Cannabis laws in other European countries – Introduction


Marijuana gains more and more traction every year. Each year, new studies surface proving low social harmfulness. With the increase of studies, marijuana is also proving invaluable in treating certain conditions and diseases.

Marijuana is without a doubt the most popular drug in Europe. According to the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA), 57% of all drug offences in years 2014-2016 are connected to cannabis. Marijuana is also extremely popular amongst young people and adults. According to the studies performed on people in the age group of 15-34, 1/8 people had contact with this compound in the last year alone.

Cannabis laws – terminology

Because of all the expanding knowledge and research, the perception of marijuana amongst the people is changing rapidly in recent years. This trend is seen also amongst legislators, creating new (and changing old) drug laws. There are many different concepts in Europe, concerning how marijuana laws should be created, regulated and upheld. Todays blog is a foundation, introducing the necessary terminology to the reader. The terminology will be essential in later blogs, analysing particular countries and their drug laws and solutions.


Depenalization is the first step in “loosening” drug laws. This means, that a particular substance is still illegal, and its possession is braking the law. With this being said, punishment like incarceration is usually not being used (but there is still a chance to go to court).


Decriminalisation is the next big step. This changes the classification of drug possession from a crime to a misdemeanor. Thanks to this, a case usually doesn’t go to court. In the majority of cases, it ends with a fine given by law enforcement.


Legalization is the last (and most important) step. This move transfers the substance from a list of illicit drugs to the category of legal compounds. Laws usually regulate distribution, consumption, taxes and production.

Cannabis laws – Different models in European countries

Many European countries try to work out their own solutions, regulating the availability and legality of marijuana. Some countries come up with really interesting and unique laws and regulations.

Some countries allow “cannabis clubs” to function. After buying a membership. Every adult is permitted to buy cannabis on the grounds of the club that they are a member of. Other countries allow growing and the possession of small amounts for personal use at home. On the other hand, some countries are really strict and you can get in trouble just for being under the influence of a substance.

In the upcoming blogs, we will take a closer look at different European countries, analysing the laws and how they function. We will try to find out, which ones work really well, and which countries should rethink their drug laws.



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