Weed In Finland: A Guide To Cannabis' Legal Status In The European Country

This article was originally published on 2Fast4Buds and appears here with permission.

Finland still upholds the ban on recreational cannabis use. The punishments may not seem severe, but the law is the law.

With no traditions of cannabis use going back centuries, Finland treats the substance as a dangerous drug and a threat to the public. This makes the country not a very welcoming place for marijuana smokers. While the police may choose to overlook some less serious offenses (for the sheer lack of resources to prosecute them all), we recommend the visitors to Finland to stay clear of cannabis use for the whole duration of their stay. Below, we’ll tell you about some risks and consequences of not following our advice.

Use, Possesion, And Other Offenses

Cannabis is illegal in Finland under the country’s Narcotics Act. This means that regardless of the amount involved, you can’t legally obtain, possess or use the substance or its derivatives. The criminalization of personal use happened in 1972, despite an almost equal divide among the legislators. In 2001, the system was reformed because it was putting a strain on courts.

Now, when the amount of cannabis confiscated from a user is less than 10 grams of hash or 15 grams of flowers, the offender is issued a fine. They may still demand their day in court, but it probably wouldn’t be the wisest decision, as the penalty, if found guilty, could be more severe. The table below shows some narcotics offenses and penalties in Finland.

Offense Penalty
Consumption Fine or up to 6 months in prison
Acquiring a small amount

Fine or up to 2 years in prison

Aggravated: 1-10 years in prison


In the case of cannabis, the aggravating circumstances include:

  • the offense involves a large amount of the substance,
  • considerable economic benefit from the criminal activity is sought or gained,
  • the offense is committed by an organized group,
  • the substance is being distributed to those under 18.

Driving While Intoxicated

Driving under the Influence of marijuana is illegal in Finland. If a test finds any illegal substances or their metabolites in the driver’s blood, they will be punished the same as for drunk driving – with a fine or a prison sentence of up to 6 months. The only difference between alcohol and cannabis is that the presence of any amount of THC in your blood is automatically punished, but for alcohol, there’s a threshold of 0.5 per mille. With less, the law assumes the driver isn’t impaired.

Attempts At Decriminalization

While there’s little debate about cannabis legalization in Finland, there’s a notable push toward its decriminalization, meaning no criminal prosecution of use or possession of a small amount for personal use. In 2019, a petition to that effect gathered almost 60,000 signatures, more than the minimum 50,000 required for the parliament to deliberate on the issue. The parliament had to act before the end of the 2023 legislative session. The legislators have probably voted down this initiative, as there has been no news of cannabis decriminalization in Finland.

One of the country’s political parties, the Green League, which has seats in the parliament, included proposals for cannabis legalization and regulation in its program.

Cannabis Cultivation

Technically, the cannabis plant isn’t illegal in Finland, as one can grow hemp, its non-intoxicating variety, if one obtains a license and all necessary permits. Hemp in Finland is distinguished from psychoactive cannabis according to the EU regulations, which say that hemp varieties must contain no more than 0,2% THC. It’s possible to process hemp for both industrial uses, such as fiber, seeds, or biofuel, and extraction of non-psychoactive cannabinoids, primarily CBD (see the relevant section below).

Cannabis with THC levels above 0,2% (basically, ANY strain available in seed shops) is illegal in Finland, and its cultivation is punished the same as trafficking and possession. Moreover, instruments and equipment intended for committing a narcotics offense are made illegal too. It’s not clear if that means anything one normally finds in a grow shop, but be it as it may, grow shops aren’t an uncommon site in Finland.

Offense Penalty
Cannabis cultivation Fine or up to 2 years in prison
Aggravated: 1-10 years in prison
Manufacture, import, acquiring, or receiving an instrument, equipment, or a precursor substance

The aggravating circumstances are similar to those described above (see section "Use, Possession, and Other Offenses").

Cannabis Seeds In Finland

Although outlawed, cannabis growing behind closed doors is impossible to control, let alone eradicate, and there’s a considerable demand for cannabis seeds in Finland. The easiest way is to buy a pack online, but you can also easily find something to your liking in real brick-and-mortar stores. If you search on Google Maps, you’re sure to see photos of seeds from popular brands being sold over the counter in Finnish grow shops and smart shops.

Medical Cannabis

Using cannabis-based pharmaceuticals and even smoked cannabis for medical purposes is permitted in Finland, although the program remains very limited in terms of available products and a number of patients. In 2014, there were only 223 users receiving their medical marijuana in licensed pharmacies. They were getting treatment with Sativex, which is a THC-containing medicine approved for multiple sclerosis, but also a few imported dry-flower products, such as Bedrocan, Bediol, and Bedica.

Is CBD Legal In Finland?

CBD in Finland is a different story from medical marijuana in general, as this non-psychoactive cannabinoid can be extracted from legal hemp. This means that the same rules apply to CBD products as to hemp itself – they mustn’t contain more than 0.2% THC, and then they can be sold over the counter. As a result, you can find CBD oil, creams, sun lotions, cosmetics, etc in shops all over Finland.

Manufacturers can also put CBD into foods and drinks, but here another set of rules applies. As elsewhere in the EU, new, untraditional foods and drinks require a special permit according to the Novel Food regulations.

In Conclusion

Although Finland’s acquaintance with cannabis has started relatively late, historically speaking, the country is getting more and more accustomed to the idea that the plant can have its uses and benefits, including medical ones. Cannabis culture slowly asserts itself, and decision makers are definitely aware of other countries’ attempts to find a less draconian and more sensible approach to recreational cannabis use. Sooner or later, they will probably follow suit. However, cannabis legalization is nowhere near in sight right now, and a visitor to the country should respect its traditions and customs and refrain from breaking the law.

This article is from an external unpaid contributor. It does not represent Benzinga's reporting and has not been edited for content or accuracy.

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