Is Marijuana Legal in Finland?

Medical Marijuana
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Marijuana laws in Finland aren't quite as slack as they are in some other countries, but the Finnish government has taken steps in recent years to relax some areas of their cannabis policies. As a traveler, it's important to know the current laws.

Is It Legal?

Though not completely banned in the country, marijuana is by no means fully legalized in Finland either. In 2008, after years of prohibition, the country made the progressive choice to allow for cannabis to be prescribed medically.

However, unlike the United States, where doctors can prescribe cannabis as a treatment for all kinds of ailments, it is much more difficult to get a prescription for cannabis in a country with such strict drug laws as Finland has. Though there are many high ranking officials who have come out in support of medical marijuana use, its use is still met with contempt by many of the bureaucrats working in health care. Medical marijuana is approved for use only when it has been proven that commonly accepted medications have effectively failed to help the patient.

As a consequence, there are very few people in the country who are legally allowed to possess and use the plant.

Is It O.K. to Smoke Weed?

Getting caught smoking in public will land the offender a fine. That's not so bad, but the downside is that it gives police a reason to search the homes of anyone caught smoking or in possession of any plants, growing materials, paraphernalia, or anything else that might give them reasonable suspicion of illegal activities.

Those offenses can add up quickly, and, depending on what police find in the home, the small fine for possession can suddenly turn into a large fine, possible jail time, and probation.

Taking Weed to Finland

Due to the stiffness of international drug laws, it's not at all advisable to travel into the country with marijuana, even with a medical prescription from home, unless the transport has somehow been officially approved by Finnish authorities beforehand.

Just don't do it.

Can You Grow Your Own?

Marijuana cultivation, regardless of the size and scope of the operation, is automatically categorized as production, which is a very serious offense in Finland. This carries with it much more severe penalties than mere possession.

What About Distribution?

The distribution of marijuana is still very much a crime, though unlike cultivation, the severity of the punishment varies depending on the amounts involved.

Finnish dealers caught with smaller amounts may get off with a fine as a slap on the wrist, while repeat offenders or those with a larger amount on them may be facing sentences carrying jail time.

Oddly enough, the possession and sale of cannabis seeds are legal in Finland, and there are many head shops that operate freely and legally selling pipes and other paraphernalia. Sales are restricted, however, and they may only be purchased by those over the age of 18. Other hemp products such as soaps, shampoos, and ropes can be bought and sold freely.

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