ME&EU_featured_10_cannabisShould ‘soft drugs’ like cannabis be legal? On 21 Febuary 2017, a majority of MPs in the Netherlands (77 to 72) arguably took a step in that direction when they backed new legislation to regulate marijuana cultivation under government control. Should other countries now follow their lead?

In theory, the weed business could bring in a decent amount of cash in tax revenue. The average coffeeshop in the Netherlands (where cannabis is decriminalised and taxed, but not technically legal) has an annual revenue of about €1.7 million from weed and hash. Nevertheless, business can be tough. The number of coffeeshops in the Netherlands has been declining over the years, from a high (aha!) of 846 in 1999, to around 582 in 2015.

Nevertheless, besides a potential tax boost, supporters argue that legalising cannabis could also bring about savings in the judicial system. If weed was legal, then less drug dealers and customers would potentially end up in the courts or jails. On the other hand, critics argue that even so-called ‘soft’ drugs can be highly addictive, and some argue that cannabis is linked to mental health issues like schizophrenia and depression.

What do our readers think? We had a comment sent in from Nuno on our ‘Suggest a Debate’ page, arguing that cannabis should be legalised, regulated and taxed. Is he right? Or would that essentially turn the government into a drug dealer?

Should cannabis be legalised across the EU? We asked Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) from all sides of the political spectrum to stake out their positions on this question, and it’s up to YOU to vote for the policies you favour. See what the different MEPs have to say, then vote at the bottom of this debate for the one you most agree with! Take part in the vote below and tell us who you support in the European Parliament!

Radical Left
Fabio de Masi (GUE/NGL), Member of the European Parliament:

Greens
Margrete Auken (Group of the Greens), Member of the European Parliament:

aukenMy party is in favour, I’m a little bit reluctant… But you can say: ‘Is it more dangerous than alcohol’? Probably not. So, I think it should be left to the Member States, and it is still an open discussion with important pros and cons.

Liberal Democrats
Kaja Kallas (ALDE), Member of the European Parliament:

Centre Right
Bendt Bendtsen (EPP), Member of the European Parliament:

Conservatives
Daniel Dalton (ECR), Member of the European Parliament and Vice-Chair of the European Conservatives and Reformists Group:

Eurosceptics

Nigel Farage (EFDD), Member of the European Parliament (NOTE: We contacted EFDD MEPs for comment but they did not reply in time for publication. The below is from an interview with Nigel Farage):

Farage_populismI personally think that the war on drugs was lost many, many years ago and that the lives of millions of people in Britain are being made miserable by the huge criminal element that surrounds the illicit drugs trade and I do think that Portugal does show us that perhaps there is a better, more enlightened way to deal with this… I’m not pro-drugs by the way, as someone with teenage children, and I’ve seen fairly close to hand the damage that drugs can do to young people. So I hate drugs, I’ve never taken them myself, I hope I never do, but I just have a feeling that the criminalisation of all these drugs is actually not really helping British society…

Curious to know more about cannabis laws across Europe? We’ve put together some facts and figures in the infographic below (click for a bigger version).10-ME&EU-Cannabis
IMAGE CREDIT: CC / Flickr – Alexodus


Who do YOU agree with on this issue?

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77 comments Post a commentcomment

What do YOU think?

  1. Bobi Dochev

    NO they shouldn’t!!!
    It can for medical purpose, but only in controlled environment!

  2. Higaara Nakamura

    Yes, without any doubt. Like abortions, it should be available and regulated, but it is not mandatory, so I still not understand the No position.

  3. JD Blaha

    How would it be legalised across the EU – there is no EU mechanism or authority to do this. This question is promoting ignorance about how the EU works (or doesn’t).

  4. Yannick Cornet

    It’s a very benign recreational product. There is no reason to leave the supply (and the profits) to thugs. Christiania in Copenhagen has been struggling with this absurd reality for years, dodging both the government’s harassment on one side and the reality of having to allow organised crime deal with the supply on the other. Legalising would be so much simpler, fairer and better for the whole of society, providing tax revenues (like that of alcohol), better choice and safer product quality, and freeing police resources for more relevant endeavours. Seems like a no-brainer. Then again, I’m also Canadian, and we seem to have made our mind on this lately – funny that Europe is not leading on being progressive this time around.

    • Diaconu George Razvan

      Europe is being held up at gunpoint by populists and conservatorysm , the european version of trump! No progress for Europe in the near future!

  5. Nando Aidos

    Cannabis is just the tip of the iceberg.
    The real question is – what should Europe do with respect to substance abuse? Who should be decriminalized? Who should be criminalized? And what are the social goals to be achieved?
    Once we can answer these questions then we can address cannabis, alcohol, tabacco, opium, crack, and all others.
    The problem is not cannabis.
    The problem is the social goal we are trying to achieve.

    • Nicola Piazzalunga

      I think the best social goal we could have would be to properly make properly scientifically informed citizens and to empower them by letting the choice be free.

  6. George Plaskasovitis

    In my personal opinion, it should be legalised in the near future. First of all, it should be immediately discriminalised in all EU and not kids get arrested like criminals for having or smoking. Then, legalise for medical use, under strict governmental control, but also help farmers who want to go into this business. Finally, for recreational use, it should be under each country’s decision to legalise, but still no one gets arrested if not under medical prescription. A small fine or some mandatory seminars would better. Cannabis has been proven less harmful than alcohol or cigarettes which are legal.

    George P. from Greece

  7. Lucas Benitez

    Like all drugs it should be regulated by the state to eradicate, crime, corruption and mafias.

    • Domenico Galardo

      Governement is the problem not the solution !

  8. Aurelian Sv

    How can you ask a plant to be legalized since it is for free, like the grass near the street.

  9. Heba Elshazly

    Yes, with a clear industrial line and distribution, a suitable working conditions and health insurance and salaries for workers, clear paid taxes , and a supervision as well as awareness !

  10. NZt Limitless

    Cannabis is the ancient “grass of the devil” used by very black and destructive “wannabe” sorcerers,shall we see what happens next!!! :D

  11. Francesco Dondi

    Sadly no, it would just be used by Euroskeptics as example of central imposition.
    Do the minimum well to ensure a shared prosperity, and let everything else to lower level.

  12. Maria Diakoumi

    HELL NO…,WHAT ALL THESE BIG PHARMACY COMPANIES ARE GONNA DO ?TURN INTO THIEVES?PLEASE STOP SPREADING THESE NONSENCE , AND DO IT FOR OUR CHILDREN AT BAYERN INC…!

  13. Y a r i

    Of course it should be legalised, and the debate about this topic should be moved to something more appropriate to these times, like “What are the social reasons why it was stigmatised and delegalised in the first place?”

  14. EU Reform- Proactive

    OMG- what else? None of the (EU) politicians is clear and definite about it.

    It may be due to their limited experience or the incentive as law makers to create additional tax revenue to fund a bloated bureaucracy, increase the general public’s risk profile, “dimming” them down & sacrifice a still somewhat sober society. Who would benefit?

    Enough damage done already due to political silliness! An example of others & a recreational lust by some, should not be a reason to subject the majority.

    Surely, nobody would object using it as a medicinal prescription drug which is professionally supervised & covered by medical aid. Why risk increasing a zombie culture- which is increasingly done by industrial pharmaceuticals & by some doctors over prescribing certain drugs?

    If still unsure, invite all 751 EP members plus the JCJ Commission on a “cannabis smoking experiment” for a few month- (smokers & non smokers) and evaluate the outcome. On one condition: they must comprehensively take out & pay for personal insurance in their name for their car, health and all third party risk. Afterwards, let’s discuss this matter again.

  15. Christopher Manusk

    It should just be legal everywhere. People are going to do it regardless of it being legal or illegal anyway.

  16. Aleksandrs Frederiks Znovs

    Of course!!! Who is still has doubts?! :D Less crimes, less rapes, less robbery, less diseases. More fun, more kindness, more happiness, more smiles.

    • Matthew

      Why not? There’s not really much harm it can actually do.

    • EU Reform- Proactive

      Matthew, really? Just ONE small example:

      Imagine some parents (are you a parent yet?) have some 14- 18 year old “children” (the most “difficult age” group). Some silly politicians declare & promote 16 year old’s as political “mature” enough to vote.

      Those 16 year old ones want listen & respect their parents anymore (should they wish to explain, advise & forbid them do stay away from such “Russian roulette” games)- but will support the political silliness instead! They are just so cool & progressive! A breakdown in trust & discipline within a family=society could be just ONE consequence!

      However, nobody (from the “authorities”) would likely stop you acting silly, should it remain illegal- caught or not- except a caring parent! Imagine a government is being sued in a class action in future for “destroying” their youth- by abandoning some of their important overall responsibilities- “to protect”?

      Politician and children alike do not care about the overall well being & fabric of a healthy society anymore= protection of the collective majority. Instead, the state sets an example to embark on a self centered & egoistic suicidal mission- serving mainly their narrow agenda of gaining popular favor & votes.

  17. Sue R

    Certainly legalise it for medicine. The big pharmas won’t like it though…..
    Maybe if it was legalised for recreational use, the over-strong rubbish known as skunk might disappear too.
    Aspirin originated from a plant. Morphine comes from a plant. It’s a natural medicine.

  18. danae.mairh

    From our point of view, canabis should be legalised in EU because it could be used in pharmacy. Also it is legal in the Netherlands and why not be legal in other Eu countries. Last but not least, for those who support that canabis is dangerous it will be used solely by poeple who are over 21 and besides that everyone is responsible for their actions and the consequences they have on them, so it could be used wisely and with responsibility.

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