CBD Oil Illegal In Russia


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This article was originally published on 2Fast4Buds and appears here with permission. Marijuana is legal for adult use in Arizona, but can people carry it during domestic or international travel? Answers to that and more. Russia used to be one of the world’s leading hemp producers. Now it has strict cannabis laws, and penalties are harsh for those caught using it. Read more.

Weed In Russia: Cannabis Legal Status Guide

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


Home to over 144 million people, The Russian Federation is Europe’s largest country by both land mass and population. But is there access to legal weed in Russia? Notorious for its totalitarian regimes of the past, it probably doesn’t come as a surprise to learn that cannabis is, in fact, illegal in Russia. Indeed, the country is known for having the highest number of people currently imprisoned (per capita) for drug offenses in Europe.

Indeed, as you might expect, the Russian government is known for taking a particularly hard line with both the possession and use of cannabis. In this article, we’ll take an in-depth look at Russia’s weed laws but before we get deep into the details, let’s start with the basics.


In accordance with the country’s Criminal Code, the possession of cannabis is punishable with a fine and/or a prison sentence. However, a change to the law in 2012 allowed for the potential for penalties to be deferred if the offender is found to suffer from addiction issues. Those found to be in possession of small quantities of up to six grams will fall foul of Russian administrative law, punishable by a fine or short prison sentence of two weeks. However, those found in possession of more than seven grams will face more serious criminal charges.

Penalties for cannabis use in Russia could result in a long prison sentence.

As you might expect, those serious charges carry severe punishments, and if you want to be entirely safe from the possibility of criminal charges, it is recommended not to carry anything above 1gram of cannabis, as authorities have been known to exaggerate the amount of cannabis found on potential suspects. Indeed, getting caught with weed in Russia is definitely not a good idea. So consider the vast penalty for weed in Russia before firing one up in Red Square!

  • A fine of up to 40,000 roubles (around 600 euros)
  • Compulsory labour for up to 480 hours
  • Corrective labour for up to two years
  • Potential Prison sentence of up to three years.

For those found guilty of being involved in larger-scale operations, the penalties are even stiffer, with a fine of up to 500,000 roubles (around 7000 euros) and a potential prison sentence of up to twelve years. Given all that, possession or using cannabis in Russia is just not worth it, but despite the risks, it is thought that as many as 8.5 million people still consume the plant on a regular basis. For those who are caught, the chances of avoiding serious penalties are remarkably slim, with the acquittal rate currently standing at just 0.1%.

Much like possession, the sale of cannabis is also considered to be a serious offense, and anyone caught selling the plant can expect a range of similarly harsh sentences. Even small-time operators can expect to lose their liberty (house arrest or potential prison sentence) for several years.

Large-scale operations have resulted in heavier sentences of up to twelve years in prison and a fine of up to 1,000,000 roubles. Indeed, should the operation be part of a wider network of organized crime, offenders could even find themselves facing a sentence of up to twenty years. Despite the draconian laws and stiff penalties, drug trafficking, including that of cannabis, remains a significant concern in the Russian Federation.


Unsurprisingly, the cultivation of cannabis is also illegal in Russia. Much the same as the punishments for possession or sale, marijuana cultivation in Russia is a particularly risky business, with prison sentences an inevitability, even for those found to be in possession of only a small number of plants.

It is illegal to grow cannabis in Russia.

Despite Russia’s hard-line approach to cannabis usage, there has been some positive movement politically. Back in the summer of 2019, a bill was passed by the Russian government that potentially allowed for the cultivation of marijuana for medicinal purposes. However, as of yet, the bill has yet to be signed into law and progress on the issue remains deadlocked for the time being.


In a word, NO. CBD in Russia is illegal, irrespective of the THC levels contained within the product. Even CBD oil made from hemp is considered an illegal narcotic, while it is not even possible to have CBD products shipped into Russia by mail. Indeed, the recent case of US female basketball player Brittney Griner arrested for possessing hashish oil illegal in Russia highlights the dangers of possessing these kinds of products inside Russian borders.


No surprises here – Cannabis seeds are also illegal and may not be sent into or out of the country.


Despite the 2019 bill mentioned earlier, the use of medical cannabis in Russia remains illegal. Still considered to be in the highest category of narcotic and psychoactive substances within the country, Russian medical cannabis access remains strictly forbidden. List I substances, including that of cannabis, are subject to the strictest governmental regulation.

Despite the amended law, medicinal cannabis is still illegal in Russia.

In July 2019, the Russian government amended the Law on Narcotic and Psychotropic Substances. It partially legalized the cultivation of plants containing drugs for manufacturing narcotics and psychoactive substances for medical or veterinary use. The regulation was expected to partially allow the cultivation of cannabis for medical or veterinary use, but to date, nothing has materialized in this regard. Given all that, medical cannabis remains inaccessible in Russia, and that seems unlikely to change in the near future, given the current circumstances the country currently faces.


Russia once relied heavily on hemp as a crop. In fact, hemp fiber constituted one of the primary sources of income for many parts of the country during the 18th century. Indeed, hemp had been an essential commodity in Russia for hundreds of years, with the country becoming the largest producer in the world midway through the eighteenth century. At this point, it is estimated that around 80% of the hemp used in Europe came from Russia, with the material proving more lucrative for Russians than even metal, wood, or fur.

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Moving into the nineteenth century, the UK relied heavily on Russian hemp, which resulted in a so-called hemp war with Napoleon. However, by 1807, the French agreed on a peace treaty with Tsar Alexander I on the condition that the Soviets would stop supplying hemp to the UK.

Cannabis hemp plants.

However, the agreement proved-short lived, and just a few years later, the hemp trade between Russia and the UK had reemerged. Angered by the Russian betrayal, Napoleon would lead his army to Moscow in 1812 in a bid to take control of the Russian hemp supply. However, Napoleon’s army was swiftly overwhelmed, and the Russians maintained control over their lucrative hemp industry. Indeed, around 40% of European hemp was produced by Russia until the nineteenth century.

However, as Russia moved into the twentieth century, the hemp trade would decline significantly both because of negative perceptions of the plant (what else is new) and because of the reduced acreage and relatively low yields. After the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, hemp cultivation would decline further. Yet, despite the decline in the industry, hemp was never illegalized and is still grown in the country today. While there were once sixteen hemp farms cultivating hemp, today, just one exists in Volkhov.

However, despite the industrial decline, it is estimated that there are roughly 2.5 million hectares of wild hemp growing in the east of the country in and around the Black Sea.


Russia has a long relationship with the marijuana plant, with evidence existing that suggests cannabis was being used in the country thousands of years ago. An archaeological dig at a burial site in the Altai Mountains revealed that the country’s people consumed the plant for medicinal, religious, or spiritual purposes. It is thought that the plant first entered the country with the Scythians, a nomadic group known for transporting cannabis as they moved throughout many different countries thousands of years ago.

Despite its rich history with the plant, Russia remains very much anti-cannabis in its approach today. As we have explained in this article, the Russian approach to cannabis remains extremely hard-line, with the penalty for weed in Russia some of the harshest across Europe. Indeed, the Russian stance on their opposition to cannabis has been self-evident, with the government’s response to Canada’s legalization of the plant being that the Canadians had “deliberately decided to breach” international law.

Consistently opposed throughout his presidency since the turn of the twentieth century, President Putin has spoken about his disapproval both of the plant and its legalization in other countries. Indeed, there have even been reports that the Russian government threatened to remove access to Wikipedia if the company did not delete certain pages regarding the methods of producing types of hash. In a country where freedom and liberty cannot be taken for granted, Russian censorship of cannabis information online only serves to illustrate their firm stance on the issue.

Russian intolerance of cannabis and cannabinoids extends to the sporting world, where sportsmen are prohibited from using cannabinoids, according to an order issued by the Russian Ministry of Sports in 2018. Unfortunately, the Russian government’s negative stance and opposition to the plant are also reflected in the general population’s acceptance of cannabis users. Various polls, of which the veracity can hardly be certain, it should be stated, suggest that upwards of 90% of the population are against the legalization of marijuana.

Not as popular or as commonly used in other European countries, it is estimated that just under 4% of the Russian population uses cannabis. Given the harsh penalty for weed in Russia, it’s hardly surprising that such a small minority of the country partakes in cannabis consumption. Given all that, Russia’s weed laws, particularly for recreational users, are unlikely to change anytime in the near or distant future. While the legalization of medical use has been discussed, as evidenced in the still to be made into law bill of 2019, Russian progress on medical cannabis law remains slow. Indeed, the Russians have even adopted a counter-drugs strategy that is to run until at least 2030. The strategy suggests that the use of cannabis for recreational purposes should be viewed as a significant threat to the Russian healthcare system.


Given the current conflict in the region, it´s fair to say that Russian weed laws are not high on the agenda of the government. With few outside visitors expected in the coming months, the subject of cannabis in Russia is one that will surely take a back burner while the crisis with Ukraine continues to unfold.

However, if you do find yourself inside Russian borders in the coming months, avoiding cannabis is probably your safest bet if you want to avoid the potentially harsh penalty for weed in Russia that may occur as tensions with western nations continue to rise.

© 2022 Benzinga.com. Benzinga does not provide investment advice. All rights reserved.

Can I fly with a weed vape? What to know in light of Brittney Griner’s arrest in Russia

Brittney Griner, WNBA star and Phoenix Mercury center since 2013, was sentenced to nine years in Russian prison after being found with cannabis vape cartridges in her carry-on luggage at a Moscow airport in February, according to Russian authorities.

The two-time Olympic basketball champion and member of the U.S. national team was arrested after she was found carrying cannabis-derived oil cartridges.

Before the verdict was announced, Griner told the court she had no intention to break the law by bringing vape cartridges with cannabis oil into the country when she flew to Moscow in February to play basketball in the city of Yekaterinburg.

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Laws about possessing cannabis products vary by state and country, which may affect what happens to a person traveling with one.

Here is what you should know about traveling with cannabis products:

In the U.S., marijuana is still illegal federally

While marijuana is legal for adults in some U.S. states, including Arizona, under federal law it is still illegal, so it is not advisable to transport it over state lines.

THC is the primary psychoactive substance in marijuana. CBD is a non-psychoactive component of cannabis that is often sold other products such as lotions and supplements.

Certain cannabis-infused products, including CBD oil, are illegal at the federal level if they contain more than 0.3 percent of THC on a dry weight basis.

It is not clear if the cartridges that Russian officials says Griner was carrying had either or both CBD or THC.

The Food and Drug Administration has only approved one cannabis-derived product, Epidiolex, which has a purified form of CBD, the agency said in January 2021, and three synthetic cannabis-related drug products: Marinol (dronabinol), Syndros (dronabinol) and Cesamet (nabilone). These are only available with prescriptions by licensed healthcare providers.

TSA doesn’t search for drugs

Transportation Security Administration officers are required to report suspected violations of law to local state, or federal authorities, but they do not search for illegal drugs during the screenings.

“TSA security officers do not search for marijuana or other illegal drugs, but if any illegal substance is discovered during security screening, TSA will refer the matter to a law enforcement officer,” the website states.

TSA said their dogs aren’t sniffing for marijuana either. However, on an Instagram post they reiterated that if during the screening a substance that appears to be marijuana or a cannabis infused product is found, law enforcement will be notified, even if it is used for medicinal purposes.

Traveling internationally with cannabis products

There is no specific guidance for traveling with cannabis products internationally, but as federal laws apply to anyone, if a product is illegal in a country, traveling with it could bring consequences.

For example, cannabis is legal for adults in Canada but the government website for travel and tourism states it is illegal to transport these products across Canadian borders regardless of the amount of cannabis and medical authorizations.

“Cannabis is illegal in most countries. If you try to travel internationally with any amount of cannabis in your possession, you could face serious criminal penalties both at home and abroad,” the Canadian government website states.

This applies even if the person is traveling to or from a place where cannabis has been decriminalized, according to the website. Consequences for traveling with cannabis products includes being denied entry into a country.

“You could be denied entry at your destination country if you have previously used cannabis or any substance prohibited by local laws,” the website states. “You could also be denied entry to other countries in the future.”

Two women arrested in recent years for similar reasons in Russia

In Russia, marijuana is illegal for recreational and medical purposes.

An Israeli-American woman was arrested at a Moscow airport in April 2019 as she was traveling from India to Israel and nine grams of marijuana were found in her luggage, BBC News reported.

Naama Issachar, 26, was sentenced to more than seven years in prison for drug trafficking charges. The BBC reported that Russian President Vladimir Putin pardoned her in January 2020 ahead of a visit of Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli Prime Minister at the moment, to Moscow.

A New York-based film student was charged with drug possession in St. Petersburg for allegedly taking medical marijuana into the country, The Moscow Times reported in September 2019.

CBS News reported Audrey Lorber was detained when she arrived in St. Petersburg for vacation and authorities found about 19 grams of marijuana on her. She said the drug was for medical reasons and showed the prescription but police said it wasn’t valid in Russia, CBS reported.

Lorber spent more than a month in a detention sentence. A court in St. Petersburg fined her for 15,000 rubles or $230 after finding her guilty.

However, not all are convinced Griner’s arrest is just an example of Russia enforcing its drug laws among travelers. U.S. Cannabis Council CEO Steven Hawkins said in a statement Sunday that “cannabis possession, alleged or real, is routinely used as a pretext by law enforcement around the world to target disfavored individuals and groups.

“In this case, Russian authorities appear to be using alleged cannabis possession as a pretext for holding a prominent American as leverage. Brittney Griner must not be used as a pawn by Russia. We urge the U.S. government to use all available channels to secure her speedy return home.”

Reach breaking news reporter Angela Cordoba Perez at [email protected] or on Twitter @AngelaCordobaP.

Cannabis in Russia – Laws, Use, and History

It’s illegal to possess, sell or grow cannabis in Russia. The country has the highest number of people incarcerated for drug offences in Europe (per capita), and most were imprisoned under the notorious Article 228. However, there are hints that the law may change – with the country exploring the option of importing cannabis for medical research.

    • Capital
    • Moskva (Moscow)
    • Population
    • 143,787,000
      • CBD Products
      • Illegal
      • Recreational cannabis
      • Illegal
      • Medicinal cannabis
      • Illegal

      Cannabis laws in Russia

      Can you possess and use cannabis in Russia?

      Russia’s government takes a tough stance on possession or use of cannabis. Both are illegal, in accordance with Article 228 of the country’s Criminal Code, and are punishable with a fine and/or a prison sentence. Since 2012, the penalties can be deferred if the offender is found to have a drug problem.

      Possession of up to six grams is regarded as an administrative offence. Anything above seven grams is a criminal offence. However, there are reports of people being arrested for cannabis possession, only to have the authorities exaggerate the amount of cannabis they were caught with.

      For ‘large-scale’ possession, the following punishments may be given:

      • A fine of up to 40,000 roubles
      • The equivalent amount of three months of the offender’s wages/salary
      • Compulsory works for up to 480 hours
      • Corrective labour for up to two years
      • Restriction or deprivation of liberty for up to three years (in most instances, prison)

      For ‘especially large-scale’ possession, these penalties are increased to:

      • A fine of up to 500,000 roubles
      • The equivalent amount of three years of the offender’s wages/salary
      • And/or a restriction or deprivation of liberty for three to 10 years

      If the individual willingly hands the cannabis over to the authorities, and ‘actively contributes’ to the uncovering and suppression of drugs-related activities, he may avoid being given any penalties.

      In real terms, possessing or using cannabis in Russia is a risky practice. For offenders, the acquittal rate is 0.1%, with most being sentenced to three years in prison. Close to half of the 102,217 guilty verdicts in 2017 were for those convicted of cannabis or other soft drugs-related offences.

      Despite this, there are still large numbers of drug users in the country. It’s estimated that they number between 7.3 and 8.5 million in total.

      Can you sell cannabis in Russia?

      Likewise, it’s illegal to sell cannabis in Russia and the sale of the substance is regarded as a serious offence. If caught selling cannabis or any other drugs, the offender will be deprived of liberty for four to eight years with restriction of liberty for up to one year.

      However, what is considered ‘large-scale’ selling or carried out as part of a bigger group of people increases the prison term to five to 12 years and is possibly accompanied by fine too, of up to 500,000 roubles (or three years’ salary).

      If it’s on an especially large scale, or the offender is operating as part of an organised gang, or he is selling the cannabis through his official position at work, then the sentence is further elevated to a prison term of eight to 20 years. Additionally, the right to work in certain roles or engage in specific activities may be removed, and there’s also the risk of having to pay one million roubles as a fine (or five years’ salary).

      In spite of these tough penalties, drug trafficking remains an issue in Russia. In 2016, Viktor Ivanov (the former head of the country’s drug enforcement agency), estimated that the narcotics industry was generating an annual profit of 1.5 trillion roubles.

      Unemployment sometimes drives Russians to sell drugs to make a living. One online dealer commented to the Moscow Times: “You’re looking for legitimate ways to make ends meet. And then you think: Screw this, I’m going to do the only thing I’m good at, which is selling drugs.”

      He also pointed to the city of Windhoek, the coastal towns of Walvis Bay and Swakopmund, and the northern town of Oshakati as key areas where drug dealing is most rampant.

      Can you grow cannabis in Russia?

      It’s illegal to grow cannabis in Russia. The sentences are the same for cultivation as they are for sale, with hefty prison sentences in place for those who are caught growing even small numbers of plants.

      In June 2019, the government showed signs of relaxing this law to an extent. They passed a bill, permitting the cultivation of cannabis for pharmaceutical purposes. The bill still needs to be approved by the Federation Council and signed by President Vladimir Putin in order to become law.

      If passed, it would permit state companies to grow cannabis, providing they have a special licence to do so.

      Is CBD legal in Russia?

      All cannabis products are illegal in Russia, regardless of how much THC (the substance responsible for the ‘high’) they contain. As such, individuals may not possess, sell or buy any CBD products in the country.

      Can cannabis seeds be sent to Russia?

      Cannabis seeds are also illegal, and may not be sent into the country via the mail.

      Medicinal cannabis in Russia

      At present, Russia has no medicinal cannabis programme. Neither has the government expressed any intention to introduce one in the future. However, the country’s health ministry has stated that it wants to import cannabis for medical research purposes.

      A draft regulation document states that both hashish and cannabis are required to study drug addiction, and to isolate active ingredients. It also proposes to import 1.1 kilograms of cannabis, 300 grams of hashish, and 50 grams of hash oil to fulfil these requirements.

      This isn’t the first time that Russia has relaxed its laws regarding medicinal cannabis. For example, in the 2018 FIFA World Cup, foreign football fans were permitted to bring medicinal cannabis with them, as long as they had a prescription.

      Industrial hemp in Russia

      Hemp was once an important crop for Russia. In fact, by the end of the 18 th century, hemp fibre provided one of the main sources of income for many parts of the country. This continued until the 19 th century when Russia was responsible for producing around 40% of Europe’s hemp.

      This changed during the early 1900s. The hemp trade began to decline, not only due to negative perceptions of the plant, but also because of shrinking acreage and low yields. The socialist reconstruction of agriculture changed the face of hemp cultivation in the country.

      Hemp was never made illegal though, and is still grown in Russia. The Konoplex Group is a good example of an organisation profiting from hemp in the country.

      Politics and cannabis

      President Vladimir Putin has always adopted an anti-cannabis stance. For example, he was openly critical of Canada’s decision to legalise the drug, with his government claiming that the country had “deliberately decided to breach” international law.

      He’s also expressed a desire to censor other aspects of Russian life, in a bid to curb cannabis use. In 2018, he put forward a suggestion to control rap music, as some tracks referenced drug use. Likewise, his government threatened to block Wikipedia if a page detailing how to make a specific type of hash wasn’t taken down.

      Good to know

      If you are travelling to Russia (or currently live there), you may be interested to know the following:

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