It is essential to know about European cannabis regulations and the “dos and don'ts.” Understanding the law can help make traveling trouble-free and more enjoyable!
Smoking cannabis is not authorized in most European countries, even for medical purposes. Still, you may enjoy recreational smoking in countries like the Netherlands and Spain in their coffee shops or social clubs.
In this article, we will provide a detailed answer for all European cannabis policies. If you want more details about Europe and cannabis, keep reading!
Europe’s Cannabis Policy
Although international treaties require countries to enact criminal penalties for non-medical drug delivery, some jurisdictions make exceptions.
Since the 1970s, the Netherlands has had an illegal but permitted cannabis supply system.
In 1996, California voters approved medical cannabis to relieve various symptoms, including the aid of occasional aches and pains.
Since there is no reliable test for pain to know whether you’ re eligible to smoke cannabis for medical purposes, legal smokable cannabis became a formality for the general public.
After the late 1990s, decriminalization and harm reduction measures in Europe have had a smaller negative effect than expected.
For instance, there has been a decrease in heroin use among students.
Moreover, law enforcement budgets were slashed as a result of the 2008 economic downturn.
The Uruguayan government passed a law to create a supply system for European pharmacies and social clubs the following year.
Since then, more states in the United States have also legalized cannabis.
Can You Travel In Europe With CBD?
Yes, you can travel to Europe with CBD in most cases, provided that your product contains less than 0.2% according to DriftWood Journals.
The concentration of THC depends on countries, but 0.2% is the lowest requirement among EU countries.
In 2013, the European Parliament voted to legalize cannabis.
Growing and selling hemp and its byproducts has been legal in EU member states since then.
The majority of commercially available CBD is derived from hemp, but the primary goal for hemp legalization in 2013 was to support the textile industries in various EU member countries.
When it comes to nations, it's worth noting that countries are not obligated to follow the EU's hemp decisions.
Sweden, for example, only legalized hemp many years after the European Parliament did.
Consumers in the Netherlands can still import hemp byproducts and hemp, but producing CBD within the country's borders is still technically illegal.
Moreover, only people with a prescription can purchase or possess cannabis in Norway.
However, Belarus has outright declared CBD illegal.
At the end of the day, when it comes to CBD in Europe, it's best to avoid taking it with you on your journey.
Remove the risk by purchasing CBD from local stores when you arrive, which is better, more convenient, and possibly cheaper.
The Netherlands And Cannabis
Coffeeshops, which first appeared in the Netherlands in the 1970s, are places for sale and often on-site consumption of cannabis.
They need a municipality license, but approximately two-thirds of Dutch municipalities do not permit them.
In 2014, there were 591 coffee shops in the Netherlands, with nearly a third in Amsterdam.
Besides, the number of coffee shops has been decreasing since 2000.
Under Dutch law, selling and personal possession is punishable by incarceration, but coffee shops are tolerated if they obey strict guidelines set out in a public prosecutor's directive.
However, there is no tolerance for stock production, resulting in a legal anomaly known as the "back door crisis" in the Netherlands.
According to the Netherland government website, coffee shop owners are expected to verify that all customers admitted and permitted to buy cannabis are Dutch residents aged 18 or older.
They can verify these details, for example, by demanding that the individual produce a valid identification document, a valid residence permit, or a copy of the municipal population register.
Amsterdam And Tourists (Ban Of Tourists From Coffee Shops)
Although there are several benefits of cannabis legalization, the city of Amsterdam is considering prohibiting foreign visitors from purchasing cannabis legally in coffee shops.
According to EuroWeekly News, only Dutch citizens with a passport would be permitted to access the 166 coffee shops in Amsterdam, which would be in line with the rest of the country.
In a letter to city councillors, the mayor of Amsterdam, Femke Halsema, stated that several young adults visit Amsterdam only coffee shopsnly.
Almost a third of the Netherlands' coffee shops are in Amsterdam, which Halsema describes as a "huge incentive for international visitors'' who "also cause inconvenience to locals."
The idea behind this ban is to make cannabis exclusively available to its residents.
However, the ban is expected to begin no sooner than in 2022.
Thus, you still have time to get cannabis in Amsterdam.
Locals and visitors alike can relax in Amsterdam coffeeshops, which have a laid-back feel.
All cannabis products they sell should be consumed within the coffee shop's walls rather than purchased in bulk and processed for later use.
Buying Cannabis In Europe
It is a tricky affair to buy cannabis in Europe due to the different laws in different countries.
According to the European Monitoring Centre, buying cannabis in Europe is quite hard, considering that most countries have not officially authorized cannabis smoking for medical purposes.
Also, the penalties for unauthorized cannabis use or possession vary considerably.
Yet, it is still possible to buy cannabis from a coffee shop in the Netherlands since the new law will be applied only in 2022.
For most casual consumers, social clubs may also fulfill your desires to buy cannabis.
Other than Amsterdam, these social clubs are also available in Spain.
In fact, Barcelona is now being considered a big player for cannabis across Europe, and it is set to take Amsterdam’s place at the top.
In Barcelona, numerous clubs charge a fee and require membership to get cannabis, but it is all legal!
Other cities like Paris and Berlin, known for being quite liberal and tolerant about any enjoyment, have still declared the recreational use of cannabis illegal.
Yet, Berlin accepts the medical use of cannabis for a limited number of medical conditions only.
However, in such situations, black markets thrive but buying from street dealers involves a risk of getting caught and potentially facing severe legal charges.
About the author: Joe Powers
After an incident in the military, in 2011, Joe Powers began investigating cannabis by talking with industry leaders. In 2016, Joe launched Hemp Writer with its first publication in clarifying disinformation on specific updates to certain federal CBD laws.
Upon calling out a leading cannabis law firm spreading dis-info, Hemp Writer established itself as an authority in clarifying updated information emerging from the cannabis industry. Joe continues charging forwards with increasing momentum to continue fulfilling his vision of SHARING ACCURATE CANNABIS INFORMATION.