Legality of Cannabis by U.S. Jurisdiction

Marcha da Maconha, Brasilia, 2013
Marcha da Maconha, Rio de Janeiro, 2014

Cannabis in Brazil is illegal but decriminalized, while possession and cultivation of personal amounts and for private use were de-penalized in 2006. [1] In 2024, Brazil's Supreme Court ruled that Brazilians can possess and transport up to 40 grams of cannabis for their own consumption. However, the sale continues to be considered a crime.[2] Use of cannabis medications is allowed for terminally ill patients or those who have exhausted other treatment options. It is also possible to import, manufacture and sell cannabis-based medicines.[3]


Cannabis was introduced to Brazil by the Portuguese colonists in the early 1800s. Their intent may have been to cultivate hemp fiber, but the slaves the Portuguese trafficked from Africa were familiar with cannabis and used it psychoactively, leading the Municipal Council of Rio de Janeiro in 1830 to prohibit bringing cannabis into the city, and punishing its use by any slave.[4]

Medical cannabis[edit]

Since 2015, cannabis medications greater than 0.2% THC can be prescribed for terminally ill patients or those who have exhausted other treatment options. Initially these medications could only be imported with special authorization from Anvisa, but in 2019 the rules were relaxed to allow pharmacy sales. Products less than 0.2% THC can be prescribed with less restriction.[5][6]

In January 2017 Brazil issued its first license for a cannabis-based medicine, allowing sales of Mevatyl oral spray (internationally known as Sativex).[7]

In March 2020, the State of Pernambuco issued the first national license for the homemade planting of marijuana for medicinal purposes.[8]


Since 2006, public use of cannabis entails a warning, community service and education on the effects of drug use. The same measures apply to public use of any illegal drug.[1] However, there are reports[failed verification] of municipal guards applying extrajudicial punishment to civilian use of cannabis.[9]

Selling, transportation, and trafficking of drugs are considered criminal acts and are punished with 5 to 15 years in prison and a significant fine.[10]

In June 2024, the Supreme Federal Court decriminalized the possession of up to 40 g (1.4 oz) or up to 6 female plants. In practice, the Article 28 of the Drugs Law (Law no. 11343/2006) was ruled unconstitutional, converting penalties of prosecution and prison into an administrative offense.[11][12]


  1. ^ a b Professor Anita Kalunta-Crumpton (28 June 2015). Pan-African Issues in Drugs and Drug Control: An International Perspective. Ashgate Publishing, Ltd. pp. 242–. ISBN 978-1-4724-2214-9.
  2. ^ Nicas, Jack; Ionova, Ana (2024-06-26). "Brazil Becomes the Largest Nation to Decriminalize Marijuana". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2024-06-27.
  3. ^ "Cannabis law and legislation in Brazil | CMS Expert Guides". Retrieved 2022-07-08.
  4. ^ Robert Clarke; Mark Merlin (1 September 2013). Cannabis: Evolution and Ethnobotany. University of California Press. pp. 182–. ISBN 978-0-520-95457-1.
  5. ^ Ponieman, Natan (3 December 2019). "Brazil Regulates Sale Of Medical Marijuana Products". Benzinga. Retrieved 9 December 2019.
  6. ^ "Brazil approves sale of medical cannabis in pharmacies". France 24. Agence France-Presse. 3 December 2019. Retrieved 9 December 2019.
  7. ^ Federowski, Bruno (16 January 2017). "Brazil issues first license for sale of a cannabis-based drug". Reuters. Retrieved 11 February 2017.
  8. ^ Diário de Pernambuco (2020-03-27). "Defensoria consegue primeira autorização definitiva para plantio de maconha em PE". Diário de Pernambuco. Retrieved 2020-03-27.
  9. ^ Rezende, Graziela (5 March 2015). "Polícia analisa vídeo de adolescentes obrigados a comer maconha em MS (in portuguese)" [Police analyze video of teenagers forced to eat marijuana in MS] (in Portuguese). G1.
  10. ^ Law 11.343,
  11. ^ Coutinho, Mateus (26 June 2024). "Supremo define 40 gramas de maconha para diferenciar usuário de traficante". UOL Notícias (in Brazilian Portuguese). Retrieved 27 June 2024.
  12. ^ Fernandes, Leonardo (25 June 2024). "Saiba o que muda com a descriminalização do uso de maconha pelo STF". Brasil de Fato (in Brazilian Portuguese). Retrieved 27 June 2024.