Weed makes inroads across Europe

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Weed makes inroads across Europe

Weed makes inroads across Europe many EU member states have legalized medical marijuana in recent years, and there are many pilot projects across the continent that could eventually lead to wider legalization. However, Europe generally takes a more conservative approach to cannabis policy than the United States, with Canada becoming the first country in the world to establish a legal cannabis market four years ago.

Much of this political and regulatory inertia has been resolved after Germany’s new coalition government, Europe’s largest economy, unveiled a blueprint last month to set up its first taxable and regulated adult market may occur.

Niklas Cuparanis, CEO of German cannabis company Bloom well Group, said in an interview, “This is a big moment. “Germany is basically a trailblazer in cannabis legalization for other EU member states.”

Just like America, Europe is also a patchwork quilt. Italy mandates the military to grow weed for patients enrolled in the country’s medical program. Switzerland has launched its first legal recreational program for its 370 cannabis users in Basel. And the Netherlands, long infamous for its weed coffee shops, just approved the country’s first legal cannabis cultivation.

But even in Germany, the road to legalization remains bleak. The biggest hurdle the country may face is overcoming EU law and international drug treaties. The challenge has prompted the German coalition to propose drastic restrictions on the potential leisure market – an import ban.

Tom Brickman, Senior Project Officer for the Drugs and Democracy Program at the Transnational Institute, points out that countries like Sweden and Poland are adamantly opposed to legalizing recreational use. He argues that Germany and other EU countries wanting to review their cannabis policies should unite and forge their own path under international law.

“What we need now is a group of like-minded nations that demonstrate that political will,” Brickman said. But for now, piecemeal change is likely to be on the agenda in most European capitals. Below is a snapshot of where different countries stand in the weed experiment.

Czech Republic

The Czech Cabinet is considering a draft to establish a regulated recreational cannabis market. The final proposal is due in March, and if passed, it will come into force in 2024, Radio Prague International reports. Medical marijuana was legalized in the country in 2017.

Recreational use is already widespread, with nearly 10% of Czech adults reporting regular use. And the authorities are trying to coordinate efforts with their Berlin counterparts. “We now have a political consensus to develop this draft cannabis regulation,” said Zindzhif Vovozir, the country’s anti-drug coordinator, at a press conference last month. “We believe this regulation will be more effective than the current ban.”

– Mona Chan

  1. Denmark

In March, members of five political parties in the Danish parliament called on the government to prepare a five-year cannabis pilot program. In their plan, residents of Denmark over the age of 18 will be able to purchase weed from public stores and the product may be grown and produced domestically.

However, the proposal was never implemented because Mette Frederickson’s ruling party is against legal weed. His five-party plan for his Folketing, the Danish parliament, would hit many Danes. Recent reports indicate that more than 40% have tried “hashish” in their lifetime. Many consumers may have sourced their goods in Copenhagen’s Bohemian Christiana district, known for its public cannabis sales.

But five cannabis-promoting parties, including the Red-Green Alliance and the Socialist Party, have yet to win a majority. It remains to be seen if any of them will join the newly formed government after the November 1 elections.

— Louis Westendarp

  1. Finland

The biggest step towards legalization of weed Finland has taken is still relatively small. In 2019, a public initiative gathered more than 59,000 signatures calling for the decriminalization of personal cannabis use. This crosses the threshold that mandates Congress to consider the initiative during the current period ending in 2023.

However, support among Finnish political parties is low. So far, only the ruling Green League has spoken out in favor of legalizing cannabis. But even here, the votes at the convention were almost completely split, with 183 votes in favor and 181 votes against.

As far as punishment goes, Finland is on the milder side. If someone is caught smoking a joint in Helsinki, they are less likely to have jail time awaiting them and more likely to be fined.

— Louis Westendarp

  1. France

In March 2021, France began his two-year experiment to legalize medical marijuana. The study includes 3,000 of her patients with epilepsy, neuropathic pain, side effects of chemotherapy, multiple sclerosis and other incurable diseases. To be eligible, participants must demonstrate that all other treatments were ineffective or had intolerable side effects.

Participants receive free cannabis — including oils and tablets, but not smoke able products — and the program is administered by the country’s federal health agency. It is hoped that it will eventually lead to wider legalization of medical marijuana in France. Recreational use of marijuana is still illegal, but possession of marijuana has been effectively decriminalized since a €200 fine was imposed for offenses in 2018. President Emmanuel Macron has said he opposes the legalization of leisure activities.

—Paul Demko

  1. Germany

Europe’s largest economy also has Europe’s most ambitious plan to legalize cannabis. Germany wants to decriminalize the purchase and possession of small amounts of cannabis as part of a long-awaited draft. This is an election promise of the center-left coalition that came to power last year. Under the proposal, licensed stores and pharmacies would also be able to sell cannabis, but advertising would be prohibited. Cannabis imports will be banned to avoid international legal tensions.

However, a bill to legalize recreational cannabis has yet to pass parliament. Until then, there will be plenty of time for politicians and interest groups to wrestle the details of the proposal, which was approved by the tripartite government led by Chancellor Olaf Scholz on October 26. For example, a weed import ban will almost certainly be challenged. Germany is unlikely to be able to cover its estimated domestic demand for 400 tons of weed. International cannabis companies also have to go through a lengthy certification process in order to grow and sell their products in Germany.

The topic of online deals and cannabis coffee shops should also be revisited. Coffee shops can create a “high level of protection with knowledgeable staff,” but the draft is more skeptical about online retail, especially amid concerns that it will be difficult to prevent children from buying products is.

German Health Minister Karl Lauterbach said last month that he would submit the draft to the European Commission to see if it meets existing commitments to curb illegal drug trafficking and drug tourism. Stated. Only if European Union officials endorse it will likely be law in early 2023. Germany’s performance will be watched closely by other European countries considering their own reforms.

The country pays close attention to regulations, control mechanisms and transparency. Thoroughness over speed – as the German proverb says: “Deepness over speed”.

– Louis Westenderp

  1. Greece

Medical marijuana he has been legal in Greece since 2017, but recreational use remains prohibited. Cannabis is available by prescription for a variety of conditions, including pain, epilepsy, and PTSD. But the industry has also been legalized to boost the country’s economy through the export of medical marijuana, according to Reuters.

The legalization of weed recreational activities is not actively discussed in Greece, but the country remains the mainstay of the continent’s illegal cannabis industry. According to the BBC, much cannabis flows across the Albanian-Greek border.

— Natalie Dunn

  1. Italy

Italy legalized medical marijuana in 2013, but relied on importing the product from the Netherlands, which proved costly for patients. To discourage patients from turning to the illicit market, the government launched its own domestic production program and entrusted the military with the cultivation of medical cannabis. That’s because the U.S. Army is responsible for manufacturing other orphan drugs. It is a drug that targets rare diseases for which there is no viable commercial market.

However, not everyone is satisfied with the product or program. According to his PBS News Hour special on the subject, the Army has been unable to keep up with demand and is abandoning some patients. Other patients still opted for expensive imported cannabis, pointing out that weed grown in Italy contained only a fraction of the THC normally found in imported cannabis.

Meanwhile, an attempt to put marijuana legalization to a national ballot seemed likely to head to the ballot after supporters collected more than 500,000 signatures last year rejected the referendum. Former Constitutional Court chief Giuliano Amato said the referendum was “sufficient to violate several international obligations,” Reuters reported.

– Mona Chan

  1. Luxembourg

When the small landlocked country embarked on an effort to legalize and regulate adult-use cannabis in 2018, he became one of the leaders to overhaul its cannabis laws. But after problems with EU legislation, the country settled earlier this year on modest proposals to legalize adult ownership and home-growing.

“Their original proposal was much more radical,” says Blackman, a senior project officer at the Transnational Institute.

The country legalized medical cannabis in 2018. Adult use of weed is not yet legal in Luxembourg, but possession is decriminalized on first offenses. The country also hosted a summit with Germany, Malta, and the Netherlands in July to discuss cannabis policy.

 – Mona Chan