A new poll reveals that 55% of Europeans are in favor of the regulated sale of cannabis
Are Europeans ready for the legalization of cannabis for adult use? Hanway Associates released this opinion poll earlier this month in partnership with Curaleaf, Cansativa and Ince. Charlotte Bowyer, from Hanway Associates, presents here the main results.
The poll reveals that 55% of respondents are in favor of the regulated sale of cannabis for adults. While some European countries have well-established medical cannabis markets within their borders, cannabis legal frameworks remain fragmented across countries.
Malta became the first European country to legalize cannabis for adult use in December 2021, when its parliament approved legislation that allows adults aged 18 and over to grow up to four plants and possess up to 7 grams of cannabis. cannabis.
Luxembourg is also considering legislation that would allow adults aged 18 and over to grow up to four plants at home for personal use, and the new German coalition has signaled its support for the legalization of cannabis for adult use.
The resurgence of cannabis policy reform efforts across Europe inspired the poll by Hanway Associates to gauge European sentiment on the legalization of adult use, Charlotte Bowyer, head of the company's board, told the Cannabis Business Times.
“We wanted to know what Europeans really think about legalization, so we commissioned a survey and got data from the eight main European markets to see what Europeans really think about legalization”
Le survey is based on a nationally representative sample of 9043 adults aged 18 and over in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, Portugal, Switzerland and the United Kingdom, and was carried out between February 24 and March 14.
“Each country conducts its own polls, but each will have slightly different wording and ask the question at different times of the year. We want something that serves as a reference. We ask the same questions in every market and [we] will repeat them every year. If we have a good reference point, we can actually see how things are changing. »
The results, published on April 7, not only revealed that more than half of Europeans are in favor of the legal sale of cannabis to adults aged 18 and over, but also revealed that 30% of those polled are interested in the legal sale of cannabis to adults aged XNUMX and over. trial of legal cannabis, highlighting a large and mostly untapped potential market.
Italians are the most enthusiastic about legalization, according to the report, with 60% of respondents in favor of the legal and government-regulated sale of cannabis products to adults 18 and older.
The poll found 59% support in Portugal, 58% in Switzerland, 56% in Spain, 55% in the UK, 52% in France, 50% in Germany and 47% in the Netherlands.
The markets most favorable to reform are Italy and Portugal. They have about 60% support for legal, government-regulated sales, and some of the lowest opposition rates.
If we look at what the French think about this subject, we see that they are the most reluctant and fearful with regard to the legalization of cannabis despite having the highest consumption rate in Europe. On the other hand, we noted that the Netherlands scored low on the question: "Are you in favor of reforms for legal cannabis?" » whereas we expected this rate to be very high, considering that the Dutch model with its coffeeshops has been around for many years. Moreover, they are taking steps to legalize all or part of the supply chain in certain regions of the Netherlands.
Regulated shops are the most popular model for cannabis legalization in Europe, according to the report, with 48% favorable opinions. Home culture is least popular, with 35% support, and social clubs are the least popular, with 32% support.
When asked what benefits Europeans see in legalization, 51% said policy reform would remove cannabis from the illicit market. The next answer, at 36%, is that legalization would reduce the use of more dangerous illegal drugs.
The Europeans are in favor of regulationn and the guarantee that things are checked and that they know that their products are safe, that the dosage is correct and that it has been tested, said Mr. Bowyer. And I think that explains why there's such support for government-regulated stores, perhaps more than for craft crops or social clubs.
Major concerns over legalization include an increase in driving under the influence of cannabis, to 42%, and cannabis use among young people, to 40%.
Tax revenue, economic recovery and employment are elements that 40% of those consulted identified as being important keys to legalization. People want reliable products and know the dosages. Removing this product from the black market and having control over taxation is supported by Europeans, she said.
The poll found support not only for taxing adult cannabis sales, but also for using the tax revenue generated to fund public services such as cannabis education and addiction treatment programs.
51% of Europeans also said they were in favor of the limiting THC. Probably because Europeans are not yet used to certain products used in other countries, such as North America. Other products like edibles or other similar products will be popular in Europe and help shape a responsible industry to avoid possible risks of overconsumption.
The poll also revealed another aspect of cannabis legalization that Europeans aren't as familiar with as North Americans: social equity.
When the question of cannabis legalization focused on reducing discrimination against marginalized communities, only 17% of Europeans answered that yes it is a benefit. A constant figure from one country to another, except in Switzerland where this figure rises to 27%. This revelation left the Hanway Associates team wondering if the wording of the question skewed the results.
The question about thesocial equity is probably more advanced across the Atlantic compared to European countries. However, social equity will become a bigger issue in Europe as cannabis policy reform evolves.
While more and more countries are considering legalizing cannabis, Bowyer believes European cannabis markets are likely to model those in Canada, with plain packaging, warning labels and restrictions on advertising built into the regulations.
When it comes to the legalization of cannabis, Ms Bowyer said opinions are generally divided into three thirds: one third in favour, one third against and one third unsure or not wanting to give an opinion. This upward trajectory could in turn convince European leaders that the time has come to legalize, something they may not have been ready to admit before.