Yo, what’s good? My name is Dan, and I’m here to give you the lowdown on the cannabis laws in the European Union. Depending on where you are, the laws regarding planting, shipping, and selling weed can be different. It all comes down to culture, general approach, and other factors. So, let’s take a look at the new legal status of weed across Europe to keep you in the loop.
Now, some countries have decriminalized personal use of weed. Basically, this means that if you’re caught with a small amount for personal use, you might just get a warning or a small fine instead of getting thrown in jail. But if you’re caught planting, selling, or transporting weed, well then you’re in for some trouble. Let me break it down for ya.
When it comes to weed and other drugs, there are different terms being thrown around like “depenalization,” “decriminalization,” and “legalization.” Let me explain what’s what.
Depenalization means that weed is still illegal, but instead of jail time, offenders may have to do community service or pay a fine.
Decriminalization means that an offense is reclassified from criminal to non-criminal. It’s still an offense though, and you might get punished by the police or other agencies instead of going to court.
Legalization means that weed is no longer prohibited and all legal prohibitions against it are removed.
Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s talk about the culture of weed in Europe versus America.
So, Colorado in the US is leading the way with modern cannabis legalization. But what’s ironic is that Denver – one of the top spots for smoking up – is also one of the sketchiest places on earth to light up a joint. Ain’t that something?
In the US, both recreational and medicinal marijuana are legal. But there are some restrictions – no on-premises use outside of legal dispensaries and no smoking or vaping at most resorts in Colorado.
But not all European countries have embraced weed like the US has. However, if you’re looking for a place to enjoy weed socially, Europe is where it’s at.
There are some European countries where only medical cannabis is allowed. Take the UK for example – cannabis use is illegal there but individuals carrying personal amounts might just get a small fine or warning. Carrying large amounts or selling, planting, or transporting weed can mean years in prison though. However, products containing CBD or cannabinoids with less than 0.2% THC concentration are legal for medicinal purposes.
In Germany, patients with severe illnesses who have tried all other treatment methods may be prescribed medical cannabis since 2017. In Greece, medical cannabis was legalized in 2017 but it’s not yet operational as of April 2019. Denmark has a four-year test program that offers patients access to legal medical cannabis since January 2018.
Finland has legalized medical cannabis since 2008 but claims are on a case-by-case basis and few patients actually get access to it.
Then there are some countries where cannabis is medically legal, decriminalized or usually overlooked. France legalized medicinal products from marijuana plant derivatives back in 2013 and reduced punishment for possessing cannabis without a prescription from a criminal charge to a €200 fine as of November 2018. Italy has legalized cannabis cultivation for personal use lately and non-medical use is decriminalized for products containing less than 0.6% THC.
The Netherlands has allowed possession of fewer than five grams for personal use since 1976 and Dutch coffee shops have sold marijuana and cannabis-infused products for recreational use since then too.
Spain decriminalized consuming cannabis in private spaces in 2015 but medical cannabis is only legal in one district – Catalonia – where high-CBD products without THC content are used.
Medical cannabis is legal in Switzerland but only one product – Sativex – is available by prescription. Possession of 10 grams or less may result in a small fine instead of criminal charges since 2012.
Finally, there are some European countries where there’s almost zero tolerance for weed like Albania, Hungary, Russia, Ukraine, Iceland, Kosovo, Monaco, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Serbia, Sweden, and Vatican City.
CBD is legal almost everywhere in Europe except for some exemptions as it’s regarded as a novel food by the European Union. The laws around CBD are strict though so watch out.
So that’s it folks – a rundown of weed laws across Europe!