Absinthe was prohibited in many countries around the world in early 1900s due to worries about its safety. Absinthe is actually a strong liquor which has an anise taste that is served diluted with water to cause the drink to absinthethujone louche.
One of the important ingredients of Absinthe is the herb wormwood that contains a substance called thujone. Thujone was believed to be similar to THC in the drug cannabis also to be psychoactive. The medical occupation and prohibitionists in nineteenth century France were convinced that Absinthe was a lot more than an intoxicant, it was a hazardous drug entirely unlike other alcohol-based drinks. The government believed these claims and were concerned with growing abusive drinking in France hence they prohibited Absinthe in 1915. It started to be a crime to buy or sell Absinthe, you can get into problems with the police in the event you distilled it illegally.
Reports have since shown Absinthe to become perfectly safe, as safe as any strong alcohol. Absinthe only contains small quantities of thujone and indeed not enough to result in any harmful effects. It is possible to get drunk on Absinthe though and, because Absinthe is made up of herbs of both a sedative and stimulant nature, it is a very different drunkenness!
Absinthe was legalized in many countries within the 1980s onwards according to its thujone content. Bottles of Absinthe are available online or in liquor shops or you can create your own from top-quality essences similar to those from AbsintheKit.com.
In what countries is Absinthe legal right now?
United States – Several brands of Absinthe were accepted for selling in the US in 2007 after being banned since 1912. Brands like “Lucid” are now legal because of their low thujone content. The USA law permits “thujone free” beverages to be sold but due to US test procedures, Absinthes with less than 10 parts per million of thujone (under 10mg per liter) count as thujone free.
The EU (European Union) – Absinthe was banned in numerous European countries in early 1900s but was legalized in the EU in 1988. There exists a regulation with regards to thujone content in drinks in the EU. Up to 10mg/kg of thujone is allowed in alcohol with more than 25% alcohol by volume, and up to 35mg/kg in alcohol labeled “bitters”.
Australia – Bitters can have a thujone content of up to 35mg/kg and other beverages can contain approximately 10mg/kg. Absinthe is legal on the market if it complies with the law.
Brazil – Brazilian law states that Absinthe should have less than 55% alcohol by volume and contain 10mg/kg of thujone or less.
Canada – The Canadian provinces each have their particular liquor boards to produce laws with regards to alcohol. Many provinces don’t allow any thujone containing alcohol to be sold but Absinthe is legal in British Columbia, Nova Scotia, Ontario and Quebec. Quebec and Ontario legislate that Absinthe with up to 10mg/kg thujone could be legally sold and then there are not any limits concerning thujone in British Columbia.
Czech Republic – Absinthe is actually a Czech tradition and it has never been banned in the Czech Republic.
France – La Fee Verte or The Green Fairy (Absinthe) was famously prohibited in 1915. Since 1988 Absinthe has been legal in France as long as it’s not labeled Absinthe but is marked “spiritueux Ã base de plantes d’absinthe”. France additionally regulates the chemical substance fenchone that is found in fennel so beverages must consist of 5mg/liter or less of fenchone. Numerous distillers make low fenchone Absinthes particularly for the French market.
Hungary – In 2004 Hungarian law made Absinthe legal.
Israel – Absinthe could be sold in Israel.
Ireland – Absinthe can be shipped to the country for private utilization but Absinthe that contains thujone is often illegal.
Netherlands – In 2004 Absinthe was made legal provided that it complies with all the EU legislation.
New Zealand – Absinthe is lawful in New Zealand.
Poland – Absinthe appears to be illegal in Poland.
Portugal – Like Spain, Absinthe was never prohibited in Portugal.
Russia – Russia permits Absinthe to be bought and sold, even high thujone Absinthe of up to 75mg/kg thujone.
Serbia – Serbia would not allow Absinthe more than 50% abv or containing thujone to be sold.
South Africa – In 2005 Absinthe was made legal.
Spain – Absinthe was never restricted in Spain where it is known as Absenta.
Sweden – Sweden allows Absinthe complying with EU legislation to be marketed given that it is labeled as formulated with wormwood.
Switzerland – Absinthe was eventually legalized in 2005 in Switzerland, above 90 years after it was restricted.
Turkey – Thujone made up of Absinthe is illegal.
UK – The UK never prohibited Absinthe. Absinthe must adhere to EU legislation.
So, the response to the question “In what countries is Absinthe legal?” is that it has become legal in many countries where it was previously popular.