Recreational: No, but decriminalized
Recreational cannabis is not legal in Colombia, but personal consumption and possession of the plant is decriminalized. You can possess up to 20 grams, grow up to 20 plants, and consume cannabis in public, but you cannot sell or purchase it. The country has had a medical cannabis program since 2015.
Cannabis in Colombia
Adult-use cannabis is not legal, but in 2012, the Colombian government decriminalized personal use of cannabis and possession of up to 20 grams. This change in law did not legalize the purchase or sale of cannabis, but it did remove a potential prison sentence of 64 months. In 2015, the government went a step further and decriminalized personal cultivation of up to 20 cannabis plants. In 2019, the Constitutional Court of Colombia overruled the ban on public consumption.
Colombia’s medical cannabis program allows for research and product development, as well as prescriptions. Since 2015, Colombia scientists and researchers can grow, process, import, or export cannabis and its derivatives for medical and scientific use.
Colombia has been at the forefront of moving away from zero-tolerance prohibitionist laws to decriminalization and medical legalization. Cannabis use today faces the same stigma it does anywhere else in the world, although this is also changing.
Weed was brought to Colombia during the colonial era, and was cultivated industrially. Cannabis use was on the fringes of Colombian society until the mid-20th century when American drug traffickers began to use the country to grow and move products, which led to decades of violence.
There is no penalty for personal consumption, but police can confiscate your cannabis in public. Possession above 20 grams can be considered drug trafficking, which comes with heavy jail time. Additionally, any activity regarded as “commercial” cultivation, sale, or export is against the law and can be prosecuted.
Medical marijuana in Colombia
Medical cannabis was legalized in Columbia back in 1986, but it fell into a “legal grey area” until 2015 when the government issued a decree to regulate the growth, sale, and medical use of the plant. Today, patients can access cannabis products with a prescription from a doctor.
Access is restricted to pharmaceutical products, but patients can also grow their own plants if they prefer the raw material. It can be challenging to find a doctor willing to prescribe cannabis treatments or to find a clinic to fill a prescription. In 2020, there were just 3,000 enrolled patients and a handful of clinics to serve them.
CBD is legal and hemp is regulated separately from medical cannabis in Colombia. This sector of the industry is rapidly growing, thanks to 2022 changes in federal regulations that govern how hemp is grown and processed.
Can you grow your own weed in Colombia?
Yes, you can grow up to 20 cannabis plants for personal consumption.
Visiting Colombia – can you buy or bring marijuana products?
Although recreational cannabis isn’t legal, you are likely to find cannabis fairly easily during your visit. Selling cannabis is not legal, but you can possess up to 20 grams, or just over half an ounce. The police are able to confiscate your weed if they choose, but there are no criminal charges for 20 grams or less.
Do not attempt to bring cannabis products with you. It is always unwise to cross international borders with weed and Colombian law enforcement is known for searching for drugs brought into the country, particularly from foreigners.