There are now a growing number of countries looking to follow in the footsteps of Canada and some parts of the United States by approving the use of cannabis.
During the Europa cannabis industry event in London Last week, advocates highlighted the many benefits of legalizing cannabis. Benefits include generating tax revenue, improving public health, and reducing stigma surrounding medical cannabis.
However, there has been continued opposition from critics who argue that legalization leads to addiction and increases crime and health risks. However, Jindřich Vobořil, the Czech Republic’s National Medicines Coordinator, stated that a regulated market is the most effective approach.
According to Vobořil, it is long overdue to regulate cannabis similarly to other items that fall under its purview, such as tobacco and alcohol. He added that bans are ineffective, citing examples from alcohol, tobacco and gambling as evidence.
A growing support vote
In the past few months, about six European countries, Including the Czech Republicunveiled plans for radical new reforms to legalize cannabis.
Last year, Prague announced that it was preparing a bill to legalize the drug for adult consumption. This would be the most significant progress the country has seen since the decriminalization of personal possession in 2010.
in October, Germany has unveiled proposals to legalize the use and sale of cannabis, making it the largest regulated national marijuana market in the world if the plan is approved. The Czech Republic and many other European countries later followed this move.
in other parts of Europe, Luxembourg enacted a law allowing individuals To grow cannabis for personal consumption. Malta He authorized private “cannabis clubs”, and Switzerland which is not a member of the European Union, agreed to a trial in Zurich for the sale and consumption of cannabis.
The cultivation and sale of cannabis is illegal but permitted. As a positive step forward, the government is launching a pilot program by the end of the year to assess the legal sale of cannabis.
The Dutch Member of the European Parliament, Dorian Rockmaker, stressed the need to take the next and final step. She said it was necessary to legalize cannabis cultivation in the nation.
Opposition to the European Union
Despite their efforts, governments are facing EU-wide resistance. These countries find it difficult to create legislation that complies with EU regulations, public health concerns, and international drug agreements.
Although some European countries now allow the use and sale of cannabis for medical reasons, the continent has historically banned the recreational use of cannabis. Many worry that if a government legalizes cannabis, it will sway member states against legalizing adult cannabis use.
The European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, declined to comment when asked about specific national talks. However, the commission said it was monitoring the situation closely.
In an emailed statement, a spokesperson stated that they are aware of developments in member states and are monitoring them closely. The committee is focused on assessing the impacts of changes in cannabis policies, including their impact on health, the environment, crime and social aspects.
According to EU regulations, each member state must impose strict and strict criminal penalties for the sale of illegal drugs, including cannabis. However, the regulation did not explicitly state that adult use of cannabis should be prohibited.
The commercial sale of cannabis is a deterrent to international agreements such as the United Nations Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs of 1961. However, countries such as Uruguay And Canada That put forward such agreements has not yet faced any backlash from the European Union over cannabis sales.
Following comments from the European Union, Germany recently revised its comprehensive plan to legalize cannabis. Health Minister Karl Lauterbach admitted his original proposal “failed” and that the new version should “explore new avenues”.
The revised legislation now seeks to allow private consumption and distribution by not-for-profit organizations and to explore the possibility of a pilot program to evaluate the sale of cannabis through a limited number of licensed stores.
Legalization of cannabis is unstoppable.
Despite these setbacks, advocates of cannabis legalization remain undeterred. They believe that legalizing drugs will lead to stronger safeguards within the industry, better protection for young people, and reduce illegal drug trafficking without hurting the wider EU.
Dirk Heitbream, vice president of the German Cannabis Industry Association, is optimistic, saying that many countries have realized that ban policies have not worked. He believes a long-term solution will be found to allow EU members to legalize cannabis while respecting the position of those who oppose it. He added that he was very optimistic that a framework would be put in place for that.
According to Rookmaker, a possible approach is for the public to initiate a European citizens’ initiative to support legalization. This mechanism enables citizens to propose EU policies to the Commission, provided they collect at least 1 million votes.
According to a 2022 study by London-based strategic consultancy Hanway Associates, more than half (55%) of individuals in eight European countries expressed support for the legalization of cannabis.
Rookmaker has suggested that legalizing cannabis could be proposed as Citizens’ Initiative 101. The Commission is currently reviewing its 100th initiative which seeks to connect all European capitals via high-speed rail links. In this way, you think they can take an important step forward.
Vobořil, like many other policymakers, is hopeful that discussions about legalizing cannabis in the European Union will continue to expand in the coming months. Vobořil stated that it is necessary and will eventually happen everywhere. I don’t think it can be prevented.
Cannabis legalization advocates are optimistic that the European Union will eventually take a more progressive stance as more European countries move toward legalizing adult use of cannabis. While there are still hurdles to work out, such as compliance with international agreements and EU legislation, proponents contend that legalizing it could lead to benefits such as better regulation and protection of events.
An initiative for European citizens to legalize cannabis could also be created, giving Europeans an opportunity to express their support for reform. It seems unlikely that the movement to legalize marijuana in Europe will slow down anytime soon, with public opinion surging and authorities showing signs of warming up to the idea.