listed here. This list is regarding cannabis laws in general.
Cannabis products are legal in the following South American countries:
Cannabis products are allowed with a medical prescription in the following South American countries:
Cannabis products are illegal and/or prohibited in the following South American countries:
The majority of African countries prohibit the production, sale, and possession of CBD. All except South Africa prohibit recreational cannabis and only Lesotho and Zimbabwe have legalized medical cannabis, although with fairly limited access.
However, despite its legal status, cannabis is somewhat tolerated in some African countries, with the law not strictly enforced. Those that don't tolerate it enact harsh penalties for possession of minor quantities of cannabis.
The African CBD market isn't as developed as the rest of the world, with only South Africa claiming a competitive market. Despite this, travelling to any African nation while carrying CBD products is not advisable.
Attitudes towards CBD vary greatly between countries in the Middle East. For instance, Israel is a leading nation in cannabis research and has legalized medical cannabis, which is well tolerated. Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia is known to enact the death penalty for people who possess cannabis.
Therefore, it's strongly advised to never carry any CBD when travelling to the Middle East, even if you have a prescription or have CBD with low THC concentration. CBD with 0% THC seem to be popular and sold in parts of Egypt, Israel, and Turkey, but some areas within those countries are more heavily policed.
United States of America
Through the 2018 Farm Bill, US federal law states that CBD extracted from hemp containing less than 0.3% THC is legal for production, transport, and sale in the country. However, it's up to state law to have the final say on how cannabis and CBD is tolerated within their borders. Therefore, every state has a different take on things.
These states can be divided into four categories—green, amber, amber-red, and red.
Green States: All cannabis products are legal for recreational and medicinal purposes.
- Washington D.C.
Amber States: Medical cannabis and CBD are legal, but only with prescription.
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
- West Virginia
Amber-Red States: Recreational and medical cannabis are illegal, but CBD is prohibited under certain conditions—either medical purposes or low THC content.
- North Carolina
- South Carolina
Red States: CBD is illegal.
- South Dakota
The government legalized medical cannabis in 2016, albeit with strict restrictions. Only a handful of Australians have been able to avail of medical cannabis thus far due to all the requirements needed to secure special approval from the Department of Health for a prescription.
CBD is legal in Australia, but due to its classification as medical cannabis, it can only be procured with that special approval. CBD is only sold by a select number of approved vendors. That has resulted in as many as 100,000 Australians sourcing their CBD illegally for their medical needs. This problem has been recognized by the Australian government, but there are now discussions regarding full legalization of CBD.
CBD is legal in New Zealand under two specific conditions—that access has been granted and the CBD was legally purchased through a medical professional.
Medical cannabis products like Sativex are allowed, regardless of THC content. Possession of up to one month supply is allowed for travel. Other CBD products must contain less than 2% THC and possession of up to a three month supply is allowed for travel.
The country legalized medical cannabis in 2001, then legalized recreational cannabis in 2018. Each province was given the power to provide their specifics on the purchase of recreational cannabis, such as age requirement and amount one can legally possess.
Despite CBD being available in most Canadian provinces, it's technically legal only for medical purposes. This is due to the 2018 Canadian Cannabis Act, which states that only fresh, dried, oil, or seed forms of cannabis are legal, and CBD oil is technically classified as an extract.
Recently, the Mexican Supreme Court made a landmark vote on decriminalizing the private recreational use of cannabis by adults. While consuming cannabis in public and in front of children is still banned, this is likely to open up the cannabis market in the country.
Medical cannabis with less than 1% THC is legal in Mexico, and access to them has opened up since 2020 once producers have been granted the appropriate licenses. CBD is not classified as medical cannabis in Mexico, and it can be purchased without need for a prescription.
If you're in doubt, then it's best to be safe than sorry and not travel with CBD on your person. As for selling CBD products, you may have to dig deeper into the law of the country to see what establishing a business that sells any form of cannabis-derived product can entail.
This list can change over time as cannabis and CBD become more accepted throughout the world. It's only a matter of time until we won't have to worry about legal issues regarding CBD in most of the civilized world.