Is Cannabis Legal in All of Europe?

Europe is considered to have a progressive attitude towards marijuana. From the famous coffee shops of the Netherlands to the cannabis clubs of Barcelona, Europe is widely weed-friendly. A survey conducted by the European Commission revealed that over the last year 1 in 10 European adults consumed cannabis at least once. However, with a population estimated at 743 million people clearly opinions on weed will vary. Before you plan to travel, live, or start your own business in a European country, it’s essential to educate yourself on the specific laws applicable to each country. Contrary to commonly-held belief, cannabis is not legal across all of Europe, and the laws vary from country to country.

Even more liberal countries such as the Netherlands carry penalties for cannabis possession over a certain amount outside retail settings. Other countries such as Poland, Austria, Switzerland, and Denmark have chosen to decriminalize possession instead of legalizing cannabis usage, and some even permit products with trace amounts of weed; however, possession of products with amounts of THC over the legal limit will still result in fines

Greece, Sweden, Hungary, and many other countries throughout Europe completely forbid any use of recreational marijuana, and in some cases, even medical use. Cannabis use may often be treated liberally in much of Europe, and in some cases, law enforcement in countries where it’s illegal may turn a blind eye but it is crucial to remain aware that laws may differ and are often subject to change.

Does Europe Have Medical Cannabis Use?

Many European countries are more accepting of medical cannabis use, which is legal to a degree in Germany, France, Italy, Poland, and Belgium, to name a few. Although in many cases, this only applies to specific drugs or under certain circumstances. Additionally, many of the countries that permit the use of medical marijuana require patients to apply for and receive a permit before they are allowed to receive their medication.

The UK has a more complex relationship with marijuana. While low THC and CBD products are currently legal in the UK, these limits are extremely low. Possession is decriminalized, with the penalty being a warning from police or a small fine that can be paid on the spot. Medical use is considered completely legal, but the overall status of the drug is illegal. Despite this, the UK is the world’s largest producer of medical marijuana, with 44.9% of marijuana sold globally produced in the UK

Brexit & Cannabis

Many have questioned how Brexit will affect the UK’s stance on weed. The truth is that the EU has very little influence on its members’ internal drug policies. The EU will complement members’ actions to reduce damage related to drugs but cannot change domestic policy. The EU’s authority only extends as far as serious drug crimes like trafficking.

Despite this, pundits claim that Brexit still has a chance of influencing UK policy on marijuana use through the economic changes it will create.Even those in favor of the split acknowledge the potential economic repercussions, which could take years to resolve. Introducing a legal cannabis industry can boost the economy and may be the solution the UK chooses to implement.

European Countries Domestic Cannabis Policies

Overall the reality is that there is no homogenous policy held by most of Europe on marijuana use. Each country has its domestic policies that must be followed. However the European market is predicted to begin a period of rapid growth and is estimated to reach a value of €403.4 million by the end of 2021. This is attributed to the increase of users during the pandemic, and several countries beginning the legalization process.