Over the last 20 years, marijuana laws have changed in many countries across the world.
Cannabis is now legal for medicinal purposes in 33 U.S states and for recreational usage in 10.
In October 2018, Canada became the second country to legalize all forms of cannabis use, after Uruguay made marijuana legal in 2012.
In Europe, cannabis laws are different from country to country, which can be confusing to CBD and cannabis users. The purpose of this piece is to clarify the legalization status of marijuana throughout Europe.
Marijuana Law in the Netherlands
The Netherlands is probably the number one country in Europe for its association with cannabis cafes and culture. Although not 100% legal, marijuana use has been decriminalized across the Netherlands, which means that you may only face prosecution under extreme circumstances.
Ever since the early 1970s, the coffee shops throughout the Netherlands are legally allowed to sell cannabis under strict terms and conditions. These conditions include not selling more than 5g of cannabis to any individual at any given time, not advertising the sale of cannabis, not selling hard drugs or alcohol, and not causing a public disturbance.
Back in 2013, the Dutch government passed a law that stated that only Dutch nationals could buy cannabis in coffee shops. The purpose of this law was to try and cut down on the public disturbances caused by marijuana tourism.
Since 2013, coffee shop owners ask for identification before they sell their products. However, in reality, these checks are rarely put into practice.
Police still have the ability to arrest and prosecute and Dutch national that is in possession of more than 5g of cannabis.
Marijuana Law in Portugal
Portugal is another European country with pretty liberal drug laws.
In this country, all narcotics have been decriminalized, and they favor rehabilitation over prosecution in the majority of criminal cases.
Anyone found in possession with small amounts of cannabis will face a small commission, which is there to dissuade them from further drug use.
Although the laws are relaxed around cannabis use, cultivation is 100% illegal and faces a possible punishment of imprisonment.
Marijuana Law in Spain
Drug laws in Spain are rather complicated. Public cannabis use is classed as a ‘serious order offense’, which can carry a fine of between 600 and 30,000 Euros.
That said, there is a law in Spain that decriminalizes ‘closed circle’ cannabis use. This law has led to the formation of many ‘cannabis clubs’. These clubs can cultivate and distribute cannabis between members, but it carries a risk. There is a legal gray area surrounding this culture, and anyone caught cultivating cannabis could face a prison sentence.
Marijuana Law in France
In France, some of Europe’s strictest marijuana laws have been implemented. Anyone caught in possession of cannabis may face a drug awareness course and potential prison time of a year for personal use.
In June of 2019, some French nationalists attempted to exploit a legal loophole which allowed for the sale of cannabis with a THC content below 0.2%.
Several coffee shops were opened selling a form of cannabis marketed as ‘weed light’. However, all of these establishments were closed by police, reinforcing the notion that cannabis use will not be tolerated in France.
Marijuana Law in Germany
In Germany, the laws are slightly more flexible. Medical marijuana was legalized in 2017, and the number of patients registered for use is steadily increasing. That said, unauthorized supply, cultivation, and possession are still illegal. Meaning that you may face prosecution if you are caught with small amounts of cannabis for personal use.
Marijuana Law in Switzerland
Unlike Germany and France, marijuana use is legal and readily accessible in Switzerland, for medical use at the very least.
There are a number of pharmacies and head shops that sell cannabis and smoking supplies. The only catch is that these legal strains have very low THC content, which is normally less than 1% THC. This may help to relieve aches and pains in some users but it won’t get them high.
Marijuana Law in Italy
Heading south into Italy, the marijuana laws are quite confusing. It’s legal for cannabis stores to sell weed with THC content under 0.2%, but it is illegal to consume marijuana in any way. Therefore, the products sold in the head shops are marked as ‘collector’s items’.
That said, medical marijuana can be legally prescribed in Italy, as long as it’s prescribed as ‘symptomatic treatment supporting standard treatment’. Some conditions marijuana is licensed to treat include glaucoma, Tourette’s syndrome, nausea caused by chemotherapy, spasticity, and reduced appetite caused by AIDS.
The European Cannabis Market.
The EU cannabis market is booming, representing 31% of the global market, and coming a close second to North America. Over 90,000 acres of land across the continent are dedicated to hemp manufacturing. Most of the land is located in The Netherlands, Lithuania, Romania, and France.
At the end of 2019, the EU cannabis market was worth millions of Euros, with the projected market value set for $1.7 billion by 2023.
Here at Enecta, we think it's fantastic that cannabis and CBD products are slowly becoming legalized and understood across Europe. Our premium CBD products may hell help to protect your mind and make your life easier if you're currently living with any conditions or problems mentioned in this piece.
Click here if you want to order any of our products or speak to a knowledgeable member of our customer service team today.