Europe 2022: Stop-Start Year That’s Ending on a High!
The European Union has just adopted a human-rights based drug policy that will act as a catalyst for reform in 2023. This is a significant development in a year that was mostly full of promise but short on milestones.
Ben Stevens, BusinessCann
BusinessCann reflects that 12 months ago we were recapping on what many were calling a break- through year for European cannabis following dramatic events in Germany with the new Government promising the continent’s first legalised adult-use market.
Elsewhere, Malta had become the first European nation to legalise adult-use cannabis, and Switzerland and the Netherlands were also set to launch their own adult-use trials.
France had launched its medical cannabis trial, the London Stock Exchange had opened to cannabis companies with the walls of prohibition seemingly creaking under the weight of progressive European reform.
Reflecting on 2022 there has been, until the last few weeks, no significant similar milestones, with both Germany and Malta’s plans running into prohibitionist roadblocks.
Global cannabis stocks have taken a battering with listed European cannabis companies witnessing a fall of 60%.
Euroclear, the main investment clearing house for cannabis stocks, is pulling out of the market, the CBD Novel Food farrago continues to be a running sore, and in the US progressive legislation such as the SAFE banking Act remains stuck in the starting blocks.
However, on December 9, the Council of the European Union, the legislative body of the EU adopted a new human-rights based drug policy which should act as a major catalyst for reform into 2023 and beyond.
Thanks for this must go to Czechia, which has in the last six months emerged as a leading light in the European cannabis scene, as it launches its own adult-use plans.
Under the guidance of Jindřich Vobořil, its national coordinator for anti-drug policy, it has prompted the EU to establish new rules which elevate the promotion of human rights in drug policies.
He said: “Globally, the war against drugs cannot be won and rather brings stigma, many millions of sick, imprisoned and executed people. With this document, the EU is committed to the effort to change policy globally and focus it more on people’s health.”
Both Czechia and Germany have encountered domestic and EU objections to their adult-use cannabis plans and a newly-adopted document entitled: ‘Council conclusions on human rights-based approach in drug policies’ has the potential to be a major engine for reform.
Barcelona-based International drug policy researcher Kenzi Riboulet-Zemouli, told BusinessCann : “It’s great to have this new policy document which will strengthen the positions that have been developing in recent years. It will provide an important structural platform for progressive reform in the medium and long-term.
“This represents real progress across Europe and signifies the dawning of a more enlightened approach to drugs.”
Also in the last month we have seen the latest Prohibition Partners report which shows major growth in patient numbers across Europe.
The Global Cannabis Report: 3rd Edition suggests an additional 100,000 patients have accessed medical cannabis in the last year bringing European patient numbers up to almost 350,000.
This month we have also seen confirmation that the Swiss adult-use trial is to finally begin early next year, and these events will hopefully act as a springboard for a more progressive 2023.
With 2022 being sporadically stuck in a prohibitionist quagmire, unsavoury actors and actions have been featuring prominently in BusinessCann. It is of little surprise then that this year’s most popular BusinessCann articles were in relation to the Juicy Fields scam.