Cannabis remains to be the most popular illicit drug in Europe. Though it is one of the booming industries in the region. The European Union lacks a homogenous legal framework on the use of cannabis. This leaves room for member states to have different policy adjustments. Hence, laws governing cannabis supply distribution and possession in each state varies. Several countries have legalized cannabis use for medicinal purposes. Efforts towards cannabis legalization in Europe are gaining momentum.
In July 2018, the government of Luxembourg anonymously passed a bill legalizing the use of cannabis for medical purposes. It has also vowed to legalize cannabis for recreational purposes by 2023. It will be the first country in the region to approve adult-use recreational cannabis. It will establish a well-regulated market. It will allow individuals to possess up to 30 grams of cannabis. Non-residential policies are yet to dissuade drug tourism.
France has played a significant role in cannabis legalization in Europe. It has a larger population of cannabis consumers. The debate over recreational cannabis is still divisive. The president has removed the mandatory sentence law for minor cannabis crimes. He is also intending to bring to change regulations related to cannabis in the country. Last year, a government-tasked commission advised the government to introduce a new regulatory scheme for recreational cannabis. The matter is still open for debate.
In UK, politicians, experts and celebrities are pushing towards cannabis legalization. They may achieve the goal in the next 5 to 10 years. YouGov conducted research in May 2018. It established that majority of the community supported the legalization of cannabis. It is the first country in Europe to launch a private patient registry. The goal of the patient registry is to build the largest body of evidence on cannabis as a drug for medical use.
Netherlands was the first country to legalize cannabis for medical use in 1999. They consider cannabis use a public health issue, but not a criminal matter. Coffee shops have been selling cannabis with decriminalized permits since 1976. However, the production, distribution, and supply in the country is illegal. Coffee shops have to rely on illegal sources from the black market for cannabis supply. The government is reconsidering a tolerance policy for cannabis starting in 2021. It will establish the possibility of legally providing coffee shops with quality-controlled cannabis. This policy is among the government’s efforts to achieving cannabis legalization in Europe.
Using formal cannabis-based medicine is now legal in 22 European states. Some countries are planning to legalize recreational cannabis It is a way of minimizing on public spending and safeguarding public health. It will be a source of revenue for the state as well as limiting black market transactions. Cannabis legalization in Europe has been progressing with time.
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