Cannabis friendly cities in Europe.
BrAlthough it is estimated that up to 30 million Europeans often enjoy the relaxing effects of Cannabis, the female Cannabis plant has been banned for decades for recreational purposes in most European nations. We are currently experiencing some momentum in the Cannabis movement, but its legal position remains extremely confusing for many people and for legislators themselves, too. Also, legal uncertainty sometimes allows lawyers to interpret the same situations differently.
We have witnessed a wave of major legislative changes both within the EU and in some countries within the EU. In assessing the legal situation, it is important to distinguish between Cannabis for leisure, Cannabis for medical use, Industrial Cannabis and Cannabidiol (CBD). But this time, let's look at the first one and also a little about medical Cannabis.
We neither support nor deny, simply that Cannabis is also used for recreational purposes not only for medical purposes. Everyone knows, but not much is said about it and everything Cannabis related is still in such a gray area. And it is up to each individual to determine what purpose Cannabis will be used for.
The purpose of this article is to outline some of the most beneficial countries for Cannabis tourism.
Cannabis for relaxation.
Cannabis, which is used only for having a good time, is subject to quite complex laws and regulations in the European Union. As stated in a recent report by the European Monitoring Center for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA), last updated in June 2018, "international law requires the control of Cannabis plants and products". However, all EU Member States have full discretion over how Cannabis should be controlled within their jurisdiction.
In addition, the EMCDDA stated that European governments had not actually coordinated with each other. The penalties for storing and consuming Cannabis vary greatly from country to country. Approximately in 50 percent of all European nations imprisonment may be imposed for small quantities while others decriminalize smaller quantities for storage.
According to the EMCDDA, authorities are usually required to control Cannabis, which contains significant amounts of THC, the main psychoactive substance in the Cannabis plant. Male plants, their seeds, roots and dried stems usually contain either very little or no THC at all and are therefore not prosecuted in most countries. However, in some European countries, such as Cyprus and Portugal, these parts are still considered to be a legally controlled material.
And in countries that seem to have a liberal attitude towards Cannabis like the Czech Republic and Spain, there are still cases where people are punished anyway.
How is legalization done?
Several European Union countries have begun experimenting with models that include a legitimate offering of Cannabis. It includes famous coffee shops in the Netherlands, social clubs in Spain, as well as decriminalization events in the Czech Republic. While these models have been considered somewhat successful, they still lack the appropriate legal framework, which has often led to confusing and controversial situations in the past.
An interesting development was launched in December 2018 and talks continued around the last year, when the incumbent Luxembourg government announced that the legalization of recreational Cannabis was on their agenda. This will be the first country in the European Union that has actually legalized the consumption of all parts of the Cannabis plant to its inhabitants, perhaps the Luxembourg initiative will mark a turning point in European history. We could not find how successful this initiative is and what phase it is in.
In the case of medical Cannabis, it can certainly be said that there has been some recent strong development. After the World Health Organization (WHO) changed its recommendation in favor of Cannabis and Cannabidiol (CBD), the EU Parliament voted in February 2019 on a new resolution.
The resolution itself is a recommendation to EU Member States recommending that they make Cannabis available for pharmaceutical purposes in order to "define the conditions necessary for reliable, independent scientific research based on a wide range of materials specifically intended for Cannabis medical purposes". In addition, the EU supports the use of Cannabis for the treatment of a number of diseases and conditions.
Many EU countries, including Germany, Italy, Greece and the United Kingdom, have legalized Cannabis flowers or extracts for medical purposes in recent years. Doctors can usually prescribe various symptoms associated with multiple sclerosis, AIDS, cancer, prolonged neurogenic pain, Tourette's syndrome, Crohn's disease and PTSD. In Germany, for example, Cannabis can also be prescribed for ADHD, headaches, migraines and other common diseases.
How does it work?
According to an EMCDDA report, in many countries any doctor can prescribe Cannabis, but in practice only a small number of doctors do. This may be due to the fact that the Cannabis curative has been legalized in European countries for only a very short period of time, during which doctors were unable to acquire serious knowledge and study programs are not in a hurry to incorporate it into their programs. It could be said that information and education opportunities are based solely on the initiative of the doctors themselves.
In Europe, in addition to lack of knowledge, there may be other barriers to prescribing medicines containing Cannabis. In an interview with Leafly Germany, German therapist Dr. Schlueter mentioned that doctors are facing a lot of bureaucracy when prescribing Cannabis. "Even if it sounds very nasty: I just don't have time to take care of Cannabis patients," said Dr. Schlueter, because it takes too much formalities and a lot of time.
So what are the Cannabis friendly cities in Europe?
As we mentioned above, it is no secret that Cannabis is used not only for health, but also for recreation and entertainment. In tourist guides it is quite common to see European wine, beer and whiskey routes and their tasting places, but it would be quite unusual to see these types of itineraries, right ?! But who knows, maybe even in the near future.
But for some groups of people, or people interested, Cannabis tourism is gaining popularity (as Cannabis and its products are sold worldwide) so much that in some countries where this form of recreation has already begun, this travel practice makes a huge financial contribution to the tourism industry. Amsterdam has always been known in Europe, by being at the top of the Cannabis friends tourist destinations, but nowadays there are quite a number of destinations offering to buy and use Cannabis legally (or almost legally), and everything is quite interesting. Here's a little look at the best tourist destinations to enjoy the 'legal' way of enjoying good quality Cannabis or, in any case, countries where there is no criminal risk for small quantities of Cannabis.
Europe really offers quite a few opportunities for those who have decided to choose their holiday destination in this regard. Here are some examples of cities that might interest you in your future vacations, looking for a slightly different vacation, or trying one of the recreational uses of Cannabis, or products containing Cannabis to improve your health.
There are always people who do not like the law or the standards of society and who desperately need personal freedom. However, they rarely get their own place to feel free. But there is a small district in the middle of Copenhagen that has fulfilled the wish of a group of people and has a long and intriguing history.
The Christianian Community originated in 1971 in a part of the city of Copenhagen that was formerly for military use but was subsequently abandoned. A group of Danish squatters decided to occupy the building, turning it from a ghostly city into a lively and inspiring environment.
If you've ever wondered how an anarchist ideology could ever be practical, the 7ha Freetown Christiania is populated by an anarchist collective that has its own flag, currency and is not particularly affected by the Danish government and its authorities. This is the so-called "Green Light District" of the Danish capital, with Cannabis shops and cafes, some even are open for 24 hours a day.
Despite being a part of the territory of the Danish capital, it is still a place devoted to nature, peace and creativity. What has been stimulating this positive atmosphere for years? Mainly Cannabis use, as the people themselves say.
It is very interesting to meet people living a truly alternative lifestyle in a democratic government where rules are only enforced by consensus. Of course, this has aroused the interest of many travelers. Tourists come to visit this iconic place, either for cultural reasons or just to legally purchase Cannabis flowers. Of course, such anarchist ideology divides both directions of society: There have been occasional violent outbreaks, some of which have even ended tragically.
Unfortunately, today, the Green Light District is no longer as prosperous as it used to be. But it is still possible to experiment with really interesting and high quality Cannabis products at relatively low prices.
You can safely include it in your list of places to visit, and if you do, be sure to leave the camera outside. Taking photos is strictly forbidden, so if you go there just for an Instagram picture, you're in the wrong place.
Imagine a city with beautiful beaches, cheap restaurants, wonderful climate and sunny days most of the time. Sounds too good to be true? This is exactly what you can find in Barcelona. Although most people associate coffee shops with Amsterdam, you'll find the same concept in Barcelona, just under a different name. They are called "social or private clubs" where you can buy and use Cannabis. Many of these clubs are absolute and membership-only, while others are ready to welcome departed tourists. These are usually places where people come together to play billiards, table football or just relax and smoke Cannabis. These clubs also have a wide variety of different Cannabis strains, which are served behind the bar, just as in Amsterdam but again at lower prices. Barcelona, like many other cities in Spain, has many high quality Cannabis varieties, many types of strains, some of which are special and interesting ... so when it comes to prices, you need to know that in this country you will find the best prices at Cannabis holidays!
All of this makes Barcelona a sunnier and better version of Amsterdam, because in addition to the beautiful weather and Cannabis, you also have a variety of interesting places to visit, popular and lesser-known, the Mercat de la Boqueria fresh food market right in the center of Barcelona.
If you're planning a trip to Barcelona in early March, be sure to visit Spannabis, the largest annual Cannabis exhibition in Europe. Just one more reason why Barcelona is fastly becoming Europe's top destination!
Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
Of course, the world-famous Dutch capital will always be on the Cannabis destination list. Although there are dozens of lists that list Amsterdam as one of the best destinations, it is worth mentioning what makes Amsterdam different from other popular Cannabis tourist destinations. Amsterdam’s famous coffeeshop Barney’s Coffeeshop offers the possibility to consume the grinded cannabis flowers with Storz & Bickel’s famous vaporizer Volcano.
The legal limit for one person purchasing Cannabis at a coffee shop is five grams, so it shouldn't be a problem for you.
In addition, many coffee shops offer alternatives to tobacco in the form of less harmful herbs. All this in addition to dozens of great and healthy restaurants makes Amsterdam a popular choice for everyone.
Although this destination is taken for granted and many have already visited it, it must be acknowledged that Amsterdam and its coffee shops have certainly remained attractive, thanks to a particularly tidy and modern environment. But prices are higher than other destinations in Europe.
Neighboring Netherlands decriminalized the storage of up to three grams of Cannabis flowers for their own use. However, their use in public places is still illegal. While Belgium legalized medical Cannabis for patients, recreational consumption is only allowed in social clubs, similar to Spain. We can recommend you a destination just because you will find some of the most interesting Cannabis clubs in Europe in Brussels!
Prague, Czech Republic.
Famous for its legendary beer and German-style cuisine, the Czech capital offers a variety of interesting places to visit. Although the sale of Cannabis in the Czech Republic has never been legal and is punishable by a five-year prison sentence, the storage of Cannabis flowers is allowed up to 15 grams, with a maximum fine of around €550. However, the quality is likely to be significantly lower than the places where Cannabis can be legally purchased.
With that in mind, you should always be cautious when buying flowers that are sold on the street. In addition to Cannabis, you can enjoy Prague's beautiful architecture and the Old Town.
Today, Switzerland is one of the status destinations for those who love Cannabis and the beautiful city of Lucerne, as well as being financially well-off. Lucerne is probably one of the most beautiful cities in Europe with its Venice-like architecture and its beautiful lake around which the city itself is located. Switzerland, of course, is popular for its many mountains and excellent cheese.
Cannabis for recreational use in Switzerland has not been legalized yet, but its storage and use in small quantities are generally not prohibited. In addition, the possession and consumption of small quantities of Cannabis in Switzerland are generally not prosecuted, although trafficking in intoxicating substances remains as a punishable offense. A perfectly legal type of Cannabis Light is available there, but the flowers sold there must contain less than 1% THC. Meanwhile, final legalization seems to be just around the corner, mainly because it seems that the state really cares about the business behind it.
The canned Cannabis flowers have been legally available in Switzerland since August 2017, and since October 2017 you have been able to purchase CBD without THC in stores, as well as Cannabis cigarettes. More specifically, only flowers with a THC content of less than one percent are allowed to be marketed.
With regard to Cannabis, this country has proved to be one of the most advanced in the EU, with its decriminalization that other European countries can only dream of at the moment. To date, Portugal is one of the largest manufacturers of medical Cannabis in Europe, and while recreational Cannabis is not legal yet, the storage of moderate quantities of it is not criminal. In addition, it looks like Portugal's future will soon turn green ... in fact, the government is literally calling for the final legalization of Cannabis. Then, is it obvious which country could become the main destination in the future? Beautiful, little tameless and with a long history- Lisbon.
Although Cannabis is illegal in Germany, Berlin's rules on recreational use are slightly more liberal. As a result, Berlin is becoming an increasingly popular destination for Cannabis users.
Since January 2017, Germany has adopted a law to officially legalize medical Cannabis. However, this fact does not facilitate recreational smoking. In Germany it is still illegal, but there are some derogations.
In the capital, Berlin, the rules are a bit more liberal, with up to 15 grams for recreational use. This is one of the reasons why Berlin has become so popular with Cannabis users.
The use of Cannabis in Poland is not considered an infringement. On the other hand, custody is punishable by up to three years' imprisonment. The laws of this country do not distinguish between Cannabis and drugs, but Cannabis cases are less closely monitored than others.
France has always been the place where all sorts of freedom can be enjoyed. By law, Cannabis is not legal here, but its use is permitted.
In Italy, Cannabis is still illegal but approved for personal use. A small amount of Cannabis is allowed to be grown for their own use. Also, new laws allow up to 5g of any opioid, as long as you use it in private. There are a couple of places where you can buy high quality Cannabis.
Traveling across Europe can be a fun and exciting experience to take Cannabis for leisure. We all know that the old continent has flexible laws on the use of Cannabis, but you must keep in mind the rules of each country and the fact that they can be interpreted differently.
Depending on the country you intend to visit, be sure to check the laws of that country regarding Cannabis, and we recommend that you visit trusted places, or one that is recommended. Even if you are a foreigner, their rules also apply to you. Everything is at your own risk.
Whereas in many European countries, such as Luxembourg, the Cannabis industry is expected to thrive with the abolition of decriminalization on small-scale storage and with forthcoming legislative proposals such as Italy. It seems only a matter of time before many other European countries will want to jump on the train and legalize medical and recreational Cannabis.
Photos from Unsplash, except Warsaw