Penalties for Cannabis Use, Possession and Supply in Europe — Part 2

In the past few years, a lot has happened in the legislative world in regard to cannabis. Many states introduced laws that legalised or decriminalised marijuana, be it for recreational or medical purposes. However, even though there has been a lot of progress, marijuana is still mostly illegal, especially in Europe. So, you might be wondering, what are the penalties for marijuana in Europe?

Well, with the advent of medicinal marijuana and cannabidiol (CBD), there is another level of unclarity added on top of the already confusing legislative landscape of cannabis in Europe. Especially with CBD looking and smelling exactly like regular marijuana, even though it lacks the cannabinoid tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is responsible for the high that is commonly associated with cannabis.

Related: The Legal Situation of Hemp, Marijuana and CBD in the EU in 2019

But that’s not what this article is going to cover. This article is about the punishments that you could get for possessing, selling or consuming marijuana in Europe. So, to shine a light on the matter, and to make this chaos more accessible for our readers, Strain Insider created a comprehensive overview of the cannabis-related penalties in Europe.

One thing that is pretty interesting to note but won’t be covered by this list is that most of the European nations have laws that favour addicts, meaning that the legislation often provides the option to go to treatment instead of receiving a penalty.

The list is sorted alphabetically and includes all the countries in Europe from I to Z, the countries from A to H are covered in part one. The data was sourced from the website of the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA). That being said, let’s dive right in.

Related: Penalties for Cannabis Use, Possession and Supply in Europe — Part 1

 

Ireland

What is the punishment for the use of cannabis in Ireland?

The use of cannabis is not an offence in Ireland. Therefore, there is no penalty for cannabis use.

What is the penalty for the possession of cannabis in Ireland?

The possession of cannabis in case of a summary conviction is punished by a fine of up to €381 for the first offence, €508 for the second offence and €1,270 and or imprisonment of up to 12 months for a third or subsequent offence.

For conviction on indictment, the penalty ranges are elevated: a fine of up to €635 for the first offence, a fine of up to €1,270 for the second offence and then an unlimited fine and or up to three years of imprisonment for a third or any subsequent offence.

What is the punishment for the sale or supply of cannabis in Ireland?

In Ireland, supplying cannabis is punished by up to one year of imprisonment on summary conviction and up to 14 years of imprisonment for conviction on indictment. A minimum punishment of 10 years imprisonment and a maximum of life imprisonment are set for when the value of the cannabis exceeds €13,000.

 

Italy

What is the punishment for the use of cannabis in Italy?

The use of cannabis is not an offence in Italy. Therefore, there is no penalty for cannabis use.

What is the punishment for the possession of cannabis in Italy?

The possession of cannabis for personal use is a non-criminal offence in Italy and is punished by various administrative sanctions (e.g. suspension of driving license, passport, residential permit).

What is the penalty for the sale or supply of cannabis in Italy?

Cannabis supply is punished by six to 20 years of imprisonment and a fine from €26,000 to €260,000. In minor cases, the punishment ranges from six months to four years imprisonment and a fine of €1,032 to €10,329.

If it is a first offence, and when it’s considered ‘particularly minor’, a warning might be issued instead.

 

Latvia

What is the punishment for the use of cannabis in Latvia?

The use of marijuana is an administrative offence in Latvia and is punished by a warning or a fine of up to €280. Repeat use within one year is considered as a criminal offence.

What is the penalty for the possession of cannabis in Latvia?

In Latvia, the possession of cannabis for personal use may be charged as a criminal or an administrative offence, depending on the quantity. Possession of a small amount of cannabis without aim to sell is an administrative offence which is punished by a warning or a fine of up to €280.

Above this amount, possession without the intent to sell is punished by up to three years in prison.

What is the punishment for the sale or supply of cannabis in Latvia?

Supplying cannabis is usually punished by two to eight years of imprisonment. However, supply of large amounts of cannabis is punishable by five to 15 years imprisonment.

 

Lithuania

What is the penalty for the use of cannabis in Lithuania?

The consumption of recreational marijuana is an administrative offence. It is punished by a fine of €30 to €150. Repeat offences will be punished by a fine from €150 to €230. Offenders will also be subject to administrative measures — e.g. obligation to participate in alcohol and drug prevention programmes or similar training programmes.

What is the penalty for the possession of cannabis in Lithuania?

Possession of marijuana without intent to sell or otherwise distribute is punished by a fine of €1,900 to €76,000, an arrest from 15 to 90 days or imprisonment of up to two years. In Lithuania, the possession of small quantities may be punished by up to 240 hours of community service, a restriction of liberty from three months to two years, a fine from €570 to €19,000 or 10 to 45 days of arrest.

What is the punishment for the sale or supply of cannabis in Lithuania?

Cannabis supply is punished by two to eight years imprisonment. If a large amount of cannabis is involved, this rises to eight to 10 years.

When very large amounts of marijuana are involved, it is punished by 10 to 15 years of imprisonment.

 

Luxembourg

What is the punishment for the use of cannabis in Luxembourg?

The use of cannabis or cannabis resin, without aggravating circumstances, such as the presence of minors, is punishable by a fine of €251 to €2,500. The penalty can be doubled in case of recidivism within five years.

What is the punishment for the possession of cannabis in Luxembourg?

Possession of cannabis or cannabis resin is punished by a fine of €251 to €2,500 in the Correctional Court. The penalty can be doubled in case of recidivism within five years.

What is the punishment for the sale or supply of cannabis in Luxembourg?

In Luxembourg, cannabis supply is punished by one to five years imprisonment and or a fine of €500 to €1,250,000. If minors are involved, the penalty is a fine and or five to 10 years imprisonment. The penalties can be doubled in case of recidivism within five years.

 

Malta

What is the punishment for the use of cannabis in Malta?

In Malta, the use of cannabis is not an offence. Therefore, there is no penalty for cannabis use.

What is the penalty for the possession of cannabis in Malta?

Possession of less than 3.5g of cannabis for personal use is an administrative offence that is punishable by a police fine of €50 to €100. Possession above this limit is a criminal offence.

Depending on the court before which the case is judged, the punishment can either be three to 12 months imprisonment and or a fine of €466 to €2,330 (Court of Magistrates) or one to 10 years imprisonment and a fine of €466 to €23,294 (Criminal Court).

What is the punishment for the sale or supply of cannabis in Malta?

Cannabis supply is punishable by six months to 10 years imprisonment and a fine if tried in the Court of Magistrates, and up to life imprisonment, with discretion to award a sentence of four to 30 years, and a fine if tried in the Criminal Court.

 

The Netherlands

What is the punishment for the use of cannabis in the Netherlands?

The use of cannabis is not an offence in the Netherlands. Therefore, there is no penalty for cannabis use.

What is the punishment for the possession of cannabis in the Netherlands?

According to the prosecutor guidelines, the possession of up to five grams of cannabis will in principle incur a police dismissal. Additionally, according to the prosecutor guidelines, possession will not be prosecuted if it refers to the possession of up to 30g of cannabis for personal use.

What is the penalty for the sale or supply of cannabis in the Netherlands?

Cannabis supply is punished by up to two years of imprisonment or a fine. However, the Opium Act Directive tolerates the sale of cannabis in ‘coffeeshops’, provided the detailed guidelines are strictly followed.

 

Norway

What is the punishment for the use of cannabis in Norway?

The use of marijuana is a minor drug offence that is punishable by imprisonment of up to six months and or a fine.

What is the penalty for the possession of cannabis in Norway?

Possession of small amounts of cannabis is punished by up to six months imprisonment and or a fine. The possession of a larger amount of cannabis is punishable by up to two years imprisonment and or a fine.

What is the punishment for the sale or supply of cannabis in Norway?

Supply of cannabis is punishable by up to two years imprisonment. If aggravated: up to 10 years. If the offence involves supply of a considerable quantity of cannabis: three to 15 years imprisonment. If ‘especially aggravating circumstances’ occur: up to 21 years imprisonment.

 

Poland

What is the penalty for the use of cannabis in Poland?

The use of cannabis is not an offence in Poland. Therefore, there is no penalty for cannabis use.

What is the punishment for the possession of cannabis in Poland?

In Poland, the possession of cannabis is a criminal offence that is usually punished by a maximum of three years imprisonment. However, in the case of ‘lesser gravity’, the maximum punishment is one-year imprisonment. In case of possession of a ‘significant quantity of drugs’, the punishment range is one to 10 years imprisonment.

The prosecutor has an option not to institute criminal proceedings in case of possession of an insignificant quantity of marijuana for private use.

What is the punishment for the sale or supply of cannabis in Poland?

The cultivation of cannabis in small amounts is punishable by up to three years. Cultivation in large quantities: six months to eight years.

The import, export or transit of marijuana is punishable by up to five years imprisonment. In cases of lesser gravity: up to one year. If an offence involves a substantial amount of cannabis or was committed in order to receive a benefit the minimum punishment is three years.

Introduction of cannabis into circulation is punishable by six months to eight years imprisonment. In cases of lesser gravity: up to one year. If involving a considerable quantity: two to 12 years.

Supply (giving or sharing): up to three years imprisonment. If addressed to a minor, or involving a considerable quantity: six months to eight years.

Supply with the objective of obtaining a benefit (dealing): one to 10 years of imprisonment. If addressed to a minor: a minimum of three years. In cases of lesser gravity: up to two years.

 

Portugal

What is the punishment for the use of cannabis in Portugal?

The use of marijuana is an administrative offence and may be punished with a fine or a non-pecuniary sanction (such as imprisonment) for non-addicts or a non-pecuniary sanction for addicts.

What is the penalty for the possession of cannabis in Portugal?

The possession of a limited quantity of cannabis for personal use (up to 10 days of average individual consumption) is an administrative offence and may be punished with a fine or non-pecuniary sanctions for non-addicted users, or non-pecuniary sanctions for addicted users.

However, if the quantity of marijuana exceeds the threshold quantity of 10 daily doses, it is considered a crime, and punished by up to one year in prison or 120 day-fines.

What is the penalty for the sale or supply of cannabis in Portugal?

Cannabis supply is punished by four to 12 years of imprisonment. Minimum and maximum penalties for trafficking are increased by one-quarter in various defined aggravating circumstances, including the involvement of minors or a large benefit.

Minor trafficking offences are punishable by one to five years imprisonment.

 

Romania

What is the punishment for the use of cannabis in Romania?

In Romania, the use of marijuana is prohibited, but no punishment is specified.

What is the penalty for the possession of cannabis in Romania?

The possession of cannabis for personal use is punishable by six months to three years imprisonment.

What is the punishment for the sale or supply of cannabis in Romania?

Supply of cannabis is punished by five to 12 years imprisonment. Import or export of cannabis is punishable by seven to 15 years imprisonment.

 

Slovakia

What is the punishment for the use of cannabis in Slovakia?

The use of cannabis is not an offence in Slovakia. Therefore, there is no penalty for cannabis use.

What is the punishment for the possession of cannabis in Slovakia?

The possession of up to three doses of cannabis is punishable by up to three years imprisonment. Possession of more than that is punishable by up to five years.

What is the punishment for the sale or supply of cannabis in Slovakia?

Cannabis supply is punishable by three to 10 years imprisonment. If a larger amount of drugs is involved (with a street value of over 10 times the ‘baseline’ amount of €266), or in case of recidivism: the penalty range is 10 to 15 years.

If supply is on a considerable scale (more than 100 times the ‘baseline’) or against a person aged under 15: 15 to 20 years imprisonment. If on a large scale (more than 500 times the ‘baseline’): 20 to 25 years, or life imprisonment.

 

Slovenia

What is the punishment for the use of cannabis in Slovenia?

The use of cannabis is not an offence in Slovenia. Therefore, there is no penalty for cannabis use.

What is the penalty for the possession of cannabis in Slovenia?

Possession of cannabis is punished by a fine of €200 to €625 or a prison sentence of up to 30 days. Possession of a smaller quantity for one-off personal use is a misdemeanour, punished by a fine of €40 to €200.

What is the punishment for the sale or supply of cannabis in Slovenia?

Cannabis supply is punishable by one to 10 years imprisonment. It may be punished by three to 15 years with aggravating circumstances, which includes supplying to a minor and committing the act in an educational or training institution, in prison or at public events.

 

Spain

What is the penalty for the use of cannabis in Spain?

The consumption of marijuana in public is considered to be a serious infraction of public safety (not a crime), that is punished with an administrative penalty of between €601 and €30,000.

What is the punishment for the possession of cannabis in Spain?

Possession of cannabis in public spaces (streets, establishments or conveyances) is considered as a serious infraction of public safety. It is an administrative offence which is punished with a fine from anywhere between €601 and €30,000.

What is the punishment for the sale or supply of cannabis in Spain?

Supply of marijuana is punishable by three to six years of imprisonment. There is the possibility to impose lower or higher penalties depending on the circumstances.

 

Sweden

What is the punishment for the use of cannabis in Sweden?

The use of marijuana is prohibited and punished by up to three years of imprisonment. If the quantity and other circumstances are minor (petty offence), it is punished by a fine or imprisonment of up to six months.

What is the penalty for the possession of cannabis in Sweden?

The possession of marijuana is prohibited and punished by up to three years of imprisonment. If the quantity and other circumstances are deemed minor, it is punished by a fine or imprisonment of up to six months.

What is the penalty for the sale or supply of cannabis in Sweden?

Cannabis supply is punished by up to three years imprisonment. If the quantity and other circumstances are minor, supply is punished by imprisonment for up to six months. A grave narcotic offence (involving especially large quantities of cannabis) is punished by two to 10 years imprisonment.

 

Switzerland

What is the punishment for the use of cannabis in Switzerland?

The consumption of marijuana is still illegal and you can be charged with a €90 (CHF 100) fine if you are over the age of 18 and a police officer sees you doing this.

In addition to this, your cannabis will be confiscated.

What is the penalty for the possession of cannabis in Switzerland?

Since October 2013, having up to 10 grams of THC containing marijuana for consumption purposes is not considered an offence in Switzerland.

What is the punishment for the sale or supply of cannabis in Switzerland?

In Switzerland, the supply of cannabis is punishable by a one to three-year custodial sentence and or a fine.

 

Turkey

What is the penalty for the use of cannabis in Turkey?

The use of cannabis is illegal and can lead to high fines as well as imprisonment.

What is the punishment for the possession of cannabis in Turkey?

The possession of marijuana is prohibited and punished by one to two years of imprisonment.

What is the punishment for the sale or supply of cannabis in Turkey?

Sale and supply of cannabis is punishable by a prison term of five to 10 years, and trafficking by a minimum term of 10 years.

 

The United Kingdom

What is the punishment for the use of cannabis in the United Kingdom?

The use of cannabis is not an offence in the UK. Therefore, there is no penalty for cannabis use.

What is the penalty for the possession of cannabis in the United Kingdom?

Possession of cannabis is a criminal offence. Depending on whether sentencing is done by a Magistrate’s Court (summary) or in a Crown Court (on indictment), the possession is punishable by up to three months imprisonment and or a fine (summary) or up to five years and or a fine (on indictment).

For a first non-problematic personal possession of cannabis, guidelines specify giving a warning, increasing to a fine on the second occasion and then an arrest on the third occasion.

What is the punishment for the sale or supply of cannabis in the United Kingdom?

Punishment for cannabis supply offences is up to 14 years imprisonment.

Related: Penalties for Cannabis Use, Possession and Supply in Europe — Part 1

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