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Is Weed Legal in Estonia? (April 2024)

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Cannabis is legal in Estonia, but only for medical use.  Estonia, one of the Baltic states, legalized cannabis for medical use in 2005. Recreational use of cannabis remains illegal. In November 2021, the minister for interior Kristian Jaani stated categorically that Estonia is not ready to legalize cannabis. “My earlier position on the matter has not changed – Estonia is not ready for it, regardless of what illegal substances we are talking about,” he said. Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) head Urmet Tambre however gave an assurance that cannabis consumers in Estonia are not penalized, unless they have been driving under the influence.

About Estonia

Estonia is the northernmost Baltic state and it features several beautiful islands and islets. It borders the Baltic Sea as well as the Gulf of Finland. The scenery is dotted with castles, beautiful churches, forests, museums, and many historical sites. Estonia has a very small population of just over 1 million people.

Is Cannabis Decriminalized in Estonia?

Yes, cannabis has been decriminalized in Estonia. This means that possession of small amounts of cannabis not exceeding 7.5 grams is not considered a crime but a misdemeanor. It is however illegal to consume cannabis in public spaces and especially not around schools or playgrounds.

Is Medical Cannabis Legal in Estonia?

Medical cannabis was legalized in Estonia in 2005. However, there is no existing medical cannabis program in Estonia. In addition, patients can only use synthetic forms of cannabis but not the bioactive molecules that have been sourced directly from the plant. Patients require a prescription which is issued by the Ministry of Social Affairs on a case-by-case basis. Patients can still be fined by police if they are found to be in the possession of cannabis without having their prescriptions. 

Speaking to The Cannigma, the Ministry through a representative emphasized that medical cannabis is accessible to patients if a doctor finds that this is the best treatment and the potential side effects are acceptable. However, by 2016 only one patient in Estonia had obtained a prescription for medical cannabis.  Ravikanep is an organization that is pushing for the expansion of the medical cannabis program in Estonia.

Is CBD Legal in Estonia?

Yes, cannabidiol (CBD) is legal in Estonia for as long as it is hemp-derived. Estonia is a member of the EU and is therefore beholden to the EU Court ruling of 2020 that removed CBD and its derivatives from the narcotics list. Adults above 18 years can legally purchase CBD IN Estonia. 

Hemp in Estonia

The production, processing, use, and distribution of hemp is legal in Estonia. Currently, Estonia is the second leading producer of hemp in Europe. The legal THC limit for hemp  in Estonia is 0.2%. However, Estonian regulators are in the process of adjusting this limit to 0.3% to comply with the new EU standards that were passed last year (2022). This change will require further amendment to the Narcotics Drugs schedule.

Hemp farmers will benefit significantly from this change as they will have access to more varieties of hemp that can be grown legally. Currently, only two varieties of hemp have been approved in Estonia. Farmers in compliance with the THC limit are eligible for agricultural subsidies from the government.

Estonia Has Big Ambitions for Hemp

Estonia is only a quarter of the size of France, the leading hemp producer in Europe. However, it rose to become the second leading producer of hemp in Europe in 2017, having produced close to 6000 hectares while France produced 14,500 hectares of hemp. Most of the hemp exports from Estonia are in the form of hemp seed oil.

Cannabis Illicit Market in Estonia

Estonia has a thriving illicit market for cannabis. Even legal CBD stores have been found to be selling CBD products that exceed 0.2% THC which is illegal. According to Estonian World, Estonia could be among the top 30 countries globally that consumes the most illegal weed. Nonetheless,  the Minister of Interior has steadfastly maintained that Estonia is not ready to legalize cannabis, or any other drug.

What Are The Penalties for Cannabis in Estonia?

The penalty for possessing cannabis in Estonia is  a fine between €800-1,200 for amounts that do not exceed 7.5 grams. Possession of large amounts is a criminal offense that is punishable with an imprisonment sentence that should not exceed 5 years. Drug dependent offenders with sentences not exceeding two years have the option to undergo treatment as an alternative to serving the sentence.

Can You Grow Your Own Weed in Estonia?

No, you cannot legally grow cannabis in Estonia. However, licensed growers can grow industrial hemp for commercial purposes legally. 

Conclusion: Cannabis Laws in Estonia are Evolving

Cannabis is by and large illegal in Estonia with the exception of medical use. Even though cannabis has been decriminalized, users are still liable to pay hefty fines of up to 1,200 euros for the possession of small amounts of cannabis. Nonetheless, decriminalization is always a step in the right direction. Given the progress made so far, it may only be a matter of time before weed becomes fully legal in Estonia.