The speed and scale of cannabis policy change and the potential impact of these policies on public health and safety, has prompted the EMCDDA to publish this report, which outlines key issues related to cannabis legislation, including an overview of current policies and laws at the EU level and in individual Member States. The topic of synthetic cannabinoids, and in particular the rise in illicit marketing and use of these substances, is not addressed here, as it is covered in detail in a forthcoming module of the European Drug Markets Report.
The reader should note that while every effort has been made to ensure that the current report is accurate at the time of its drafting, this a highly dynamic area and it is possible that the situation may have changed by the time the document is released.
While the primary focus of this report is on the use of cannabis for recreational purposes, relevant legislation for other uses is included in order to provide the necessary context for various policy initiatives. Written for a broad audience, the report aims to give brief answers to some of the more frequently asked questions raised in discussions about cannabis legislation. These have been grouped into five parts:
- Why is defining cannabis important?
- What are countries’ international obligations to control cannabis?
- How do EU countries respond to illegal use and supply of cannabis?
- Is there a trend towards cannabis regulation — and if so why?
- What laws cover medical and commercial cannabis-derived products?