More Than 50% of Europeans Want Legalization

A big shakeup is afoot in the European Union.

When it comes to cannabis and legalization efforts, Europe is easily 5 years or so behind the US. While some countries have been well-established as nations that support and even allow marijuana use (looking at you, Amsterdam coffee shops), the majority of countries have trailed behind their American counterparts.

However, change is on the horizon… change that could put the EU in a much more favorable position globally.

According to recent polls, over half of the European population supports adult recreational cannabis legalization, and approximately 30% are interested in purchasing it.

Let’s dive deeper into what that means for Europe–and the cannabis industry globally.

Europeans Who Already Support Cannabis

Some European nations, like Germany, are ahead of the game; the German government has made medical marijuana legal for limited situations. Others have decriminalized it in its entirety, like in the Netherlands. While cannabis is technically illegal in the Netherlands, it is decriminalized for personal use. It is also tolerated for recreational use, and it is available at special coffee shops. Malta, meanwhile, was the first European country to legalize the personal growing and use of cannabis. 

Interestingly enough, while a majority of Europeans are open to recreational sales of cannabis, homegrown operations are a different story. According to a survey by London-based consultant Hanway and pot producer Curaleaf International, while the majority of Europeans support legal cannabis shops and dispensaries, the majority do not favor cultivating the plant at home. 

And although Europe has fallen behind on Marijuana legalization compared to the US, in actuality, current trends suggest that Europe will undertake major reforms before the United States. And with these reforms will come economic windfalls.

Legalization And The Economy

As demonstrated in the United States, where cannabis use increased amid pandemic-induced lockdowns, Europe’s permissive approach might reap various financial and economic rewards.

During the first part of the pandemic, legal sales in the United States—14 states allow adult use, 36 allow medicinal sales—reached a record of $17.5 billion, a 46 percent rise over 2019, according to a report. The majority of the sales increases came from adult-use markets, particularly mature markets like Colorado, which increased sales by 26% to $2.2 billion.

European markets are set to follow suit. According to a report by research firm Prohibition Partners, the European cannabis market is likely to surpass 3 billion euros* ($3.27 billion) in yearly revenue by 2025, up from over 400 million euros last year. So far, Germany has been the continent’s largest market. 

Given that Germany is Europe’s largest economy, a reform in that nation will likely set the tone and generate a domino effect for the rest of the continent.

*($1 = 0.9166 euros)

[RELATED READING: The EU Just Got a Little Greener – Germany Promises Full Cannabis Legalization After Malta’s Legislation]

Headaches At Home

The news about Europe’s new mindset comes just a week after the United States House of Representatives voted on legislation to eliminate the federal prohibition on marijuana, which has caused legal problems for users and businesses in states that have legalized it.

The United States House of Representatives voted on Friday to legalize marijuana on a federal level, bringing the country one step closer to decriminalizing cannabis and demonstrating changes in attitudes toward the drug.

While the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act is expected to face stiff opposition in the Senate, its discussion and vote on Friday provided House legislators with an opportunity to express their thoughts on a legalization movement.

The MORE Act would essentially decriminalize marijuana and remove it from the Controlled Substances Act list.



A European reform on cannabis would have ripple effects across the globe, and would definitely bring an influx of cash into the European economy. Keep an eye on this evolving mindset shift.

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