European drug report
The European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA), based in Lisbon, has published its ‘European Drug Report 2018’.
According to the report, developments in European countries are influenced by global drug trends. Europe is a major producer of some synthetic stimulants, such as MDMA, exporting products and know-how to other parts of the world.
There are basically two cannabis products available on the European drug market: herbal cannabis (‘marijuana’) and cannabis resin (‘hashish’). In contrast, cannabis oil is relatively rare. For cannabis, European production has partially displaced imports and seems to have affected the business models of external producers. One consequence is the increased potency of the cannabis resin, which is now being smuggled into Europe.
Illegal cannabis consumption
The changing cannabis market brings new policy challenges. Cannabis is still the most widely used illegal drug in Europe. The prominence of the drug is evident in its role in seizures, drug offences, prevalence estimates, and new treatment needs. Developments in the Americas, including the legalisation of the drug in some of these countries, have led to the rapid development of a commercial cannabis market. This has led to innovations in the forms of the drug available and the delivery systems for its consumption, such as high-potency cannabis strains, e-liquids and edible products.
Legal cannabis consumption
The market for legal recreational use has been accompanied by regulations that allow access to cannabis for medical or therapeutic purposes in some jurisdictions. The EMCDDA is monitoring these developments and providing explanatory policy summaries to highlight some of the issues raised by these developments for discussions in Europe. These include the possibility that some of the new forms of this drug reappear in the European drug market.
Meanwhile, the European Parliament's Health Committee has put together a draft motion for the medicinal use of cannabis across Europe. The motion for a resolution came about following what was originally only a ‘Question for Oral Answer to the EU Commission’.
Among other things, the motion calls for the EU Commission to work with Member States to improve equal access to medicinal cannabis and to ensure that the cost of medicinal cannabis, if approved, is covered by health insurance as is the case for other medicinal products.