Napoleon’s invasion into the Egypt in the late 1700s indirectly opened a can of worms which would be instrumental in shaping history as we know it, and particularly with regards to the use of marijuana in Europe. While Napoleon’s interests were intended for the advancing of commercial interests and trade for the 19th century France, the troops which he led had something else in mind. In dire search for recreation, the French troops were introduced to hashish, a derivative of cannabis, now that the widely Islamic Egyptian society prohibited alcohol and other intoxicants. And word spread back in France, gradually seeping into Europe. As it should have been expected, the drug was remarkably well received. Here are some approaches European societies have had for marijuana and its collective use:
Installation of Prohibitive laws
While the spread of marijuana use increased rapidly in European countries, governments began to put in place laws that clamped down the supply and distribution of marijuana. And while it inevitably came to pass that limitation was a practically ineffective solution, criminalization of handling of any manner of the drug was instituted. Prohibitions in the early 1900s were placed along racial lines. Hence African and workers of Asiatic descent were prohibited against the use of the drug.
In recent legislative measures, prohibition is done moderately, with some European Union member states allowing marijuana with THC content lower than 0.2%.
In countries such as Italy and Portugal, the criminal penalty for the use of the drug is proportioned only to the harm caused to the victims of peddling.
With the proliferation of research and scientific studies being performed around the subject of marijuana, it is being discovered that marijuana can have significant therapeutic utility for diseases like Alzheimer’s, Crohn’s disease and eating disorders. As such, nations and territories in Europe have bowed to the predominance of these studies and countries like the United Kingdom have legalized medical marijuana as recent as 2018.
European Marijuana Market and Public Reception
The mass propagandization of the ills of marijuana have caused many Europeans to remain complete opponents of the drug legalization. Even then, in recent statistics, UK emerged as the leading producer and exporter of medical marijuana. Modelled statistics assert that marijuana markets will grow over 29% from the years 2020-2027. Many European countries are experiencing legislative transformations around the subject of weed legalization and sale. Incredible as it may be, the French, which ironically has the toughest anti-cannabis laws in all Europe, have began consultation in the direction of legalization of marijuana.
It is visible from these examples that there have been significant fluctuations in the reception of marijuana, recreational or medical. However, it goes without a say that legalizing marijuana for medical purposes is a tenuous limitation against its usage.