Home > Legal topic overviews: possession of cannabis for personal use.

European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction. [EMCDDA] (2012) Legal topic overviews: possession of cannabis for personal use. Lisbon: European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction.

URL: http://www.emcdda.europa.eu/legal-topic-overviews/...

The legal status of cannabis for personal use is one of the most controversial policy issues in the European Union. Although cannabis is a classified narcotic drug placed under control by the United Nations and by all EU Member States, the measures adopted to control it at national level vary considerably, as shown in the table below.

Cannabis extracts — marijuana, hashish and cannabis oil — are classified as narcotic drugs under both Schedules I and IV of the 1961 United Nations Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs. Art. 36 requests State Parties to “adopt such measures as will ensure that …possession… of drugs contrary to the provisions of this Convention… shall be punishable offences when committed intentionally...”.

The active principles of cannabis, the cannabinoids THC and specifically dronabinol (delta-9-THC), are classified as psychotropic substances under Schedules I and II respectively of the 1971 United Nations Convention on Psychotropic Substances. Art 22 of this echoes the terms of the 1961 Convention above, stating that “each Party shall treat as a punishable offence, when committed intentionally, any action contrary to a law or regulation adopted in pursuance of its obligations under this Convention… “.

Finally, the United Nations Convention Against Illicit Traffic of 1988, Art. 3 requests establishment of a criminal offence for possession of drugs for the purposes of trafficking (Art. 3.1(a)(iii)), and for the possession for personal consumption (Art.3.2). This latter has been the subject of a wide range of interpretations and analyses; see ELDD’s Legal Reports for example the EMCDDA thematic paper “Illicit drug use in the EU: legislative approaches”, section 1, and Chapter 7 of A Cannabis Reader, EMCDDA Monograph 8; Cannabis Control in Europe.


Item Type:Evidence resource
Publication Type:Other
Drug Type:Cannabis
Intervention Type:Crime prevention, AOD disorder
Source:EMCDDA
Date:2012
Publisher:European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction
Corporate Creators:European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction
Place of Publication:Lisbon
EndNote:View
Accession Number:HRB (Electronic Only)
Subjects:B Substances > Cannabis product (synthetic cannabinoids)
MM-MO Crime and law > Substance use laws > Drug laws
VA Geographic area > Europe
B Substances > Cannabis / Marijuana

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