Cannabis in EuropeStef
In recent years, cannabis use has exploded and has grown in popularity. Weed tourism is still very high in Amsterdam, but given the current developments, the question arises: for how long? More and more European countries seem to be finally taking steps in the right direction in terms of legalizing cannabis. For the real stoners who also want to smoke weed without any problems and without worries when they go away for a weekend or a week on a city trip, we discuss the current situation regarding the use of weed in various European countries.
It goes without saying to kick off the list of the cannabis paradise of Europe, and until recently maybe even the world. Since on the other side of the pond they are much further ahead in the field of legislation in several American states than the Netherlands, the cannabis culture in these states has become more prominent than the Amsterdam and Dutch culture. Yet weed has been enjoyed legally for more than 50 years and hasj in the characteristic Dutch coffee shops. This is a place that functions not only as a point of sale, but also as a social space where like-minded people can smoke weed together.
Within Europe, Spain is probably the most progressive country in terms of cannabis law. Weed has been legalized in Spain for both medicinal and recreational use, with the result that the trade there is now getting off to a good start. In Spain they don't have coffee shops like in the Netherlands, but here they do it with cannabis clubs. Barcelona, in particular, has a vibrant cannabis culture, with as many as 400 different cannabis clubs. In addition, Spain hosts the largest annual cannabis event called Spannabis. Cannabis clubs operate just like coffeeshops in a gray area, but there is a fundamental difference where the weed comes from. Cannabis clubs in Spain are allowed to grow their own weed, which may only be sold to their members. As a tourist it is possible for a small fee to become a member of a cannabis club and thus legally purchase weed or hasj to come.
Germany is not immediately recommended if you want to be a stoner every day during your European trip. Although it is possible to obtain marijuana legally, albeit with a prescription for medicinal cannabis, recreational use of marijuana is seen as harmful. The legislation is therefore a lot less flexible than in the Netherlands or Spain, and unfortunately there are no social places where you can enjoy your favorite strain, apart from in the private sphere.
In 2001, Portugal was the first country to decriminalize personal drug use. This meant that it was still not legal to use cannabis smoking, but that you can no longer be arrested for it and must serve a sentence. Other European countries such as the Czech Republic, Italy, Poland and Switzerland followed Portugal's lead at a slow pace.
Although we are still a long way from uniform European legislation on cannabis, there is an encouraging trend. The decriminalization of personal cannabis possession is a step in the right direction, but at the same time it is far from complete legalization. It is now a question of how long before cannabis can be sold and used legally throughout Europe. Before that time, we had it not so bad here in the Netherlands.