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Legal status of cocaine


Legal status of cocaine

The production, distribution and sale of cocaine is restricted (and/or illegal) under most jurisdictions.


  • In Nigeria, it is illegal to import, manufacture, process, plant or grow, export, transport, traffic, sell, buy, expose for sale, smoke, inhale, inject, possess or deal with cocaine.[1]
  • In South Africa, it is a crime to have cocaine in your possession.[2]


  • Hong Kong: use and possession of cocaine is illegal unless a license was issued by the Department of Health.
  • India: use and possession of cocaine is illegal with a mandatory 10 year sentence.
  • Pakistan: use and possession of cocaine is illegal.
  • Saudi Arabia: use and possession of cocaine is punishable by death.
  • Singapore: possession of more than 30 grams of cocaine results in a mandatory death sentence, but can be issued by the Department of Health.


  • Czech Republic: Cocaine is legal to 1 gram for personal use, also Coca is legal to 5 plants.
  • Germany: Possession of cocaine without a medical prescription is illegal. Small amounts for own consumption may go unpunished for first-time or non-regular offenders. This also varies by state. Usually revocation of a driving license will follow up confiscation of any drug except marijuana, since drug users are considered a risk to road traffic.
  • Netherlands: Cocaine is considered an illegal hard-drug. Possession, production and trade are not allowed as stated in the Opium Law of 1928. Although technically illegal, possession of less than half a gram usually goes unpunished.[3][4]
  • Portugal: Personal use of cocaine is decriminalized. Drug abuse is dealt with by administrative and medical intervention. Trafficking is illegal.[5]
  • Switzerland: personal use of cocaine is sentenced by a fine. Trafficking is sentenced by jail.
  • United Kingdom: Cocaine is a Class A drug, controlled by the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971. However medical use by doctors for controlling pain is permitted.[6]

North America

Country Status Note(s)
Bahamas Illegal[7]
Canada Illegal[8]
Mexico Legal[9] No penalty for carrying up to half a gram
United States Illegal[10] Remains a Schedule II narcotic


  • Australia: Cocaine is a Schedule 8 (controlled) drug permitting some medical use, but is otherwise outlawed.
  • New Zealand: Cocaine is a Class A drug. The coca leaf and preparations of cocaine containing no more than 0.1% cocaine base, in such a way that the cocaine cannot be recovered, are both classified as Class C.[11]

South America

  • Bolivia: Limited private cultivation of coca is legal in Bolivia, where chewing the leaves and drinking coca tea are considered cultural practices, in particular in the mountainous regions. Processed cocaine is illegal.
  • Brazil: consumption and selling of cocaine are crimes. Consumption: warning on drug effects, community service (5 to 10 months) and educational measures - attending course or program. Selling: 5 to 15 years of jail and R$ 500-1.500 fine and course or program attendance. The decision on which purpose the apprehended drug had is based on judge decision.[12]
  • Colombia: In 1994, possession of 1 gram of cocaine was legalized for personal use.[13][14] Sale remains illegal, but personal production or gifts of cocaine are permitted.
  • Peru: Cultivation of coca plants is legal, coca leaves are sold openly on markets. Similarly to Bolivia, chewing leaves and drinking coca tea belong to cultural practices. Possession of up to 2 grams of cocaine or up to 5 grams of cocaine basic paste is legal for personal use in Peru per Article 299 of Peruvian Penal Code.[15] However, the reality how police treats it might be very different.[16] Important part of Article 299 is that person may not possess two or more kinds of drugs at the same time - this would make it criminal offense.


  1. ^
  2. ^
  4. ^ Drugsverbod juridisch ontmaskeren?
  5. ^ Greenwald, Glenn; Peter Reuter; Tim Lynch (2009-04-03). "Lessons for Creating Fair and Successful Drug Policies". Drug Decriminalization in Portugal. Cato Institute. 
  6. ^ Home Office: Life in the United Kingdom: A Journey to Citizenship, 2007, p 121
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^ "DEA, Drug Scheduling". US Drug Enforcement Agency. Retrieved 2011-01-07. 
  11. ^ "Misuse of Drugs Act 1975". New Zealand Legislation. Retrieved 10 December 2011. 
  12. ^ "LEI Nº 11.343, DE 23 DE AGOSTO DE 2006.". Palácio do Planalto. Retrieved 9 May 2014. 
  13. ^ Housego, Kim (2004-04-05). "As addiction rises, Colombia weighs rolling back decade-old drug legalization". Associated Press ( 
  14. ^ Murphy, Jarrett (2004-04-05). "Colombia sinks in sea of legal cocaine, heroin".  
  15. ^ "Overview of drug laws and legislative trends in Peru". Retrieved 2014-04-12. 
  16. ^ "Drugs in Peru: Laws of Possession". Retrieved 2014-04-12. 
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