Cannabis and the European Union |

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The European Magazine was born in 2013, with the collaboration of six nonprofit organizations from Greece, Hungary, Italy and Romania. Since then, we organized six transnational workshops with the goals of: training citizens on European values, collecting their needs in terms of communication; making citizens more active in the European life; fostering a constructive collaboration.

AUTHOR: Federico Lo Bianco, Italy.


Cannabis and its extracts are by far the most consumed illicit drug in the EU: the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction issued a report in 2013 stating that 23.7% of Europeans aged 15-64 (and nearly 30% of those aged 15-24) have tried cannabis at least once in their lifetime; 3.6% of the population (and nearly 8% of the young) declared having consumed cannabis in the last month.

The legislation on cannabis is one of the most controversial policy issues in the EU.: although cannabis is a classified narcotic drug placed under control by the United Nations and by all EU Member States, the measures adopted to control it at the national level vary considerably. In particular, the European Council has given no indication regarding the measures to adopt in case of use and possession for personal use; the common trend across the Member States is the development of alternative measures to criminal prosecution in these cases.

In many states it is recognised by law or by practice that cannabis is not comparable to most other drugs, for at least two reasons: the effects are much less powerful, and there is little to no component of physical addiction.

Worldwide, besides the all-famous case of the Netherlands, where the purchase and use of cannabis in particular venues has been legal since the seventies, two other countries have recently challenged the dogma of prohibitionism: the States of Colorado and Washington in the US legalized cannabis for medical and recreational use in 2012. Starting in February 2015, the same will happen in Alaska, while Uruguay completely legalized cannabis in 2013. For what concerns the EU, some 700 cannabis clubs opened in Spain since 2010, by exploiting a legislative gap that allows people to grow up to 4 cannabis plants; however the European legalization movements are not supported, like in the USA, by a strong economic lobby, which is no doubt one of the main reasons why there is no serious debate on this subject at a European level.

LINK: Cannabis and the European Union |

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