Members of the European Parliament have called on regulators across the continent to pave the way for cannabis reform
For the first time in its history, the European Parliament organized a debate on cannabis during a session entitled “Legalization of personal use of cannabis: exchange of good practices”.
The event was co-sponsored by 4 of the 7 main European political groups representing almost 50% of the 750 elected members of the Parliament. Held at the headquarters in Brussels, it was chaired by Irish politician Luke Flanagan, Member of the European Parliament (MEP), who sent the following message to the European Union's regulatory overlords, the European Commission.
“The importance of this gathering is not so much what we can get the European Commission to do, it is rather to ensure that they do not hinder and hinder this process.https://businessofcannabis.com/european-commission-told-by-politicians-to-clear-the-way-for-continental-cannabis-reform/
“We have no jurisdiction in this area, but it seems that the Commission has the power to throw obstacles in our way when countries try to do so. “The best thing we can do is make sure that everyone is aware of everything that is said by the Commission and that it is consistent.”
“As MEPs, we cannot change the law directly, but we can ensure that states that wish to take this route do so as easily as possible.
The debate was co-organized by Mikuláš Peksa, a Czech politician and president of the European Pirate Party, which is part of the Greens/European Free Alliance parliamentary bloc, with 73 MEPs.
The Socialists and Democrats, the second largest bloc in parliament, with 143 members from 26 EU countries, also backed the event. The center-right bloc, the group of European conservatives and reformists and the left bloc, which together have around XNUMX deputies, also gave their support.
The hearing featured speakers from Germany, Ireland and the Czech Republic, all of which are considering proposals to reform their national cannabis laws.
Tomas Sadilek, who helps the Czech government draft its cannabis laws, explained that a majority of people in his home country favor reform and recalled ongoing efforts to create a regulated market.
As the Czech Republic prepares to unveil its plan for a regulated trading market, Sadilek said it faces a number of hurdles.
“It is always easier to regulate than to deregulate and removing cannabis from European legislation is very problematic.”
He said he had not received any preliminary guidance from the European Commission on his proposals and identified three potential areas of conflict.
These are the Schengen agreement on the free movement of goods, which is the number one obstacle, then the 2004 EU framework on drug trafficking and, finally, the international conventions on narcotics.
He underlined that the EU applied these conventions more vigorously than their creators, the United Nations, and he expressed the fear that the Czech Republic would receive only negative reactions from the European Commission on its proposals, which would mean that they would end up before the European Court of Justice.
With the European Commission up for reappointment in 2024, MEPs must seek ways to make more pro-cannabis views heard.
Irish MP Gino Kenny referred to the Irish Citizens' Assembly, which is currently reviewing the country's approach to drugs, with a view to the decriminalization and possible regulation of cannabis.
While many consider it a mere debate, he recalled that similar citizens' assemblies had helped reform the laws on abortion and same-sex marriage in this Catholic country.
Mr Flanagan said: “Although the government has a conservative bent and a desire to maintain the status quo, if the people speak out clearly, politicians will follow.”
The virtual and physical meeting took place on Wednesday June 28 in Brussels in the presence of around fifty MEPs.