European anti-drug coordinators met this week in Prague. Czech representative Jindřich Vobořil called for a collective effort by the 27 countries. Jindřich proposes to the bloc to jointly regulate the market for recreational cannabis. That is, cannabis used for entertainment purposes. According to him, the current ban has proven simply ineffective.
In the Czech Republic itself, recreational cannabis is banned. But growing and possession at home have been decriminalized since 2010. There was, however, a fine for using cannabis in public places. Now in Prague, a bill aimed to regulate the market is being prepared at full speed.
Luxembourg Minister of Health Paulette Lenert and Minister of Justice Sam Tanson have already announced, that The Grand Duchy intends to grow recreational cannabis. This is the next step in dialing down the current drug policy. Previously the government has allowed its residents to grow up to four cannabis bushes at home. But before full legalization there will be an intermediate stage – medical cannabis.
“I’m glad we’re not the only ones in the EU doing this,” says Jindřich Vobořil. “It’s impossible to discuss this unless the whole EU is involved.”
With its ambitions, Luxembourg has joined the camp in favor of a liberal drug policy. Also in this camp are the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and even Estonia. The new German government has also promised to change course and is considering cannabis legalization.
But there is also a “zero tolerance” camp in Europe. It includes, for example, Poland, Sweden and France. It’s unlikely that these countries will change their drug laws in general. Or the cannabis use laws in particular.
Global Commission on Drug Policy representative’s opinion on cannabis legalization
Michel Kazatchkine of the Global Commission on Drug Polic has also urged the EU to remove cannabis from the list of prohibited substances: “We have been trying to do this for more than a decade. Lots of legal complications. But I believe that in Europe and across the world the view on this issue will change,” Michel was quoted saying by the Czech news agency CTK.
Kazatchkine, among other things, has the UN Convention on Drug Control on his mind. It is very strict about the production, sale and consumption of recreational substances. Nevertheless, the Czech Republic initiative would give political weight to the legalization debate in Europe.
In Luxembourg, bills for the legal medical and recreational use are due to be submitted to the Chamber of Deputies during 2023.