There has been an acceleration of discussion regarding whether to legalise the sale and use of cannabis, particularly in Europe. Canada, Uruguay, 21 US states, Malta, and most recently Thailand have all legalised cannabis in the last ten years. Now, Germany and the Czech Republic seek to legalise every step of the cannabis production process, from growing to use. Germany wants its strategy to be in line with EU law, as we well know. Brussels will need to declare its position. Other EU nations will be keenly monitoring how this develops. In short, we can see that the cannabis legalisation race in Europe has began.
What is the approach of the European Union for cannabis?
The European Union (EU) does not have a uniform position on the legalisation of cannabis for recreational use. It is due to the fact that individual member states still have the primary authority over cannabis policy. Each country is free to create and implement its own cannabis regulations. Thoughts on cannabis policy have been issued by the EU, with a focus on public safety, health, and illicit drug use prevention. The European Union emphasises an integrated approach that considers issues with public health and respect for human rights.
The EU also encourages member states to base their cannabis regulations on academic research, industry standards, and global agreements and supports evidence-based policy. It also encourages member states to work together to exchange knowledge, pool experiences, and coordinate efforts to handle drug-related concerns, including cannabis.
The EU also acknowledges that member states have the freedom to create their own cannabis policies that are tailored to their own national circumstances, social, cultural, and legal contexts. This means that each member state may decide whether to decriminalise or legalise cannabis usage for recreational purposes. While other member nations might continue to keep more stringent rules, we can see it in the examples of Malta, Germany, and Czechia, among others.
What drivers influence the race in cannabis legalisation across countries in Europe?
First of all, decriminalising cannabis use and possession through the legalisation of recreational marijuana may help ease the pressure on the criminal justice system. According to the most recent information, Germany will, upon request, remove earlier convictions from the Federal Central Register. Generally speaking, such a strategy can assist in releasing law enforcement resources, lowering cannabis-related arrests and incarcerations. It can also help in addressing social justice and equity issues, particularly in areas that are disproportionately affected by cannabis-related arrests and convictions.
The economic advantages could also influence national decisions. The Czech Republic anticipates receiving significant revenue through taxes and licences, as we recently reported. Through taxing and regulation of cannabis sales, the legalisation of recreational marijuana can open up a new source of income for governments. The funding of public services, education, and healthcare are only a few examples of the potential uses for this.
Additionally, legalizing cannabis and regulating its manufacture, distribution, and sale could potentially enhance public health and safety. Legalisation makes quality assurance and product testing possible, which can help lower the dangers of tainted or adulterated cannabis products. Additionally, it may make it possible to improve cannabis harm reduction and education initiatives. As is well known, both Germany and the Czech Republic desire complete control over the distribution of cannabis within their respective nations.
And the last reason may be benefits coming from tourism and, further, economic development. Malta is such an example. Some other countries, such as Macedonia might think about making recreational marijuana. It is in order to draw cannabis tourists and strengthen their local economy. Cannabis tourism may boost local businesses like dispensaries, motels, and restaurants while also generating jobs in the area.
Is the future of cannabis in Europe bright?
Finally, in order to even begin the conversation, perceptions about cannabis must change. In numerous countries, the public’s perception of cannabis has changed, and legalisation is now more widely accepted. This change may be caused by shifting societal mores, cultural influences, and increasing medical marijuana research.
Of course, the evolving worldwide cannabis policy environment may persuade other nations to adopt similar measures in order to keep up with current global trends. Another justification is a desire to prevent possible harm to commerce and diplomatic relations.