Cannabis law and legislation in Albania

Medical use

The use of cannabis for medical purposes is prohibited in Albania, and doctors are not permitted to prescribe it for health conditions

In 2000, Albania joined the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs of 1961, which is an international treaty that prohibits the use, production and trade of listed narcotics, except for medical treatments and research. Nevertheless, to this day, this part of the treaty for the medical use of cannabis has not been enforced by Albania.

Recreational use

In 1994, the Albanian government established the “Law of Narcotic and Psychotropic Substances”, and cannabis was included in the list of controlled drugs. On 27 January 1995, the criminal code of the Republic of Albania was created, and the usage, production and trade of narcotics was prohibited. Cannabis is not specifically listed however the government made clear that it falls within the definition of narcotics.

According to Article 283 of the criminal code, the sale, offer for sale, giving or receiving of any form, distribution, trading, transport, sending, delivering, and keeping of narcotic and psychotropic substances and seeds of narcotic plants, in conflict with the law (excluding cases when it is for personal use and in small doses) is sentenced to imprisonment of from five to ten years.

The code itself does not define what “small doses” means, however in 2008 the government explained that this is not a set amount, but it is determinable on a case-by-case basis, considering factors such as the  offender’s age and the THC levels of the single dose that they are possessing.

Industrial use

From the late 1970s  to the 1980s, the cultivation and export  of hemp was allowed, particularly for use in the oil and textiles industries. However, in the early 1990s, hemp factories started to collapse and hemp was officially classified in 2000 as a narcotic  when  laws  were  enacted to strictly prohibit its use in any field and sector.

The Albanian government, in 2016, discussed legalising the cultivation of industrial hemp, nevertheless it was never achieved nor allowed.

It is commonly known that Albania has been one of the biggest producers and sellers of illegal cannabis during the last 30 years, and the government fears that allowing the cultivation of industrial hemp will lead to a misuse of this substance and to the violation of various anti-drug laws which are in force.

Recently a large number of American-Albanian hemp companies have been pressuring the Government to legalise the industrial use of hemp, underlying the benefits of it for the economy and the industry of the country. As of today, however, the cultivation of plants that serve, or are known to serve for the production and extraction of narcotic and psychotropic substances, even for industrial purposes, is punishable by imprisonment from three to seven years. The same act, when committed in complicity, or more than once, is punishable by imprisonment of up to ten years.
Albania does not have a specific regulation on CBD, which, to date, can not be used in foods or cosmetics. 

Patentability

It is not possible to patent cannabis-based products in Albania, since every use of it is prohibited and criminalised.

Latest developments

After the National Strategy Against Drugs of 2012-2016 was implemented by Albania to fight drug abuse, cultivation, import/export and trade in general, it is unlikely that the government will change its direction and reform the drug legislation. The government has highlighted drug related risks, as well as the potential impairment that narcotics might have on Albania’s integration process in the European Union.

However, at the moment, various European countries are embracing the use of cannabis for medical and industrial purposes. Therefore, in the future Albania might reform its cannabis legislation at least in these two fields to conform with the other countries

Portrait of Mirko Daidone
Mirko Daidone
Managing Partner
Tirana