“At the moment, there is a political consensus for me to create this proposal for the regulation of cannabis,” the country’s anti-drug coordinator Jindřich Vobořil said at a press conference last month. “We believe that this regulation will be more effective than the current ban.”
— Mona Zhang
In March, members of the five political parties in the Danish parliament called on the government to prepare a five-year cannabis pilot program. Under their plan, Denmark residents who are at least 18 years old would be able to buy weed in public shops and the product could be grown and produced within the country.
But that proposal has not been enacted since the ruling party of Mette Frederiksen rejects legal weed. The plan of the five smaller parties in the Folketing, the Danish parliament, would have affected many Danes — more than 40 percent have tried “hash” in their life, a recent report found. Many users probably obtained their goods in Copenhagen’s Bohemian Christiana District, which is known for its open sale of cannabis.
However, as of now, the five pro-cannabis parties, including the Red-Green Alliance and the Socialist People’s Party, don’t command a majority. It remains to be seen whether some of them end up in the newly forming government after elections on Nov. 1.
— Louis Westendarp
The biggest step toward legalization Finland has taken is still a comparatively small one. In 2019, a public initiative collected more than 59,000 signatures in favor of decriminalizing the personal use of cannabis, clearing a threshold that would require parliament to consider the initiative in its current term that ends in 2023. But currently there is another citizens’ initiative running that goes further. It demands to legalize, regulate and tax recreational cannabis. Supporters need to collect 50,000 signatures by April 20, 2023 to force the Finish parliament to discuss legalization.
But support among the political parties in Finland is thin. Only one governing coalition party, the Green League, has so far backed cannabis legalization. But even there, a vote at a party conference was almost perfectly split, with 183 in favor and 181 against. Since that vote, however, the Green League has grown more comfortable with a pro-weed stance. This spring, the party added legalization to its party platform.
In terms of punishment, Finland is on the more lenient side. If a person is caught smoking a joint in Helsinki, odds that a prison sentence awaits are low, and a fine is more likely.
— Louis Westendarp
In March 2021, France launched a two-year medical marijuana legalization experiment. The trial includes 3,000 patients with epilepsy, neuropathic pain, side-effects from chemotherapy, multiple sclerosis or other terminal illnesses. To be eligible, participants must show that all other treatments have been ineffective or produced intolerable side effects. Enrollees are provided with cannabis — including oils and pills, but not smokable products — at no cost and the program is run by the country’s federal health agency. Cannabis advocates hope the pilot program will eventually lead to more sweeping medical marijuana legalization in France.