52 Countries Ranked For Marijuana Tolerance. Most Are In Africa

By Dana Sanchez and Keren Mikva Published: May 17, 2016, 1:59 pm
countries ranked for marijuana toleranceDenver, Colorado Photo: marijuana.com

African governments have tried to limit and stop its use, but marijuana remains deeply ingrained in African traditions, economies and recreation. It is an important source of income, but illegal everywhere in Africa. Levels of tolerance and law enforcement vary from country to country. Each country is ranked on a scale of 1 to 10 where 1 = highly prohibited and 10 = legal.

Algeria seizes 127 tonnes of hashish in 8 months Headline and photo from a 2013 story in the DailyStar:

Algeria seizes 127 tonnes of hashish in 8 months
Headline and photo from a 2013 story in the DailyStar

Algeria, Smoking Tolerance Level: 2

 Cannabis plants found and ready to be destroyed, 1970s Photo: Alasdair Ward, vintagemauritius.org/

Cannabis plants found and ready to be destroyed, 1970s
Photo: Alasdair Ward, vintagemauritius.org/

Mauritius, Smoking Tolerance Level : 2


Malawi gold Photo: kindgreenbuds

Malawi gold
Photo: kindgreenbuds

Malawi, Smoking Tolerance Level: 2


Man chewing khat en.wikipedia.org

Man chewing khat

Djibouti, Smoking Tolerance Level: 2

Photo shot in Angola according to 420Magazine

Photo shot in Angola
according to 420Magazine

Angola, Smoking Tolerance Level : 4


Plant appeared spontaneously in Mozambique

Plant appeared spontaneously in Mozambique

Mozambique, Smoking Tolerance Level : 4



Zimbabwe cannabis seeds
Photo: potseeds.co.uk

Zimbabwe, Smoking Tolerance Level : 4


Ivory Coast drug enforcment gendarmes search through bags in Bouafle which reportedly contain more than a tonne of cannabis on June 26, 2009, the international anti-drugs day in Ivory Coast. Found cannabis will be incinerated. AFP PHOTO / ISSOUF SANOGO (Photo credit should read ISSOUF SANOGO/AFP/Getty Images)

Ivory Coast drug enforcers search through bags containing cannabis in 2009. Photo: ISSOUF SANOGO/AFP/Getty

Côte d’Ivoire, Smoking Tolerance Level: 4



A Guinean policeman pours gasoline on four tons of marijuana in this 2013 photo. Photo: CELLOU BINANI/AFP/Getty Images)

Guinea, Smoking Tolerance Level: 4


Construction in Eritrea Photo: ealuxe.com

Construction in Eritrea
Photo: ealuxe.com

Eritrea, Smoking Tolerance Level: 5




Cameroon, Smoking Tolerance Level: 5




Madagascar, Smoking Tolerance Level: 5


Egypt ocannabis Photo: ancient-wisdom.co.uk

Photo: ancient-wisdom.co.uk

Egypt, Smoking Tolerance Level : 6 out of 10


gabonpub.com La-plante-cannabis-369x345


Gabon, Smoking Tolerance Level : 6 out of 10


bhangforest1 medicalkenya.co.ke

Photo: medicalkenya.co.ke

Kenya, Smoking Tolerance Level : 6 out of 10


m_FDLR-accused-of-supplying-Rwanda-with-marijuana Impounded cannabis Photo: uburenganzira.com

Impounded cannabis Photo: uburenganzira.com

Rwanda, Smoking Tolerance Level : 6 out of 10


Source: MarijuanaTravels

Tanzania, Northern Tanzania, Lake Eyasi. A Hadza hunter wearing a genet cat skin cape smokes cannabis from a crude stone pipe sheathed in leather.The Hadzabe are a thoUSAnd-strong community of hunter-gatherers who have lived in the Lake Eyasi basin for ce

Tanzania, Northern Tanzania, Lake Eyasi. A Hadza hunter wearing a genet cat skin cape smokes cannabis from a crude stone pipe sheathed in leather. Getty

Tanzania, Smoking Tolerance Level : 6 out of 10




Zambia, Smoking Tolerance Level : 6 out of 10

Zambia is the world’s third largest marijuana-smoking country by population, according to the 2014 World Drug Report, LusakaVoice reports.

Smoking marijuana is illegal in Zambia and any violation is punishable but a lot of people still smoke, especially in depressed areas of the country. The laws apply to the entire country but implementation is a bit lax, especially for locals.

Police do not seem to care much about the use of marijuana, but are stricter with those below 18 years old.

Source: MarijuanaTravels



Benin, Smoking Tolerance Level: 6

On a scale of 1 to 10 where 1 = highly prohibited and 10 = legal, Benin has a smoking tolerance level of 6.

Benin is considered a transit point for cannabis and it’s believed that marijuana moves around via the international airport in Cotonou. However, the Benin government does not assist or encourage the illegal production and sale of marijuana. A person caught smoking, in possession or selling any amount can face penalties.

Law enforcement resources are inadequate in Benin. In 1995 the government asked the U.S. to provide assistance to pursue stronger action against marijuana traders.
Marijuana is widely cultivated in Central Benin for regional sale and local consumption.

Activities of cannabis traders remain discreet.

Authorities still lack resources to fight against cannabis trading. Although the overall efforts against illegal production and sales are inadequate, this should not be a reason for anyone to smoke weed in public or sell it in the open.

Source: MarijuanaTravels



Cape Verde, Smoking Tolerance Level: 6

On a scale of 1 to 10 where 1 = highly prohibited and 10 = legal, Cape Verde has a smoking tolerance level of 6.

Although marijuana and the use of it is illegal in Cape Verde and all its cities or principalities, the attitude of law enforcement is very relaxed toward consumption, as long as you are not intrusive or overly obvious. Common sense applies.

Marijuana is an illegal substance in Cape Verde. Penalties for getting busted are pretty light.

There is a lot of marijuana available in the country.

Source: MarijuanaTravels



Gambia, Smoking Tolerance Level: 6

On a scale of 1 to 10 where 1 = highly prohibited and 10 = legal, The Gambia has a smoking tolerance level of 6.

Possession of cannabis is illegal in Gambia. In this country, marijuana grows naturally. It has been used as recreational medicine in Gambia for centuries. Carrying, smoking, growing and selling are illegal and a person caught doing any of these activities could be penalized.

Depending on the violation, a person caught could  be imprisoned (with or without labor) for up to seven years and/or a fine. Police sometimes set up road blocks.

Tai or colo are the local names of marijuana in Gambia.

In a year, a grower can have three marijuana harvests. Because of its low production costs and strong availability, the use and sales of cannabis are widespread in Gambia. The penalties imposed are harsh.

Source: MarijuanaTravels



Lesotho, Smoking Tolerance Level: 6

On a scale of 1 to 10 where 1 = highly prohibited and 10 = legal, Lesotho has a smoking tolerance level of 6.

Marijuana grows everywhere in Lesotho. You can find it in small plots in the capital city, Maseru. It is illegal to grow or to posses any amount but law enforcement is weak here.

The cops don’t care much about the people who use, carry or grow marijuana. While there are some raids, those are done to big-time dealers only. Cops don’t care that much about small-time smokers and dealers.

Lesotho produces large quantities of cannabis, called matekoane in Sesotho, the language spoken in Lesotho. Although there is a domestic consumer market, Lesotho basically grows cannabis to supply the large South African market. Cannabis production represents one of the country’s three main sources of hard currency, the other two being international aid and the wages sent home by Basotho miners working in South Africa.

Source: MarijuanaTravels, UKcia.org

A cannabis plant from Liberia Photo: sensiseeds.com

A cannabis plant from Liberia
Photo: sensiseeds.com

Liberia, Smoking Tolerance Level: 6

On a scale of 1 to 10 where 1 = highly prohibited and 10 = legal, Liberia has a smoking tolerance level of 6.

Marijuana is illegal in Liberia as are any related activities. Liberia is both a transit point for drug trafficking (that includes weed) from South America to Europe and a marijuana producer grown by small-scale farmers.

Liberian law enforcement against marijuana is weak. The lack of budget to fight marijuana means marijuana production is rampant in the country.

You can buy marijuana almost anywhere in Liberia. Even if the cops aren’t that strict, they can still send you to jail.

Source: MarijuanaTravels



Ghana, Smoking Tolerance Level : 7 out of 10

All activities related to marijuana are illegal in Ghana. The police are more focused on traffic problems, however. This means that the clubs and other public locations are not really closely monitored. However, there are still some security personnel inside clubs and bars.

Source: MarijuanaTravels

Uganda, Semliki Forest, Bundibugiyo. Scattered bands of Batwa pygmies hunt and fish in the Semliki Forest of Western Uganda, an extension of the vast Ituri rainforest of the Congo DRC. Rarely more than five feet tall, the Batwa are of mixed ancestry, bei

Batwa pygmies hunt and fish in the Semliki Forest of Western Uganda. Getty

Uganda, Smoking Tolerance Level : 7 out of 10

The use of cannabis in Uganda is illegal and that includes any activities relating to it. There have been petitions filed by the locals and farmers to make the use of cannabis legal but there has been no action or response from the government.

The police in Uganda have raided farmers. Despite intolerance when it comes to cannabis growers, smokers are very abundant in Kampala and other areas in Uganda.

Source: MarijuanaTravels

Getty Marijuana spilling out of medicine bottle


Botswana, Smoking Tolerance Level : 8 out of 10

Marijuana is illegal in Botswana and if cannabis is seen in your possession, penalties will be imposed. Fines may be enforced and jail time of six months or more, depending on the violation.

Having said that, implementation of the law against marijuana use in Botswana is not stiff. Police are easy to bribe.

“Dagga” or “motokwane” is the common term used for marijuana in Botswana. This term is also commonly used in South Africa and by Swazi farmers.

Source: MarijuanaTravels

535292959 Marijuana plants drying in Morocco Getty

Marijuana plants drying in Morocco

Morocco, Smoking Tolerance Level: 8 out of 10

In the Kingdom of Morocco, marijuana, cannabis and all business or activities associated with it are illegal. Smoking, buying, selling and distributing could carry a sentence of 10 years. Marijuana and tourism are both very big business here so the police won’t want to bother tourists too much. Their money is too important to the economy.

The police presence in Morocco can be either very vigilant or comically lax depending on the area, current political situations and the attitude of the local police chief.

Marijuana in Morocco is called “rif.”

Source: MarijuanaTravels

marijuana getty 515830975


Namibia, Smoking Tolerance Level: 8 out of 10

Anyone found in possession of cannabis can face jail detention, but that doesn’t stop people from smoking in Namibia. The law implies that cannabis should not be smoked anywhere — indoors or out. Generally, no one is excused regardless of language, race or creed.

In reality enforcement is weak, according to MarijuanaTravels.

Source: MarijuanaTravels

Nigeria Cannabis-plantation Photo: newswirengr.com/Vanguard

Photo: newswirengr.com/Vanguard

Nigeria, Smoking Tolerance Level: 8 out of 10

Marijuana is illegal in Nigeria. If you get caught trafficking, purchasing, using and cultivating, there are punishments. However, Nigerians export marijuana to other countries including Niger.

The police here are corrupt and can be bribed, according to MarijuanaTravels. Tourists can become targets of dealers and have been known to get ripped off.

Source: MarijuanaTravels

ngs38_0094 Welkom, South Africa, man running while exhaling marijuana smoke. Getty

Welkom, South Africa, man running while exhaling marijuana smoke.

South Africa, Smoking tolerance level: 8 out of 10

Possession of cannabis in South Africa is illegal. This includes using, cultivating and trafficking marijuana. In the event that you get caught with a small amount, it will be confiscated and you will have to pay a fine.

Tourists and users are not currently being targeted by the police. They are after marijuana producers and dealers, and people using crystal meth, according to MarijuanaTravels.

In South Africa, a lot of marijuana is sold by Nigerians and Rastas. Nigerian marijuana sellers are often refugees in South Africa working without permits.

Source: MarijuanaTravels



Burkina Faso, Smoking Tolerance Level: 8

On a scale of 1 to 10 where 1 = highly prohibited and 10 = legal, Burkina Faso has a smoking tolerance level of 8.

Burkina Faso is one of the poorest countries in the world and like any other poor country, it’s crawling with drug traffickers. Cannabis abuse is a problem and law enforcement authorities take their job seriously.

According to the police in Burkina Faso, almost 20 percent of the young adult population has either tried marijuana or other drugs.

Source: MarijuanaTravels

File:New arrivals pour into Kibati (7831357040).jpg

New arrivals pour into Kibati

Congo Brazzaville, Smoking Tolerance Level: 8

On a scale of 1 to 10 where 1 = highly prohibited and 10 = legal, Congo has a smoking tolerance level of 8.

War has been blamed for the boom of weed in Congo. Weed is used to raise some funds for the war. If you smoke weed in Congo, nobody cares, according to MajijuanaTravels. But if you are a tourist, do it discreetly.

Source: MarijuanaTravels

Rain forest canopy in the south coast region of Bioko Island, Equatorial Guinea. Getty

Rain forest canopy in the south coast region of Bioko Island, Equatorial Guinea.

Equatorial Guinea, Smoking Tolerance Level: 8

On a scale of 1 to 10 where 1 = highly prohibited and 10 = legal, Equatorial Guinea has a smoking tolerance level of 8.

In the former Spanish colony of Equatorial Guinea, marijuana is illegal but people smoke it publicly and the police don’t seem to care. This West African country is the only one in Africa where Spanish is the official language.

Marijuana was originally smoked only during traditional ceremonies but now everything has changed, according to MarijuanaTravels. Marijuana is all things to all men in Equatorial Guinea. It is smoked all the time everywhere and even in the streets. Marijuana is a part of the culture.

There are a lot of tourists who buy in bulk here. Marijuana is called “The Sacred Weed” in Equatorial Guinea. They love it a lot and it is part of their culture. According to Weed.wiki, to date there are no records of a cannabis-related conviction in Equatorial Guinea.

Just remember this: officially it’s illegal.

Source: MarijuanaTravels

Guinea Bissau, true colour satellite image Getty

Guinea Bissau, true colour satellite image

Guinea-Bissau, Smoking Tolerance Level: 8

On a scale of 1 to 10 where 1 = highly prohibited and 10 = legal, Guinea-Bissau has a smoking tolerance level of 8.

Marijuana is prevalent in Guinea Bissau. The military has long been suspected of having a history of drug trafficking. There are laws against marijuana but enforcement is very lenient.

The police are generally lenient and tolerant to those arrested in connection with marijuana. The possible reason is that upper-level members of the law enforcement hierarchy are among those who patronize and know about the business. Cocaine is the major problem in this area.

Source: MarijuanaTravels

4592 × 3388Search by image Ethiopian Emperor

Haile Selassie I of Ethiopia, considered by Rastas to be God.
Photo: en.wikipedia.org

Ethiopia, Smoking Tolerance Level: 9 out of 10

The use of cannabis or any other related activities is illegal in Ethiopia. Despite being the spiritual home of the Rastafari movement, possession of cannabis can result in up to six months imprisonment, according to MarijuanaTravels.

Rastafari is an Africa-centered religion that developed in Jamaica in the 1930s after Haile Selassie I became king of Ethiopia in 1930.

Rastafarians worship Selassie based on the words of black consciousness leader Marcus Garvey, who said in 1920, “Look to Africa, when a black king shall be crowned, for the day of deliverance is at hand,” BBC reports. When Selassie was crowned emperor 10 years later, many thought Garvey’s prediction had come true.

Marijuana or ganja is considered a herb of religious significance for Rastafarians, who sometimes refer to it as the holy herb or wisdom weed.

Regardless of the laws, Ethiopian police are not that diligent when it comes to enforcement of marijuana laws, according to MarijuanaTravels.

Cannabis is very abundant in Ethiopia but the country lacks cigarette papers and blunts, according to MarijuanaTravels.

Source: MarijuanaTravels

Denver, Colorado Photo: marijuana.com

Denver, Colorado
Photo: marijuana.com

Most Marijuana-Friendly Countries in the World

There’s an increasingly popular belief that with the proper regulation and limitations, marijuana should be legalized for the greater good. The following are among the world’s most marijuana-friendly countries, supporting policies that include decriminalization, legalization for medical uses, and recreational use.

Sources: Wikipedia.org, HuffingtonPost.com, Buzzfeed.com, Weedist.com, dailysmoker.com, webehigh.org, marijuana-tourism-information.com, en.wikipedia.org, stuff.co.nz, america.aljazeera.com




Beginning in April 2014, Uruguay’s laws surrounding the use of marijuana will become more encompassing, allowing for government control over the entire industry. In an effort to curb traffickers, the country legalized the sale, cultivation, and distribution of cannabis, and plans to begin to sell it for $1 a gram.




The Netherlands, and Amsterdam in particular, have long been considered a hotspot for marijuana use, and “coffee shops” that sell weed are incredibly common. Though it is illegal to sell to tourists (in an effort to prevent it from being brought back to foreign countries where it remains illegal), marijuana use is still incredibly prominent.




As marijuana is decriminalized in Switzerland, only the minimum penalty is enforced for possession and personal use, despite the amount. Even further, the government decided in January 2012 that each person would be able to grow and cultivate up to four plants for personal use, in an effort to cut down illegal trafficking. The result has been considered fairly successful.




Though selling cannabis remains against the law in Spain, the country legalized the cultivation of cannabis plants for personal use, so long as it is consumed by adults in private spaces. Buying, selling, possessing, or consuming cannabis in public locations is decriminalized (and very rarely enforced), meaning the punishment is merely a small fine and confiscation.




Portugal is extremely progressive in its treatment of drug offenses, and became the first country in the world to decriminalize all drug use (for personal consumption) in 2001, opting instead to treat drug use as a sickness and enforce treatment rather than punishment. Marijuana use is still widely prevalent throughout the country, and no criminal charges can be brought if one has less than an estimated 10 days’ supply of marijuana — determined to be 25 grams for weed, five grams for hash, and 2.5 grams for THC oil.




Marijuana has been decriminalized in Chile since 2007, allowing for minimal punishment for the personal consumption, possession and cultivation of the drug in private locations. Despite the “private” stipulation, it’s still extremely common to find marijuana in many of the country’s bars and beaches.




Jamaica has long been considered a haven for weed smokers (thanks in large part to Bob Marley) but in fact the cultivation, selling, and consumption of marijuana is illegal, albeit decriminalized as of October 2013. Regardless of the law, marijuana is often sold openly and is extremely easy to come by, and the tourism industry heavily markets ganja tours and other marijuana-related activities.



Czech Republic

Like many other countries on this list, the possession of up-to-15 grams of marijuana or the cultivation of up to five plants (all for personal use only) is decriminalized in the Czech Republic. Medical marijuana has also been legal since April 2013, and it’s not uncommon to find many people smoking pot in bars and other public places.




Mexico can lay claim to the word marijuana, slang for cannabis. It translates from Spanish to “Mary Jane.” America can thank Mexico for this “highly” creative play on words. As of 2009, holding and the recreational use of less than five grams of pot is legal in Mexico, although in a country said to be largely run by drug-trade bribery, it’s easy to push the limits. Recently, lawmakers proposed decriminalizing (but not legalizing) the personal possession and usage of pot in Mexico City. Tens of thousands of people have died as a result of the U.S.-led drug war over the years, and it’s speculated that a move to relax laws on marijuana may reduce general violence in the country.



New Zealand

Marijuana is still illegal, and burning it down in Kiwi land is not uncommon. But more than 13 percent of people ages 16 to 64 say they partake. Steep fines and short prison time has been slapped on unauthorized possessors, but recent steps to relax these laws have been introduced. The Green Party works to decriminalize users and holders, and a 2011 Law Commission review said that the anti-cannabis legislation needs to be revisited. Until then, how can such a paradise be experienced without a little psychotropic help?




Perhaps its the influence of neighboring Uruguay and Peru, but Argentina is practically on the verge of legalizing marijuana. At the end of 2013, the country’s anti-drug czar called for a pragmatic discussion on the matter. Argentina’s Supreme Court ruled that it is unconstitutional to legislate personal lifestyle decisions, therefore public consumption and possession of drugs to a very limited degree is acceptable. Every year there are two Argentine Cannabis Cups where thousands of growers showcase their loot.




While it’s not the first choice of travel destination for most ganga tourists, Pakistan is known to treat the herb with spiritual reverence. During traditional ceremonies for Sufis and Hindus, cannabis is used to access a state of euphoria. Because it is one of the world’s largest growers of the herb, it is really easy to buy marijuana here. Swaths of the crop are found all over the country, and cultivators are rarely bothered by the authorities.




Possessing up to eight grams of marijuana in Peru is absolutely legal, although growing and selling is not. Public consumption is reportedly pretty friendly as well, although it’s personal use which should be highlighted here. There is the risk of being mistaken as a trafficker, and Peruvian prisons are no cake walk. Other drugs in small quantities are permissible too, as stated in Peruvian Law No. 28002: “Possession of drugs for immediate and personal use is not punishable, for quantities not exceeding five grams of base cocaine, two grams of cocaine hydrocholoride, eight grams of marijuana or two grams of it’s derivatives, a gram of opium latex or 200 milligrams of it’s derivatives.” (Cannibis Friendly Peru).




Though it’s not actually permissible in Cambodia, pot is allegedly very accessible. Cannabis is available for purchase all over the country, especially in areas backpackers frequent, and can be smoked in public with few ramifications. “Green Light” districts have been set up through police bribery where consumption is rampant, and many restaurants will cook the herb on pizza or with other dishes! The sad reality is the poverty level of Cambodia, and the desperation of the sellers to earn a few dollars.



North Korea

What?! Are you Kim Jong ill?? (Get it?). Yep, apparently this isolated country with its often verbally aggressive leader who is extremely oppressive to the people didn’t get the memo. Cannabis is not considered a drug in any way in North Korea. This according to defectors and the rare visitor to the country who happens to, um, buy a bag of weed from an outdoor vendor and smoke it in a public park. The government has even made some bucks selling the green abroad to earn foreign currency. Question is: who’s out of touch with reality regarding pot — the Westerners or this crazy regime?




In Ecuador, it is considered legal to possess up to 10 grams of marijuana, and even up to 20 grams is not a criminal offense (it remains a misdemeanor). These are recent developments, but weed smoking has been common practice in Ecuador for a long time.



United States

Though it’s illegal at the federal level, the U.S. is quickly becoming much more weed-friendly thanks to recent landmark legislation in Colorado and Washington. It seems that most Americans support legalization, so it is thought that many more states will follow suit, and several others have legalized marijuana for medical use.

Sources: Schaffer Library of Drug Policy, MarijuanaTravels, WorldCannabisLaws, NerdWallet.


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