Saturday

16th Oct 2021

Danes lead EU cannabis league

  • The drug has been widely used in Europe for over 100 years (Photo: Wikipedia)

Young adults in Denmark smoke the most marijuana in the EU, but the drug is cheapest in Spain and the most potent in the Netherlands, according to an encyclopaedic new study by the Lisbon-based EMCDDA.

Some 50 percent of Danes aged 15 to 34 have tried the drug at some point in their lives, compared to the European average of 30 percent, the report by the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction says.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

Levels also stand high at around 40 percent in France, Spain, the UK and the Czech Republic but bottom out at under 10 percent in Cyprus, Bulgaria, Malta and Romania (3%). Canada is the global leader on 58.6 percent with the US on 49 percent.

A gram of herbal cannabis costs around €1.40 in Spain but €21.50 in Norway, with most countries "retailing" the illegal drug in the €5-to-€11 range, and with prices having stabilised or fallen across Europe since 1996.

The highest concentration of of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) - the active ingredient in cannabis - tends to be in the Netherlands at over 20 percent content while Portugal and Italy scrape the bottom of the THC table at less than three percent.

The 700-page survey explores the use of cannabis in Europe from the early 19th century, when medical treatises such as the 1839 Irish text "On the Preparations of the Indian Hemp or Gunjah" first popularised the drug.

It notes that while THC can be used to treat convulsive disorders such as spasticity, it can also lead to infant disorders when smoked by pregnant women and aggravate the onset on schizophrenia in teenagers.

The EMCDDA paints a picture of a divergent regulatory landscape in the EU, with decriminalisation trends in Portugal and Luxembourg but toughening measures in Denmark, Italy and the Netherlands.

"Over 13 million Europeans have consumed it in the past month. Globally, nearly 50,000 tonnes of cannabis herb or resin are produced for consumption every year," the survey says. "Little wonder, then, that cannabis has become a controversial cultural phenomenon."

Opinion

Luxembourg's cannabis legalisation is EU opportunity

Luxembourg will be the first European country to legally regulate the production, sale and consumption of cannabis (the Netherlands has a policy of de facto regulation of sale and consumption only), with all the implications this holds.

Medical cannabis makes small steps in EU

As of January 1, 2018 Denmark now permits the use of medical cannabis for patients suffering from various illnesses. But a stigma still lingers against the use of the plant-based drug as a medicine across Europe.

MEPs call for workers to have 'right to disconnect'

MEPs called for a new law guaranteeing workers can 'disconnect' outside work hours, without repercussion. But they also passed a last-minute amendment, calling on the commission to delay any legislation for three years.

News in Brief

  1. Poland legalises refugee pushbacks
  2. Report: China's Xi to snub UK climate summit
  3. Norway killings 'appeared to be' Islamist 'terrorism'
  4. Le Pen vows to 'dismantle' wind-power plants
  5. Slovenia PM tweets antisemitic conspiracy theory
  6. Italy sentences ship captain for Libya pushback
  7. Polish PM and von der Leyen to clash in Brussels next week
  8. MEPs call for improved roaming rules

Opinion

Sweden's non-lockdown didn't work - why not?

The Swedish king would have been better advised to use his annual Christmas interview to call for unity of purpose and shed light on the political roots of the country's response.

Column

BioNTech: Stop talking about their 'migration background'

I understand that the German-Turkish community - often subjected to condescension in Germany - celebrated the story. Uğur Şahin and Özlem Türecki represent scientific excellence and business success at the highest level.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNew report reveals bad environmental habits
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersImproving the integration of young refugees
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNATO Secretary General guest at the Session of the Nordic Council
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCan you love whoever you want in care homes?
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNineteen demands by Nordic young people to save biodiversity
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersSustainable public procurement is an effective way to achieve global goals

Latest News

  1. MEPs urge Sassoli to sue EU Commission on rule of law
  2. MEPs seek EU law on bogus anti-media litigation
  3. Africa seeks EU help on global vaccine-waiver
  4. Giant of 20th century European design recognised by EU
  5. Italy on edge as neo-fascists stir violence
  6. Gas-price spike will backfire on industry, energy guru says
  7. Scientists raise alarm on Greenland's ice-sheet loss
  8. EU calls for ban on Arctic oil and gas drilling

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us