Thursday

8th Dec 2016

Marijuana should stay illegal, young Europeans say

  • Cannabis should stay illegal, most young Europeans have told a Eurobarometer survey (Photo: "it was 3 a.m.")

A narrow majority of Europe’s youth would ban cannabis, according to new research published by Eurobarometer.

Opinion was divided on whether cannabis should be banned. Forty five percent believed that it should be regulated, while 53 percent felt it should be banned. Meanwhile, more than 90 percent of respondents added that hard drugs such as heroin, cocaine and ecstasy should be illegal.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

Eurobarometer interviewed more than 13,000 15-24 year olds across the bloc in June for the survey, which was released on Thursday (21 August). It focused on levels of drug use, perceived risk of certain substances, as well as opinions on regulating drugs and dealing with drug problems in society.

Although a majority called for tougher action against drug dealers and traffickers, they were divided on whether drug users should be punished or receive more medical treatment.

One in three stated that treatment and rehabilitation should be offered to users, while one in four called for tougher sanctions including jail-terms.

Possession and distribution of cannabis and other drugs is illegal across the EU, although most national authorities turn a blind eye toward possession and personal use of small amounts.

More than two thirds of young Europeans surveyed claimed never to have smoked cannabis. Just 31 percent of respondents admitted to having used the drug, while less than one in five said they had used cannabis in the past year.

Youngsters in France, the Czech Republic and Ireland appear to be Europe’s most likely marijuana smokers – more than 40 percent of respondents in all three countries had used cannabis, while one in six in Ireland said they had smoked it in the past month.

For their part, fewer than one in 10 Maltese, Romanian, and Cypriots said they had tried cannabis.

Meanwhile, the use of so-called legal highs – new substances which imitate the effects of illicit drugs - hit 8 percent, up from 5 percent in a similar survey conducted in 2011. Twenty two percent of respondents in Ireland said they had tried new ‘legal highs’.

The EU has little competence over drug policy, with national governments solely responsible for how they classify substances.

However, the European Commission has taken aim at legal highs, tabling plans last September aimed at making it easier to detect and ban the new drugs.

The legislation, which will need the approval of MEPs and governments, seeks to cut the time needed to ban a substance under current procedures from two years to 10 months. Seventy three new substances were identified by EU governments in 2012, up from 24 in 2009.

Three in 10 people surveyed said that they had not received any information about legal highs over the past 12 months.

Data collected by the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction suggests that drug-taking and alcohol abuse starts during school years.

The Centre estimates that one in five 15-16 year olds have used drugs, with lower rates in Europe’s south-eastern and Nordic countries.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Swedish EnterprisesMEPs and Business Representatives Debated on the Future of the EU at the Winter Mingle
  2. ACCASets Out Fifty Key Factors in the Public Sector Accountants Need to Prepare for
  3. UNICEFSchool “as Vital as Food and Medicine” for Children Caught up in Conflict
  4. European Jewish CongressEJC President Breathes Sigh of Relief Over Result of Austrian Presidential Election
  5. CESICongress Re-elects Klaus Heeger & Romain Wolff as Secretary General & President
  6. European Gaming & Betting AssociationAustrian Association for Betting and Gambling Joins EGBA
  7. ACCAWomen of Europe Awards: Celebrating the Women who are Building Europe
  8. European Heart NetworkWhat About our Kids? Protect Children From Unhealthy Food and Drink Marketing
  9. ECR GroupRestoring Trust and Confidence in the European Parliament
  10. UNICEFChild Rights Agencies Call on EU to put Refugee and Migrant Children First
  11. MIRAIA New Vision on Clean Tech: Balancing Energy Efficiency, Climate Change and Costs
  12. World VisionChildren Cannot Wait! 7 Priority Actions to Protect all Refugee and Migrant Children

Latest News

  1. No joke: Russian propaganda poses EU threat
  2. ECB reshapes its bond-buying scheme
  3. Digital content directive threatens app development sector
  4. EU says Greece fit to take back migrants
  5. MEPs back plan to 'revitalise' complex financial products
  6. EU offers Denmark backdoor to Europol
  7. EU nationals fighting for IS drop by half
  8. EU targets Germany and UK for not fining VW's emissions fraud