Twenty-One of 27 European Union Countries Legalized Medical Cannabis, Report Highlights

Biortica Agrimed released an assessment of the state of medical cannabis and decriminalization laws in the EU.
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Medical cannabis is taking over Europe, as well as efforts to decriminalize cannabis in numerous countries and at local levels. In a pattern similar to what took place in the U.S., European nations are legalizing cannabis for medical or recreational purposes in a patchwork of new laws.

According to a May 16 press release from Victoria, Australia-based Biortica Agrimed, 21 out of 27 member states of the European Union (EU) legalized medical cannabis.

“The EU situation with respect to legalisation can best be described as fluid, but evolving positively,“ said Tom Varga, CEO of Biortica Agrimed. Biortica Agrimed is a vertically-integrated B2B company  preparing to list on the Australian Securities Exchange with an IPO.

The 27 EU countries are Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden.

Out of those, 21 countries—Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, and Spain—implemented laws to allow for the medical use of cannabis.

Out of those countries, the potential market in Germany is among the most exciting and where investors are circling the most at the current moment.

“Whilst EU law prohibits the commercial sale of cannabis, many countries are taking a more mature approach, and legalising, initially medicinal, and ultimately personal use, with Germany in the lead. 21 out of the 27 EU member states have legalised use of medicinal cannabis,” he said, “and 13 countries have either legalised or decriminalised its personal use.”

Countries like Spain have decriminalized cannabis, while Georgia, Germany, Luxembourg, and Malta have taken steps to legalize adult-use. Countries like Portugal have gone even further by decriminalizing all drugs. Dozens more cities in the EU decriminalized cannabis at the city level.

Part of the purpose of Biortica Agrimed’s report is to support the argument that it’s due time Australia takes note of the potential Down Under. Australia legalized medical marijuana in 2016. According to Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) data, the number of patient approvals for medical cannabis increased sharply. In Australia, doctors can prescribe medicinal cannabis with the approval from the TGA and the relevant State or Territory’s Health Department.

“The EU comprises world class nations, and Australia should take any learnings that we can from the EU.” he said, “We have the benefit, and indeed the privilege, to view how legislative frameworks have been built over-seas, what’s worked and working, and what the Australian industry and legislators should avoid. Australia really can do better.”

“We look forward to continuing to share our global industry research with the Australian industry, our legislators and regulators, to build an industry that we can all be proud of, an industry that puts patient care, safety and outcomes to the fore, ” said Varga.

Cannabis Prevalence in Europe

Cannabis remains the most popular substance used in Europe according to the most recent counts by European data monitors.

The European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction’s (EMCDDA) report, entitled “Cannabis—the current situation in Europe (European Drug Report 2023),” describes cannabis as “by far the most commonly consumed illicit drug in Europe.”

The report cites national surveys which show that 8% of European adults (out of approximately 22.6 million people between 15 and 64 years of age) have used cannabis within the last year. An estimated 1.3% of adults (approximately 3.7 million people) are described as “daily” or “almost daily” consumers.

With the popularity of cannabis continuing to grow, the report notes that this often leads to consumer “problems.” “There remains, however, a need to understand better the kinds of problems experienced by cannabis users, as well as the referral pathways and treatment options available for those with cannabis-related problems,” the report stated.

Germany’s legislation to legalize cannabis took effect on April 1. German lawmakers gave final approval to a recreational weed legalization plan known as CanG recently, making the country the largest in Europe to take the step.

In the German capital of Berlin, cannabis smokers gathered at the iconic Brandenberg Gate to smoke weed and celebrate their new freedoms. Other events were held throughout Europe’s most populous country, including one in front of the Cologne cathedral and others in the cities of Hamburg, Regensburg, and Dortmund.

The patchwork of laws unfolding in the EU show how medical and adult-use cannabis are popular on a global scale, and what Australia could learn from European countries.

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