Only about one quarter of adults in Europe believe marijuana should be legal for personal use, according to a Eurobarometer poll conducted by the European Commission. In the survey of some 29,000 European Union residents, pollsters found 26% of adults EU-wide were ready to legalize the weed. The figure was highest in the Netherlands, where the sale of marijuana in coffeeshops is winked at by authorities, but even there, support for legalization was not a majority position, coming in at 49%.
In a second tier of countries, support for legalization ranged between 30% and 40%, with approval hitting 40% in Spain, 32% in Britain and the Czech Republic, and 30% in Ireland. At the other end of the scale, in Romania, Sweden and Finland, less than 10% of respondents agreed that marijuana should be legalized. Among other European countries, support for legalization was 28% in Austria, France, and Italy, 27% in Portugal, 26% in Belgium, and 19% in Germany.
Somewhat surprisingly, support for marijuana legalization is lower in Europe than in the United States. According to a year-old Gallup poll, 36% of American adults favored legalization, with that figure reaching 47% on the West Coast.
According to the authors of the Eurobarometer, which included more than 40 questions on support for the European Union and attitudes toward various social issues, "The high level of opposition to the idea that the personal consumption of cannabis should be legalized throughout Europe provides further evidence that Europeans feel there is too much tolerance these days."