Weed in Ukraine: Cannabis Legal Status Guide

Author Aleph One
14 March 2024
Navigating Ukraine's cannabis laws: what residents and visitors need to know to stay safe.
14 March 2024
29 min read
Weed in Ukraine: Cannabis Legal Status Guide

Read more
  • 1. Possession without the intent to sell
  • 2. Small-scale weed growing is decriminalized
  • 2. a. Can you legally buy and possess cannabis seeds in ukraine?
  • 3. Is cbd legal in ukraine? are cbd products sold in the country?
  • 4. Tips for cannabis enthusiasts visiting ukraine
  • 5. Medical cannabis legalization
  • 5. a. Opposition successfully overcome
  • 6. In conclusion

In a long-awaited move, Ukraine has recently legalized medical cannabis, joining the growing number of Eastern-European nations that have recognized the therapeutic benefits of the substance and allowed its limited use. In other respects, cannabis remains a widely-consumed but illegal substance in Ukraine, so if you plan to visit the country, it’s worth knowing what’s permitted and what isn’t.

Possession Without the Intent to Sell

Those caught for simple possession of a small amount of marijuana (up to 5 grams) are facing a small fine plus the confiscation of the contraband. With larger amounts, the offender is facing criminal charges that can result in a prison sentence between 3 and 8 years. It’s the same charges as those for the illegal production, manufacture, acquisition, transportation or mailing with the intent to sell, as well as the illegal sale of narcotic drugs, psychotropic substances or their analogues.

According to the arrest statistics, about 70% of those detended have from 7 to 9 grams of cannabis on their person. In practical terms, it’s still a small amount, likely to be intended for personal use, and in 2020 the authorities announced their plans to raise the limit to 10 grams to counter police corruption. These plans never materialized.

Please also note that the acquisition of any amount of marijuana in Ukraine is automatically a felony.


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Small-Scale Weed Growing Is Decriminalized

Both cannabis consumption and its cultivation are widespread in Ukraine, which has a climate perfect for growing the plant. In 2009, the country decriminalized the cultivation of less than 10 plants. The offenders only face an administrative fine, and the plants will be confiscated.


Weed in Ukraine: Cannabis Legal Status Guide: A field of wheat

Ukranian climate is great for many crops, including cannabis and hemp.

With an illegal grow of 10-50 plants, the gardener may still get away with a fine, though a heftier one, but there’s also a risk of up to 6 months of jail time or the restriction of freedom of up to 3 years.

Even if you grow less than 10 plants, make sure you have ‘no priors’ for narcotics offenses or don’t do it in an organized group and for the purpose of sale.

Can You Legally Buy and Possess Cannabis Seeds in Ukraine?

In Ukraine, the legal status of cannabis seeds is somewhat ambiguous. According to the Ukrainian law, the sale, purchase, and possession of cannabis seeds are not explicitly mentioned as illegal. However, the intention to cultivate them could potentially be used as evidence of an intent to commit a crime.

Having said that, cannabis seeds are widely available in the country through online seeds stores, both domestic and those operating from abroad.

Is CBD Legal In Ukraine? Are CBD Products Sold in the Country?

In Ukraine, the legal status of CBD (cannabidiol) is also unclear. While the substance is not explicitly mentioned in Ukrainian law, it is generally considered to be legal as long as it is derived from industrial hemp and contains no more than 0.08% THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the psychoactive compound found in cannabis.


Weed in Ukraine: Cannabis Legal Status Guide: A CBD shop sign

You can buy CBD medicines both online and in specialized stores in Ukraine.

There are online vendors that sell CBD products in Ukraine, and some brick-and-mortar shops also offer CBD products, such as health food stores and specialty shops. However, it's important to note that the quality and safety of these products may vary. Additionally, it's important to be aware that the use of cannabis-derived products, including CBD, is still a controversial topic in Ukraine, and attitudes towards these substances may vary among different segments of the population.

Tips for Cannabis Enthusiasts Visiting Ukraine

  • Avoid using or possessing cannabis in public places
  • Refrain from purchasing or using cannabis from unlicensed sources
  • Be cautious when using CBD products and ensure they are derived from industrial hemp and contain no more than 0.08% THC


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Medical Cannabis Legalization

The journey towards medical cannabis legalization in Ukraine began in April 2021, with the approval of THC- and CBD-containing drugs for medical use, including Dronabinol and Nabiximols. This marked the initial step toward recognizing the therapeutic potential of cannabis-based medicines.

Fast forward to July 7, 2023, when The Ministry of Health of Ukraine officially supported the legalization of cannabis-based medicines, echoing advocacy efforts by President Zelenskyy and key health officials. Just six days later, on July 13, 2023, the Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine's parliament, took a significant stride by voting on a bill to legalize medical cannabis in the first reading, receiving substantial support with 268 votes in favor.

The momentum continued to build, culminating in a pivotal moment on December 21, 2023, when the Parliament adopted bill #7457 on medical cannabis in the second reading. This legislative milestone underscored Ukraine's commitment to expanding patient access to essential treatments for conditions like cancer and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Finally, on February 15, 2024, President Zelenskyy signed the bill into law, solidifying the legalization of medical cannabis in Ukraine. This landmark decision was driven by the aim to provide relief to veterans struggling with PTSD and individuals battling serious illnesses like cancer.


Aspect Description
Possession (Personal Use) Up to 5g: Fine and confiscation. 7-9g: Most common amount found, still considered personal use. 10g or more: Criminal charges with potential prison sentence.
Cultivation Less than 10 plants: Decriminalized, administrative fine. 10-50 plants: Heftier fine, up to 6 months jail time or restriction of freedom for up to 3 years.
Cannabis Seeds Legal status ambiguous. Not explicitly illegal to buy, sell, or possess. However, intention to cultivate could be used as evidence of intent to commit a crime.
CBD Legal status unclear. Generally considered legal if derived from industrial hemp and contains no more than 0.08% THC. Quality and safety of products may vary.
Medical Cannabis Legalized as of February 15, 2024. Strict regulations for cultivation, distribution, and sale. Prescription-based access only.

The key points about cannabis laws in Ukraine.

The newly enacted law not only licenses the cultivation of hemp for medical, industrial, and scientific purposes but also sets stringent regulations for the distribution and sale of medical cannabis. It emphasizes the importance of prescription-based access, ensuring that only those with a doctor's recommendation can obtain cannabis legally.

The law is slated to come into effect in July 2024, with provisions in place to strictly prohibit the recreational use of cannabis. Instead, the focus remains on facilitating access to medical cannabis for patients in need, while maintaining robust governmental oversight and control over its distribution.

President Zelenskyy's unwavering support for medical cannabis legalization, voiced as early as June 2023, reflects a commitment to leveraging evidence-based policies to address the nation's healthcare needs. With the enactment of this law, Ukraine joins the ranks of countries embracing progressive approaches to healthcare, prioritizing the well-being of its citizens.

Opposition Successfully Overcome

The legalization of medical cannabis in Ukraine became a reality despite opposition from the Batkivshchyna party, led by Yulia Tymoshenko. Earlier, Tymoshenko voiced concerns regarding alleged links to drug trafficking and criminal elements, leading to delays in the legislative process. However, her efforts were ultimately unsuccessful as supporters remained resolute, highlighting the importance of medical cannabis for patients in need. The signing of the bill by Zelenskyy marks a significant victory for advocates, signaling progress towards improved healthcare access in Ukraine.

In Conclusion  

In conclusion, the legal status of cannabis in Ukraine is complex and nuanced, with some forms of medical cannabis being legal while recreational use and cultivation remain illegal. While the possession of small amounts of cannabis for personal use has been decriminalized, it's important for visitors to the country to understand that any form of cannabis use or possession can still lead to administrative or criminal penalties.

For cannabis enthusiasts visiting Ukraine, it's crucial to be aware of the country's laws and regulations regarding cannabis and to avoid any actions that could potentially be considered illegal. This includes avoiding the use or possession of cannabis in public places, refraining from purchasing or using cannabis from unlicensed sources, and being cautious when using CBD products.