Are Europeans ready for adult-use cannabis legalization?
The poll, conducted in partnership with Curaleaf, Cansativa and Ince, revealed that 55% of those surveyed support regulated adult-use sales.
While some European countries have well-established medical cannabis markets within their borders, legal cannabis frameworks remain fragmented from country to country.
Malta became the first European country to legalize adult-use cannabis in December 2021 when its parliament approved legislation that allows adults 18 and older to cultivate up to four plants and possess up to 7 grams of cannabis.
Luxembourg is also considering legislation that would allow adults 18 and older to grow up to four plants at home for personal use, and Germany’s new coalition has signaled support for adult-use cannabis legalization.
The uptick in cannabis policy reform efforts across Europe inspired Hanway Associates’ poll to gauge how Europeans feel about adult-use legalization, Charlotte Bowyer, the firm’s head of advisory, told Cannabis Business Times.
“We wanted to see what Europeans actually thought about legalization, which is why we commissioned a poll and got some metrics across the key eight European markets to have a look at what Europeans are actually thinking about it,” Bowyer said.
The poll is based on a nationally representative sample of 9,043 adults aged 18 and older across France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, Portugal, Switzerland and the UK, with the survey being conducted between Feb. 24 and March 14.
“Each country does its own polls, but each one is going to have slightly different phrasing and ask at different times of the year,” Bowyer said. “We want something to serve as a benchmark. We ask the same questions in each market and [we will] just repeat those on an annal basis. If we’ve got a good benchmark, we can actually see it evolving.”
The results, released April 7, not only found that more than half of Europeans support legal cannabis sales to adults 18 and older, but also revealed that 30% of respondents are interested in trying legal cannabis, highlighting a large—and mostly untapped—potential market.
“I think what was quite interesting when we looked at this is that across the board, you’re actually seeing Europeans in favor of cannabis legalization,” Bowyer said. “You’re definitely seeing support larger than opposition across every market.”
Italians are the most enthusiastic about legalization, according to the report, with 60% of respondents in support of legal, government-regulated sales of cannabis products to adults 18 and older.
The poll found 59% support in Portugal, 58% in Switzerland, 56% in Spain, 55% in the UK, 52% in France, 50% in Germany and 47% in the Netherlands.
“I think the markets most in favor of reform that jumped out were Italy and Portugal,” Bowyer said. “They’ve got about 60% supporting in favor of legal, government-regulated sales and some of the lowest opposition rates, as well.”
The results from France and the Netherlands surprised Bowyer.
“When you dive into what the French think about this, there’s more reticence and more fear about