The Maximum Punishment Possible for Nonviolent Marijuana Crimes Around the World

by Ash Navabi

Marijuana mapEveryone knows different countries treat drugs differently. For example, if you get caught buying or selling a large amount of marijuana in Canada, you’re probably not going to get your head chopped off by the government–but in Saudi Arabia, that is the law.

I wanted to see just how different the laws were in world when it came to nonviolent marijuana crimes: that is, if one or more people are breaking a marijuana-related crime (like buying, selling, smoking, or producing) and they didn’t hurt anyone in the process, what is the worst that can legally happen to them?

So I made the following map. I primarily relied on two sources:

1. Which has the English translation of many countries’ criminal codes
2. Which gaves detailed breakdowns of countries that have the death penalty for drug offences

And for countries not the in the above two sources, I manually searched the internet for their penal codes, occasionally using Google Translate to help me out.

So here are the results. Rmemember, this is a map of the maximum punishment you can receive for nonviolent marijuana offences. So if you are a nonviolent producer, seller, user, distributor, importer or exporter:

Red countries will (potentially) kill you if you commit certain marijuana crimes (usually heavy trafficking, but sometimes repeat minor offenders are also executed);

Green countries will (potentially) throw you in prison for at least 20 years for committing certain nonviolent marijuana crimes;

Orange countries will (potentially) imprison you for some period of time less than 20 years for committing certain nonviolent marijuana crimes.

(White countries I either couldn’t find the law for, or I found their legalese unclear.)

Hopefully one day we’ll live in a world where no one is thrown in jail for nonviolent marijuana offences.