Medical: legal (only Sativex available)
Recreational: illegal, decriminalized
While recreational cannabis is not legal in Belgium, possession of up to three grams by an adult over 18 is decriminalized and punishable by only a fine. The country has a limited medical cannabis program that recognizes Sativex and CBD.
Cannabis in Belgium
While cannabis is not recreationally legal in Belgium, enforcement of the laws is lax. There are a number of cannabis social clubs throughout the country, some of which date back to 2006. These clubs are modeled after those in Spain and rely on loopholes to operate, making them more preferable for residents than visitors.
There are increasing calls to fully legalize and regulate the cannabis plant, beyond decriminalization. Belgium’s cannabis laws are behind those of its neighbors, Holland and Luxembourg.
Since 2003, cannabis has had a separate legal definition in Belgium from other controlled substances, and possession of up to three grams is punishable by a €120-200 fine. These cases are considered “low prosecution priority.”
However in cases where there are “aggravating circumstances” where a person has more than three grams, public order was disturbed, or when the offender was caught by a school, you can face 3 – 12 months in prison and a fine ranging between €8,000 – 800,000. Certain localities such as Antwerp have initiated their own regulations.
Belgium medical cannabis program
The country legalized medical marijuana in 2015, but with a limited scope of diagnosable conditions and products. The only cannabis product currently approved and available is Sativex. Medical patients can access certain types of CBD products from pharmacies and grow their own plants.
In February 2019, Belgian lawmakers approved the founding of a state-run office to run cannabis cultivation for medical purposes in the country and to oversee research and ways to expand access to medical cannabis.
CBD exists in somewhat of a legal grey area in Belgium. In 2020, the EU Court ruled that CBD products are not considered narcotics or drugs so “a country of the European Union cannot prohibit the marketing of cannabidiol legally produced in another member state.” As a member of the European Union, Belgium is beholden to recognize this.
CBD oil can be purchased throughout the country, as long as it contains 0.2% THC or less.
There are also a number of clubs and delivery services in certain areas of the country. CBD oil has been legal since 2020 but it’s not legal as a food supplement, so retailers must direct consumers to the internet for instructions on how to dose oil rather than explaining it themselves.
Can you grow your own weed?
Though recreational cultivation of cannabis is illegal, the country has a robust cultivation market, and small-scale cultivation is typically tolerated (there was a 440% increase in cannabis plants grown between 2006 and 2013). Large-scale cultivation can bring the attention of the authorities, but a single plant at home is unlikely to be the target of a drug raid.
Visiting Belgium – can you buy or bring marijuana products?
While there is no legal market for cannabis products, you will likely be able to find cannabis for sale on the black market in Belgium, particularly in Brussels. Exercise caution as the police can still confiscate your weed.
Don’t cross international borders with cannabis products, as this can be considered drug trafficking.
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