More Than Half of Europeans Support Cannabis Legalization

Europeans continue to embrace legalized marijuana, with a new survey finding that 55 percent of them support a government-regulated system that allows the sale of cannabis to adults over the age of 18.

In tracking opinions in eight major European countries, the survey found the highest levels of support in Italy (60 percent). But every country, with the exception of The Netherlands, had at least 50 percent support for cannabis legalization in Europe.

That’s not surprising given recent events. Efforts to make cannabis legalization in Europe a reality have taken place across the continent. Luxembourg decriminalized marijuana possession in the fall of 2021. Germany is moving forward with a state-run system for selling legal cannabis that officials there hope to launch in 2023. Officials in France are also pushing for consideration of recreational marijuana legalization.

Much like in the United States, the European Union is moving forward with legalization one area at a time (in countries as opposed to states). Also like the U.S., Europeans increasingly support moving forward with full legalization.

What The New Survey Found

The survey came from Hanway Associates, a London-based advisory firm that specializes in strategy, research, and mergers and acquisitions in the cannabis sector. The company recently unveiled a European Cannabis Tracker that surveys opinions on cannabis across eight of Europe’s biggest countries.

Overall, the new survey included the opinions of 9,043 adults. The results showed 55 percent support legal recreational cannabis, 25 percent oppose it and 20 percent neither supported nor opposed legalization.

Additionally, 48 percent want “regulated retail marijuana outlets” and 35 percent support allowing people to grow cannabis at home. Another 32 percent support social clubs, something just now getting launched in the U.S.

European Support for Legal Weed by Country

The European Cannabis Tracker also reported support for legalization broken down by eight countries.

  • Italy: 60 percent
  • Portugal: 59 percent
  • Switzerland: 58 percent
  • Spain: 56 percent
  • United Kingdom: 55 percent
  • France: 52 percent
  • Germany: 50 percent
  • Netherlands: 47 percent

Surveys in the United States have shown similarly high, nationwide support for cannabis legalization.

“Our polling reveals a continent poised for reform – with 55% of Europeans in favor of legal and regulated cannabis sales to over-18s,” Hanway Associates wrote. They added that the survey also found 30 percent of Europeans said they would consider trying legal cannabis, making Europe “a potential consumer base of over 120 million adults across core European markets.”

They compared the current trajectory of the European cannabis market to the one in the United States around 2012. The difference is in size. The European market has about one and half times the population of the U.S., according to the report.

Hanway Associates wrote: “This once-hypothetical scenario is fast becoming a reality. European cannabis reform has become a question of how, not if.”

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