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Europe: Support for Marijuana Legalization Low

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #467)
Consequences of Prohibition
Politics & Advocacy

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."

Permission to Reprint: This content is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license. Content of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.


Anonymous (not verified)

....but 29,000 is a pretty low number of people to gauge the opinions within the ever-growing EU as a whole.

With a thousand or two at most of those responses coming from the Netherlands, and with 49 percent in favor, there's reason to believe that put to a nationwide vote, legalization could pass.

The low approval in countries like Sweden, which pursues a prohibitionist policy just like the US, should be a surprise to no one.

Fri, 01/05/2007 - 4:11pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

A connection between relaxed alcohol and sexlaws in Europe and the low or 'don't care' attitude towards cannabis legalization is there.

In Europe 15, 17 year or 20 year olds is not treated like a pre-pubescent and can without even a thought go to a festival to drink beer and have sex with similar aged people.

There's always legal alternatives for a teen wishing to party.

Alcohol is of course dangerous but they also get drivers license at a later age... anyway what I'm trying to say is there's different cultures and to apply one poll or study over another culture would lead to wrong conclusions.

Fri, 01/05/2007 - 8:01pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

I have just spent a year battling a marijuana cultivation bust.
Its been interesting to experience peoples take on my "crime"...... Here, in Scotland, you will get busted for a roach, make no mistake. The Scottish Executive, basically the idiots who "govern", have spent so much on negative and futile aspects of the War on Drugs that they simply perpetuate the lie that there are bad things associated with marijuana. Its a complex issue, with research funding only available to perpetuate these myths.
Anyhow, the only people who have reacted negatively to me have been those who simply dont know what they are talking about, which in the main indicated biggotry and stupidity. There have been few, thank God!
On the other hand, I travel expensively throughout Europe regularly, and, basically, the main problem is the risk of getting busted. In every village, town and city people flaunt the ludicrous interpretations on the law and punishment which marijuana attracts: I could have been imprisoned for 14 years for growing a few plants in my back garden with a very clearly and well defined medical reason for doing so.
As a Mathematician, I know just how easy it is to devise a survey to come up with whatever end result you want.
So, why is Alcohol use/abuse increasing when Alcohol kills about 60 people a day in the UK?
By comparison, what is all the fuss over marijuana all about???????????????
Read the research, know the facts, and use this to educate the unenlightened.
Keep tokin' and enjoy the befefits of the weed - it certainly keeps me sane, and just about everybody I know!

Fri, 01/05/2007 - 9:02pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

I had to read through the report and laugh. This study is obviously sponsored by the recently formed EU which represents globablist interests at the expense of the local soveriegn populations.

Consider the following excerpt:

Furthermore, citizens want more equality and justice, even if this means less
freedom for the individual. Nearly two out of three EU citizens agree with this
statement (64%). However, the survey reveals considerable differences between the Member States, with levels of agreement ranging from 46% in the Netherlands to 80% in Portugal.

The predecessors of the EU were the ones that allowed huge influxes of Islamic immigrants to migrate to Paris, London and Madrid -- which of course was specifically intended to create social division within these countries. Unfortunately, they had no idea as to what a negative impact it would ultimately create. But the ultimately goal was to unseat the indigenous working classes in these societies for the benefit of the global elites. The goal: cheaper labor.

So of course they would frame a question about another false choice: 'should equality trump individual freedom.' Why would they frame such a contrived question: because they are secretly in favor of decreasing individual freedom.

The fact of the matter is that, in the United States, support for Legal Marijuana is nearly 50%, and rising every single year. I am highly suspect of the EU-sponsored study.

In the final analysis it is abundantly clear -- to anyone that studes the body of information concerning Cannibis -- that this herb is one of the most benign "drugs" and should never have been made illegal in the first place.

We have all become victims of what I like to call "unneccessary incrementalism." It is a ploy, used by the global elite, to get the citizen to accept a step-wise approach that never reaches the ultimate goal -- in this case Marijuana Re-Legalization -- when the solution is truly obvious and instantaneously achievable.

Another tool used by the elite is to essentially "erase" our collective memory banks. Marijuana only became illegal in 1938 in the United States. For most of our history it WAS legal. In the mid-1800's Marijuana was the MOST used anagesic in the United States. Before "Harrison Narcotic Act (1914)" Cocaine and Heroin were even legal. But only after this Act passed did the "black market" secure the future of Mafia's and Street Gangs by creating an illicit marketplace for these drugs.

When are we going to wake up? If we cannot sheppard forward, something as obvious as Marijuana Re-Legalization, how are we ever going to solve more serious problems (e.g., Global Warming, Unbridled Global Population Growth, a "sustainable" global ecomony)?

Finally: when a majority of Americans still believe there were WMD's in Iraq, the only significance of such polls is to gauge the ignorance of the "polled" population. A majority opinion does not constitute an informed opinion. Perhaps that is all we are really seeing in this EU study: a scewed polling of a non-representative sample the ignorant.

Bruce W. Cain
Editor, New Age Citizen

Sun, 01/07/2007 - 12:43pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

As a EU citizen and former resident of Spain I know the problem of the aging population that Europe is currently facing. There are far more elderly than there are young citizens. With an ever increasing underage consumption, how could the poll results possibly be as low as 25% of the EU population when you can go virtually to any country within the EU and see marijuana consumption as probably the most blase thing that ever existed?
In Spain; at any festival, in side or out side at the door of many bars or Pubs, on terraces,in the streets and even walking in front of police stations (you heard me), smoking Marijuana or Hashish is as common as ordering a cup of coffee. That is usually, however, when older people are not around (mainly to gossip about it). In this scenario which I just described, you will hardly see people over the age of say 35-40 in the picture.
The population of Europeans of 50+ grew up in a much different Europe than today, in some cases (such as in Spain), these people grew up in a dictatorship. Ask many of these people how they feel about the death penalty and I'm sure you'll get quite a large response in favor.
The poll should be reevaluated and split into age groups. I guarantee you will see a much larger number in favor of legalization in the eyes of the Europeans of tomorrow.
Another tremendous factor which I think should be kept in mind is the number of immigrants who may have answered this poll. Before I continue, I feel that I must point out that by no means am I trying nor implying to be a racist or have negative views towards other races and cultures, if someone feels this way I apologize. Immigration is largely tolerated in Europe in comparison with other countries where immigration is a problem such as the United States. Since there is an aging population we must obtain a workforce from other sources for such reasons as, for example maintaining social benefits, especially for the retired. That's why I think immigration is tolerated more so. The way this is linked to the poll is that, the larger our multi-ethnicity the more our views will tend to be influenced by other cultures, especially by more conserved ones. The population in Spain is roughly 45 million with an estimated immigration rate of 10 million. As you can see, the possible influence can be tremendous. Therefore, if people who came from cultures/countries were Marijuana is strictly forbidden, and always has been, these people are more likely to respond negatively towards a poll such as this one. If this same poll was taken 10 years ago when immigration was much lesser, or later on in the future when the multi-ethnic cultures have adapted to European cultures and styles of living, then the results would also vary greatly. In my opinion, there would be a majority vote in favor of legalization, not based on any poll, but based on being integrated within the society and the surroundings of popular recreation.
To wrap my ramble, I agree with those of you who are suspicious of the poll itself. I recall this same poll taken in Spain several years back and the results were in fact quite different, something like 60% was in favor of legalization which proves my point.Anyway, I just don't see how prohibition in this case ever lead to anything useful in the first place. In the words of the great Snoop Dog, " hey-eh- ey- eh- ey, smoke weed everyday!".

Tue, 03/04/2008 - 6:42pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

I found your argument to be flawed. You let your opinion be known too much which caused it to be less credible. Also, there is nothing wrong with teen drinking as long as it is legal. You act like Europe is so horrible, teens in America have sex and drink too. The difference is it is illegal here. think about that...

Mon, 11/23/2009 - 11:58pm Permalink

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