Marijuana light

European states where cannabis is legal

The legalization of cannabis is a complex issue, even in countries that have managed to find a balance. The debate is fierce, above all due to the false beliefs that are spread by every means; Prohibitionism is a cultural fact rooted in the background of many, but now the numerous studies on the potential of cannabis are changing something in the perception of the substance.

Italy, together with Switzerland, in 2018 legalized the consumption of the so-called light cannabis, cannabis sativa almost entirely deprived of THC. Light cannabis contains THC and CBD like any other cannabis plant, but the percentages of the two active ingredients are different from those of the illegal plant, and above all they are regulated. In fact, legal hemp can contain up to 0.2% THC , a quantity that excludes the occurrence of psychoactive effects, guaranteeing relaxation due to CBD and no other side effects.

Legalization: more quality, less crime 

Prohibition had many consequences. In the 2015 annual report, the DNA - National Anti-Mafia Directorate - stated that the cancellation of the crime of production and sale of soft drugs - which represents more than half of the drug market - would generate savings of almost 800 million euros , following the lower expenses between the judiciary, detention institutions, public order and security. This is a huge amount of money, which could be used to combat hard drugs, such as cocaine, heroin and synthetic drugs.

There is another very important piece of data, and it is an estimate of the "turnover" of the cannabis black market : according to the National Anti-Mafia Directorate, it amounts to around 30 billion euros a year , equal to around 2% of the national GDP . More than half of this amount is linked to the sale of marijuana and its derivatives alone. Stopping prohibition and legalizing marijuana would be a historic move to successfully fight organized crime.

And in the rest of Europe?

There are many countries in which the sale of cannabis is legal, but subject to restrictions.

The Netherlands does not have legislation that allows the production and sale of cannabis, but its production, sale and consumption is permitted with restrictions regarding the methods and place of consumption : cannabis can be sold and consumed only inside coffee shops, while smoking is prohibited in public places.

In addition to Italy, other states have also legalized cannabis with some restrictions on the percentages of active ingredient and quantities. In Belgium, personal consumption is illegal, but possession of up to 3 grams of cannabis is tolerated .

In the Czech Republic it is possible to possess up to 15 grams of marijuana and 5 grams of hashish for recreational purposes , thanks to the decriminalization of consumption, while it is possible to purchase and consume medical marijuana upon prescription .

In Germany, the sale and consumption of cannabis for therapeutic purposes are legalized upon medical prescription, including state-controlled private cultivation.

Even in Spain, hemp is de facto decriminalised, with possession limits set at 40 grams , but consumption is only permitted in private, in one's home or within clubs authorized by the State. The sale, trade, transport and consumption of hemp in all public places remains prohibited.

In France, the personal use of marijuana for recreational purposes is prohibited by law , however the consumption of light cannabis , hemp with low percentages of THC, which can be purchased in specialized shops, is permitted .

Finally, in England it is legal to buy and consume cannabis for therapeutic use , but the supply is still rather limited, while use for recreational purposes is illegal.

Luxembourg like California

Luxembourg will be the first European state to legalize cannabis for recreational use. The government of the small European state has begun the process of legalizing cannabis for recreational purposes, effectively becoming the first state in the union to allow the sale and consumption of soft drugs. Unlike the Netherlands, where there is no defined regulation and a regulatory gap is exploited to allow the sale and consumption of cannabis in specific areas, Luxembourg would adopt detailed legislation on the use of soft drugs, recognizing its importance .

Deputy Prime Minister admits Luxembourg's drug policies have not worked; on the contrary, prohibitionism "only made them more interesting in the eyes of younger people".

The new legislation will allow the consumption of drugs for recreational use by all citizens over 18 years of age, while non-residents will be excluded. The state will regulate production and distribution through a dedicated body. The legislative process is expected at the end of the year and completed by 2020.

Will San Marino be our Luxembourg?

At the end of September the Great and General Council of the very small state of Romagna approved a request presented by a group of citizens to «ask to regulate the use of cannabis for recreational purposes» . Translated: should the legislative process be completed, in the Republic of Titan it will be possible to grow cannabis, process and transform the plant "in order to obtain derivatives", sell them and consume them for recreational purposes in any non-public place and in special rooms " on the model of Dutch coffeeshops", precisely.

A real revolution, especially if you consider that the Republic of San Marino is one of the states with the most prohibitionist cannabis policies in Europe. We will have to wait and monitor the activity of local politicians, who could oppose the path taken by part of parliament.

The new regulation is still far from coming into force, and it is not certain that it will see the light in the terms described so far. Within six months the minister should report to the Council Commission, and only in the case of a favorable opinion could the legalization process begin.

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