Marijuana Legalization Updated Timeline | 1300 to 2020

Updated: May 20


The list contains and details important cannabis legalization/criminalization events that occurred in the global context of enforcing or modifying, legislation on the use, selling, or manufacture of the psychoactive drug cannabis/marijuana, at a national level.



The 1300s

🇸🇦 In Arabia, Soudoun Sheikuni banned the use of marijuana under his authority. The ban by Sheikouni is one of the earliest, if not the earliest, registered marijuana prohibitions, and is considered to be one of the first marijuana prohibition in the world.

The 1700s

1787: 🇲🇬 Madagascar's King Andrianampoinimerina took the throne, and soon criminalized marijuana everywhere in the Merina Kingdom, executing capital punishment and sentence for its use.



The 1800s

1800: 🇪🇬 Shortly following Napoleon's invasion of Egypt and concerned by his troops' smoking of hashish and drinking of cannabis-based beverages, he banned the drug and the establishments that provided it.

1830: 🇧🇷 Rio de Janeiro Municipal Council of Brazil outlawed the entry of marijuana and its use by any slave.


1840: 🇬🇧 the British colony of Mauritius banned marijuana.

1861: 🇬🇧 British Guiana passed a law entitled An Provision to Regulate the Sale of Opium and Bhang.

1867: 🇬🇧 the British colonial government of Sri Lanka enacted the Law on Opium and Bhang limiting the selling of marijuana to licensed dealers only.

1870: 🇿🇦 Natal Colony (presently in South Africa) passed the Coolie Law Consolidation forbidding: "Inhaling, handling, or possession by any transaction, barter, or gift to any Coolies" [ 🇮🇳 Indian enslaved labors] whatsoever, of any amount of the hemp plant (Cannabis Sativa)."

1870: 🇸🇬 Singapore banned marijuana.

1877: 🇪🇬 The Ottoman government in Constantinople ordered the destruction of all the hashish in Egypt, and in 1879 the Khedivate of Egypt prohibited the imports of marijuana.

1890: 🇲🇦 Sultan Hassan I of Morocco proposed strict laws on farming and sale but also granted clear privileges for the production of marijuana to many Rif tribes.


1890: 🇬🇷 Greece banned the cultivation, importation, and use of marijuana.

1894: 🇬🇧 🇮🇳 In British India, the Indian Hemp Drugs Commission published its observations, confirming that "moderate use produces practically no ill effects. Except in the rarest circumstances, injury from habitual moderate use is not noticeable."



The 1900s

1913: 🇯🇲 Jamaica prohibited marijuana under the Ganja Law, backed by both the white ruling class and the Council of Evangelical Churches in Jamaica.

1914: 🇻🇬 British East Africa Protectorate banned marijuana.

1920: 🇸🇱 Sierra Leone banned marijuana.

1920: 🇲🇽 Mexico banned the cultivation, sale, and recreational use of marijuana.

1922: 🇿🇦 South Africa banned marijuana nationally, under the Customs and Excises Duty Act.

1923: 🇨🇦 Canada banned marijuana.

1923: 🇵🇦 Panama banned the cultivation and use of marijuana.

1924: 🇸🇩 Sudan banned the cultivation and use of marijuana.

1925: The League of Nations signs the revised International Opium Convention, for the first time adding marijuana among prohibited drugs.

1925: 🇹🇹 Trinidad and Tobago banned marijuana.

1926: 🇱🇧 Lebanon prohibited hashish.

1926: 🇦🇺 Australia banned marijuana.

1927: 🇮🇩 Indonesia banned marijuana.

1928: 🇬🇧 Under the 1925 International Opium Convention, UK was the 1st to ban marijuana as a drug by adding marijuana as an addendum to the 1920 Dangerous Drugs Act.

1928: 🇷🇴 Romania has introduced laws to combat narcotics, including hashish and its preparations.

1934: 🇮🇪 The Irish Free State banned marijuana and cannabis resin under the Dangerous Drugs Act 1934.


1935: 🇹🇭 Thailand criminalized marijuana.

1937: 🇺🇸 The United States passed the Marijuana Tax Act, effectively prohibiting all use of marijuana on a federal level.

1939: 🇲🇲 Burma legalized and licensed the production and sale of marijuana.

1948: 🇯🇵 Japan adopted the Marijuana Control Law, establishing a licensing policy for traders, and penalties for unlicensed possession or trade.

1951: 🇵🇱 Poland categorized marijuana as a narcotic.

1953: 🇹🇳 Tunisia banned marijuana.

1953: 🇳🇱 the Netherlands criminalized marijuana.

1956: 🇲🇦 Morocco becomes independent, and banned marijuana by royal decree.


1961: 🇺🇳 The United Nations Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs has declared: "The use of marijuana for non-medical and scientific purposes must be scrapped as soon as possible, within 25 years".


1965: 🇳🇿 New Zealand banned marijuana under the Narcotics Act.

1966: 🇫🇮 Finland prohibited marijuana.

1968: 🇻🇳 The government of the Republic of Vietnam "publicly condemned" the use or trafficking of marijuana, and instructed local chiefs to prevent its cultivation.

1969: 🇮🇸 Iceland & 🇩🇰 Denmark banned marijuana.


1970: 🇺🇸 The US passed the Controlled Substances Act, disallowing marijuana federally along with a set of other substances and replacing the 1937 Act.


1972: 🇳🇱 The Netherlands classified drugs into high- and less-threatening categories, with marijuana in the lesser category. Consequently, possession of 30 grams or less was a misdemeanor.

1973: 🇳🇵 Nepal revoked the permits of all marijuana stores, traders, and producers under pressure from the 🇺🇸 US and the global community.

1973: 🇦🇫 Zahir Shah, King in Afghanistan, prohibited the cultivation of marijuana, followed by a legitimate dedication to elimination, supported by $47M in funding from the 🇺🇸 United State government.

1975: 🇰🇲 Ali Soilih from Comoros took control, and legalized cannabis in Comoros, including progressive changes aimed at youth support.

1976: 🇰🇷 South Korea passed the Marijuana Control Act.

1973: 🇮🇳 India revoked the permits of all marijuana stores, traders, and producers under pressure from the 🇺🇸 US and the global community.


1988: 🇵🇾 Paraguay decriminalized personal possession of 10 grams of marijuana or less.

1989: 🇧🇩 Bangladesh banned the sale of marijuana.

1992: 🇱🇧 Lebanon banned and eradicates marijuana, under US pressure.

1997: 🇵🇱 Poland criminalized possession of marijuana.

The 2000s

2001: 🇱🇺 Luxembourg decriminalized marijuana.

2001: 🇨🇦 Canada legalized medical marijuana.

2001: 🇵🇹 Portugal decriminalized marijuana and other drugs.

2003: 🇧🇪 Belgium decriminalized marijuana.

2004: 🇬🇧 The United Kingdom re-classified marijuana as a Class C (less-harmful) drug, before restoring it to Class B in 2009.

2005: 🇨🇱 Chile decriminalized marijuana.


2006: 🇷🇺 Russia has lowered the limits for legal possession of certain drugs, with the legal limit for marijuana lowered from 20 grams to 6 grams for marijuana and from 5 grams to 2 grams for hashish.


2006: 🇧🇷 Brazil decriminalized possession and cultivation of personal amounts of marijuana.

2008: 🇦🇹 Austria legalized medical marijuana.

2009: 🇲🇽 Mexico - Up to 5 grams of marijuana is decriminalized by Mexico.


2009: 🇦🇷 Argentina decriminalized marijuana.

2010: 🇨🇿 Czech Republic - The small possession offense and up to five marijuana plants is reduced in the Czech Republic to a minor offense.

2011: 🇩🇰 Denmark approves several marijuana-derived drugs for medical use.

2012: 🇨🇭 In Switzerland, 10 g or less is decriminalized to a fine.

2012: 🇨🇴 In Colombia, possession of 20 grams or less has been decriminalized.

2012: 🏴󠁵󠁳󠁣󠁯󠁿 Washington State and Colorado voters vote to legalize recreational marijuana; beginning of green rush

2013: 🇭🇷 Croatia decriminalized possession of marijuana.

2013: 🇺🇾 Uruguay legalized marijuana, being the 1st country in the modern period to explicitly do so.

2013: 🇮🇹 Italy legalized medical marijuana.

2013: 🇷🇴 Romania became the tenth EU country to legalise medical marijuana.

2013: 🇨🇿 Czech Republic legalized marijuana for medical use.

2013: 🇫🇷 France legalized the sale of medications containing marijuana derivatives.

2015: 🇲🇹 Malta decriminalized marijuana.

2015: 🇨🇴 Colombia legalized medical marijuana.

2015: 🇭🇷 Croatia legalized marijuana-based drugs for specified medical purposes.

2015: 🇯🇲 Jamaica decriminalized possession of up to 2 ounces of marijuana and legalized. the cultivation for the personal use of up to 5 plants

2016: 🇦🇹 Austria decriminalized possession of little quantities of marijuana.

2016: 🇲🇰 North Macedonia legalized medical marijuana.

2016: 🇦🇺 Australia legalized medicinal marijuana at the federal level.

2016: 🇵🇱 Poland legalized medical marijuana.

2016: 🇳🇴 Norway made allowances for medical marijuana.

2016: 🇬🇪 Georgia's Supreme Court ruled that imprisonment for possession of small amounts of marijuana is unconstitutional.

2017: 🇩🇪 Germany legalized medical marijuana.

2017: 🇨🇾 Cyprus legalized the medical use of marijuana oil for advanced-stage cancer patients.

2017: 🇧🇿 Belize decriminalized use or possession of 10g or less in a private property.

2017: 🇬🇷 Greece legalized medical marijuana.

2017: 🇲🇽 Mexico legalized medical marijuana having a THC content of 1% or less.

2017: 🇵🇪 Peru legalized marijuana oil for medical use.

2017: 🇱🇺 Luxembourg legalized medical marijuana extracts.

2017: 🇱🇸 Lesotho granted modern Africa's first medical marijuana license.

2017: 🇬🇪 Georgia decriminalized marijuana.

2018: 🇩🇰 Denmark legalized marijuana-based medicines.

2018: 🇲🇹 Malta legalized medicinal marijuana with a prescription.

2018: 🇵🇹 Portugal legalized medical marijuana.

2018: 🇿🇼 Zimbabwe legalized marijuana for recreational and research purposes.


2018: 🇨🇦 Canada legalized marijuana.

2018: 🇹🇭 Thailand legalized medical marijuana.

2018: 🇿🇦 South Africa decriminalized marijuana.

2019: 🇮🇪 Ireland legalized medical marijuana as part of a 5-year pilot program.

2019: 🇮🇱 Israel decriminalized marijuana.

2019: 🇹🇹 Trinidad and Tobago decriminalized marijuana allowing up to 30 grams per individual and cultivation of 4 plants per household.

2020: 🇦🇺 Australian Capital Territory legalizes marijuana possession and growth for personal use.

2020: 🇲🇼 Malawi legalizes medical Marijuana

2020: 🇱🇧 Lebanon legalizes medical marijuana


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