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European Legalization Will Look Different Than Reformed Policies In North America

European Legalization Will Look Different Than Reformed Policies In North America

cannabis world news international laws

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Europe is the most exciting place for cannabis policy reform right now, with several countries actively pursuing adult-use legalization efforts. Many countries in Europe already have thriving medical cannabis programs, and adult-use reform is the logical next frontier for the continent’s policy modernization endeavors.

Malta was the first European nation to pass a national adult-use legalization measure involving cannabis that is not limited to varieties that are low in THC. Several countries have legalized low-THC cannabis, or ‘cannabis light’ as it is often referred to in Europe. However, low-THC policies are far less comprehensive than what is now in place in Malta, where adults can cultivate cannabis, possess it, and consume it regardless of how much THC the cannabis contains. That is in addition to being able to join a noncommercial cannabis club from which to source higher-THC products legally.

Luxembourg has also passed and implemented a national adult-use cannabis legalization measure, although Luxembourg’s legalization model is far more restrictive compared to Malta’s. Noncommercial cannabis clubs are still prohibited in Luxembourg, and the possession limit is considerably lower in Luxembourg (3 grams) versus in Malta (7 grams away from home and 50 grams at home).

Cannabis legalization on the European continent looks much different than it does in North America. Canada legalized adult-use cannabis nationwide in 2018 and has implemented a robust, regulated cannabis industry. Consumers of legal age have a wide variety of options from which to source their legal adult-use cannabis products, including ordering cannabis through the mail, via delivery, and, in some areas, cannabis clubs.

Nearly half of the states in the U.S. have passed adult-use cannabis legalization measures, and it’s no secret that the industry is experiencing exponential growth in many of those states. Each state in the U.S. has different industry provisions and models, and cannabis remains prohibited at the federal level. However, consumers still have far more options in many U.S. states than in Malta and Luxembourg.

cannabis world news international law

While Luxembourg and Malta were the first to legalize cannabis for adult use in Europe, they will not be the last, and neither country represents the scope and type of legalization that will eventually spread across the European continent in the coming years. Germany’s legalization model is likelier to become ‘the European model.’

Germany’s legalization model is expected to be rolled out in multiple phases. The first phase, or ‘pillar’ as it is sometimes referred to, involves the legalization of personal cannabis cultivation, possession, and consumption, as well as the launch of noncommercial cannabis clubs. The number of cannabis clubs in Germany will no doubt surpass the number of such clubs in Malta several times over.

The second phase/pillar of German legalization will involve launching regional cannabis commerce pilot projects. Such projects already exist in a limited number of markets in Switzerland. Yet, whereas the pilots in Switzerland are limited to a very low number of participants, what is expected in Germany will involve much larger enrollment numbers, in addition to being found in far more markets throughout the country.

Regional adult-use cannabis commerce pilot projects are based on the concept that if governments permit limited commerce at a local level, they will be better suited when crafting national laws, rules, and regulations. Adult-use cannabis commerce pilot programs are also in line with European Union agreements, which currently hinder legalization models and are largely the reason why legalization in Europe will be different than it is in the United States, at least for now.

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The European Union currently prohibits nationwide adult-use commerce within its member countries. However, it does allow member nations to conduct public policy experiments for research purposes, such as regional pilot programs. The European Union also allows members to pursue national public health strategies to boost public health outcomes, and that is the underlying premise behind legalizing cannabis cultivation, possession, and noncommercial cannabis clubs on the continent. When members of society consume regulated products, it reduces the chances of the public consuming toxic contaminants often found in unregulated cannabis.

Eventually, reforms at the European Union level will be achieved. Opponents will continue to cling to prohibition in the interim, but the writing is on the wall for prohibition. It is a failed public policy, and just as sensible adult-use reform has spread in the United States, so too will it spread across Europe. It is no longer a question of if and now a question of when.

This topic, along with many other important topics, will be discussed at our European International Cannabis Business Conference events, including the world’s largest superconference in Barcelona in March, the Talman Global Investment Forum in Berlin in April, Europe’s largest and longest-running cannabis B2B event in Berlin that is also in April, and our science and technology conference in Slovenia. Go to Internationalcbc.com to find out more.

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