Two years ago, a report from the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), stated that drug use, when not injuring others, should not be illegal in the EU.
While there are 35 million people in Canada and 325 million in the United States, the European Union is home to almost 510 million. Having just legalized medicinal cannabis in January, Germany is another growing market, with over 80 million people. The same goes for Greece and Macedonia, too, which also has a medical cannabis program that is taking off. That’s why the European markets are becoming increasingly important to the cannabis sector.
The second edition of the European Cannabis Report – produced by London-based advisory group Prohibition Partners – suggests that with 12% of the continent’s 739 million people being either “irregular and intensive” cannabis consumers, Europe’s annual:
- Overall marijuana market will reach 56.2 billion euros
- Potential medical marijuana market will hit 35.7 billion euros
- Potential recreational market value will reach 20.5 billion euros
- Estimated hemp market will hit 48.9 million euros
On January 19th, 2017, Germany’s parliament (Bundestag) passed a law that officially makes cannabis legal for medicinal purposes, allowing for severely ill German patients to receive prescriptions for medical cannabis treatment. This amendment became effective from March 2017, allowing people with qualifying conditions to legally obtain medical cannabis from pharmacies with a doctor’s prescription.
Medical and rec markets are estimated as $14.7 billion euros, or about 26% of the continent’s medical and rec markets.
Cannabis in Greece
Since 2017 medical use of cannabis has been legalized, although the law hasn’t been implemented yet.
Cannabis in Macedonia
In February 2016, Macedonia legalized medicinal cannabis. The law covers the production of cannabis by legal entities which then supply it to companies producing cannabis-based medicines in Macedonia.
Cannabis in Malta
On the 15 January 2018 a Bill for the Production of Cannabis for Medicinal Use was introduced to permit the local industrial production of cannabis products for medical use in the context of a controlled and supervised environment. The amendments to the Drug Dependence Act were enacted on 23rd March by Maltese parliament after its third and final reading.
Cannabis in Spain
A network of cannabis clubs has sprung up across Barcelona, Valencia and the Basque Country, providing a venue for cannabis smokers to gather together and smoke, without fear of arrest or confiscation. The clubs are allowed to grow and distribute marijuana among their members, who are, in turn, required to pay for the upkeep of the club and the cost of growing the cannabis.
These new clubs owe their sudden emergence to a legal loophole, which allows cannabis to be grown privately for personal use, and the widespread tolerance of ‘shared consumption.’ As long as the clubs maintain a strict membership system, and restrict each member to a specific allocation, there is currently no law against this form of assembly.
According to some estimates, the number of clubs in Spain has jumped from 40 in 2010 to 700 today.
Cannabis in Italy
in January 2016, Italian lawmakers officially decriminalized a number of minor crimes, the most important of which had to do with medical cannabis cultivation and cannabis research.
In 2015, cannabis advocates proposed wide-scale decriminalization, with legalization of private use and cultivation, as well as supporting a club system similar to Spain’s. The terms of that proposal suggested that “people over the age of 18 could cultivate up to five plants at home and growers could set up social clubs involving a maximum of 50 people and 250 plants,” according to Italian news sources.
Cannabis in Czech Republic
In 2013, the Czech Republic legalized medical cannabis, the Huffington Post reported. Cannabis is imported and grown by local firms, but patient are not allowed to grow it at home.
Cannabis in Croatia
As of 15 October 2015, the Croatian Ministry of Health has officially legalized the use of cannabis-based drugs for medical purposes for patients with illnesses such as cancer, multiple sclerosis or AIDS.
Cannabis in Romania
In October 2013, the Eastern European country of Romania legalized medical cannabis derivatives, according to the Huffington Post. The law allows for people to have products that contain cannabis compounds rather than the green itself.
Cannabis in France
A similar law went into effect in June 2013 in France, where prescription-based products containing cannabis derivatives became legal, according to the Local.
Cannabis in Portugal
In 2001, Portugal became the first E.U. member to decriminalize personal use of cannabis, although cultivation is still criminal even if the crop is intended for personal use. Sale, too, remains illegal.
Cannabis in Denmark
As of January 1st, 2018, Denmark has initiated a four-year medical cannabis pilot program. It’s guidelines are laid out in the act of medical cannabis pilot program, which allows companies to apply for admission of cannabis products at the Danish Medicines Agency.
Cannabis in Poland
Under new regulations that came into force on November 1st, 2017 cannabis from imported plants can be processed at Polish pharmacies – as long as it has been logged with the country’s Office for Registration of Medical Products.
The new bill will not allow adult use of cannabis; rather, patients must receive permission to use medical cannabis from a regional pharmaceutical inspector, along with a medical authorization from a physician. The qualifying conditions eligible for medical cannabis include chronic pain, chemotherapy-induced nausea, multiple sclerosis, spasticity, and treatment-resistant epilepsy. Cannabis will only be available through registered pharmacies, and the medicine must first be filed with the Office for Registration of Medicinal Products.
With 15,000 registered pharmacies in Poland, nearly 90% will be authorized to distribute cannabis, and the Polish Pharmaceutical Chamber anticipates that up to 300,000 patients could qualify for medical marijuana treatment.