The European nation of France is looking to legalize cannabis: – Cannabis isn’t as popular in Europe as it is in North America (yet). The CDC shows us that over 48 million people here in the US consume cannabis regularly. That’s about 18% of Americans. In Canada, 15% consume weed.
Europe, however – perhaps due to the amazing wine produced across the regions, doesn’t get high near as often. Even in the Netherlands, where Amsterdam is known for being a cannabis destination, only 9.6% of the locals actually consume cannabis.
This may be changing soon with upcoming legalization efforts. This article will explore consumption rates across the European Union, where weed is currently legal in Europe, and where it will be legalized next.
Consumption Across Europe – Legalize Cannabis
France and Spain tie for top consumption rates in Europe, both with 11%. Cannabis isn’t fully legal in either destination yet, however it’s still easily accessible. Some might say that Spain is even more lenient on cannabis, as legal cannabis clubs are popping up. Should legalization happen in either region it will be very interesting to watch as both France and Spain already have strong industries built around wine and champagne. North Americans might be able to learn and/or benefit from their innovation.
Croatia and Italy are both around 10% for their cannabis consumption rate and the Netherlands are right after in 5th place for consumption. From there the numbers continue to drop, Finland, Ireland, the UK, and Germany round out the top 10. You can see the full chart of consumption here, it includes everyone, right down to Malta, which has a consumption rate of .9%, the smallest in Europe.
Where In Europe Is Cannabis Legalized
The list of European countries with legalized cannabis is still kind of short:
Back on December 21, Malta (yes, the country with the lowest consumption rate) became the first country in the European Union to legalize cultivation and personal consumption. Smoking in public will still be illegal, as is smoking around kids, but an adult can carry up to seven grams and grow up to four plants at home.
Owen Bonnici, Malta’s Equality Minister says it’s a historic move that is expected to curb drug trafficking and make it a safer environment for those who do enjoy cannabis… even though less than 1% of the population actually does. Either way, it’s a step forward for all EU countries, especially those who are following their own path to legalize cannabis.
What Countries Are Next?
It’s not surprising to hear that France is. They are, after all, leading consumption rates in Europe. France has already been experimenting with limited legalization, focusing on medical purposes only. Additionally, in 2020, possession of personal cannabis was decriminalized.
At the beginning of the year, Bill 4746 was introduced, aiming to legalize adult usage. Additionally, the bill is also designed to create a regulated cannabis industry that France can benefit from. Unfortunately, current political predictions show the measure is not likely to pass. While that’s disappointing, there’s still good news.
Italy, Germany and Luxembourg seem to be moving to legalize cannabis for adult use. The Netherlands and Switzerland are already testing adult-use pilot programs. In the Netherlands, they’re allowing cannabis use in certain jurisdictions (such as Amsterdam). Meanwhile, Switzerland has been trying something different, it’s already legal to sell low-THC cannabis products.
There’s no official news on Spain’s efforts to move forward, but they are already leading the way. Personal possession laws are almost eliminated (you can get high, but if you get high and disturb the peace, that’s a whole other issue). There are also cannabis clubs throughout the country, open only to those with Spanish citizenship.
One of the biggest signs, however, that Spain is moving closer to fully legalize cannabis, along with several other countries, is the growth in the business side of the cannabis industry. The International Cannabis Business Conference (ICBC) is heading to Europe. ICBC, touted as Earth’s Premier Cannabis Networking Event, has a few events set up across Europe in 2022 including Barcelona March 10, Berlin July 18, 19, 20, and Zurich September 8 and 9.
BeardBros hopes to see you at one of the conferences above, in the meantime – and for events closer to home, check out our events page.