Recreational cannabis is not legal in Cyprus, but there is a medical cannabis program. In 2019, Cypriot lawmakers approved a law legalizing the possession, import and export, and cultivation of marijuana for medical use.
Cannabis in Cyprus
Recreational cannabis is illegal in Cyprus, and medical cannabis is legal, but not yet available. Industrial hemp is legal as long as it complies with the EU-imposed THC limit of 0.2%.
Despite this, there are groups pushing for full legalization of cannabis, like Legalize It Cyprus. In 2017, a rally for legalization was held on 4/20 in the capital city of Nicosia/ Lefkoşa. Cyprus is known for harshly enforcing its drug laws, particularly for tourists.
Cannabis use is illegal in Cyprus and police officers are said to enforce this quite strictly. Cannabis is classified as a Class B drug, which carries up to eight years in jail for possession and up to a life sentence for using or trafficking (The European Monitoring Center for Drug and Drug Addiction reports no life sentence has been given out.)
Cyprus has explicit possession thresholds for charging people: anything more than three cannabis plants or 30 grams of cannabis is considered drug trafficking, rather than possession.
If you are found with cannabis, you can be arrested, brought to the police station, fingerprinted, and held overnight while bail is set.
Punishment can be slightly mitigated by age, Minors caught with cannabis may receive a warning for a first offense or up to a year in jail, and people under 25 may receive two years in jail. In 2016, a new law was introduced that allowed people with drug charges outside of trafficking to apply for alternative treatment rather than prison. Young drug offenders are often referred to mental health services.
Medical marijuana in Cyprus
It is legal to cultivate, import, export, possess, and use cannabis for medicinal purposes. The program is limited, as the law only allowed for three producers of cannabis during the first 15 years of the program. Patients with qualifying conditions can get a prescription from a specialized doctor and fill the prescription at pharmacies.
Qualifying conditions include
- Degenerative diseases of the motor system
- Tourette’s syndrome
- Crohn’s disease
Despite this, patients still cannot get access to plant medicine. In June 2022, The Cyprus Patient’s Federation said that the government has spent the last three years trying to figure out how to implement the legislation instead of doing so, and as a result, there is still no access.
Industrial hemp is legal for cultivation as long as farmers are licensed and the plant has less than 0.2% THC. CBD products are legal, as long as they also contain less than 0.2% THC. You can find it for sale throughout the island nation.
As a member of the EU, Cyprus is beholden to the 2020 EU Court ruling that determined CBD and its products were not narcotics, so “a country of the European Union cannot prohibit the marketing of cannabidiol legally produced in another member state.”
Can you grow your own weed?
No, you cannot grow your own cannabis plants in Cyprus.
Visiting Cyprus – can you buy or bring marijuana products?
It is not advisable to try to buy cannabis while in Cyprus. Since the plant is not legal, the only available way to buy it is through the black market, which can be risky. Police are also known for harshly enforcing anti-cannabis laws, and arresting tourists who dare to consume. Do not attempt to bring cannabis into the country, as drug trafficking can get you a life sentence in jail.
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