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The European Council on drug policies in Europe

Updated: Aug 9, 2023


On December 8, 2022, the European Council adopted a conclusion on a human rights-based approach to drug policy. With the conclusion, the European Council takes a new position on drug policy that is more favorable to the cannabis community. This blog discusses the content of the conclusion and its possible consequences for the cannabis community.

The European Council

The European Council is an institution of the European Union. The European Council consists of the heads of state and government of the 27 European member states, a president and the president of the European Commission.

The institution is not a legislative body. European laws are not negotiated or adopted within the European Council. The European Council is primarily concerned with determining the political direction and priorities of the European Union. In other words, the European Council sets the political agenda of the European Union.

In this regard, the conclusions of the European Council play an important role. The conclusions set out points of focus for the European Union and what actions and objectives result from them. They may also set a deadline by which an agreement must be reached or a legislative proposal must be submitted.

The conclusion of the European Council

The conclusion starts by recalling the European Drug Strategy. The European Drug Strategy sets out the European Union's objective of protecting and improving the well-being of society, protecting and promoting public health, providing a high level of safety and well-being for the public and improving health literacy.

Moreover, the European Union commits in the European Drug Strategy to playing a greater role in achieving human rights-based drug policies. Policies should take into account the needs of individuals, communities and gender equality. This will ensure that as few individuals as possible are treated unequally (or so is the thought).

This also means that the implementation of the policy to be drafted in the European member states should take into account the state of affairs in the specific member state. Of course, national, international and European laws and regulations must not be lost sight of in the process.

What’s next?

The conclusion of the European Council shows that the regulation of cannabis is (finally) a priority for the European member states. It is up to those same member states to take the first step and legalize the cannabis trade.

Want to know more?

Do you have any questions regarding cannabis or any other commercial law related questions? Feel free to contact one of our lawyers.


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