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What’s Up With Cannabis Legalization in Belgium?

The country’s reform efforts are far behind, as the Belgian marijuana advocates have repeatedly pointed out this year. This applies not only to countries in Europe but also to neighbours who are members of the E.U. tripartite economic and political union. This is the Benelux. The inter-regional alliance, which was formed in 1944, includes Belgium, Luxembourg and Holland. In many ways, the cooperation among the three countries is similar to that of the DACH alliance, which unites Germany and Switzerland.

When it comes to cannabis, however, Belgium is lagging behind its closest neighbors and economic partners and further in a way not seen in the DACH coalition—where all three countries within the same have moved forward on reform—and Switzerland is not even in the E.U.

Belgium, which is part of the Benelux alliance has a significant disadvantage in comparison to Holland with its coffeeshops and distribution system. Luxembourg too, however, seems to be on the brink of reforming recreational, even though it’s only a step.

Belgium is the only country in the alliance that still considers the use of the plant illegal. However, anyone who has a single plant at home will in principle not face prosecution.

Is there a deal?

The State of Cannabis Reform In Belgium

Cannabis offenses in Belgium are given a “low prosecution priority” as long as the perpetrator is over the age of 18, is in possession of less than 3 grams, and not considered a “public nuisance.” These are the broad guidelines followed by authorities since 2003.

This legal ambiguity also applies to CBD. Although it’s possible to buy CBD oil in the country, it’s best to consult an online vendor for help on using it. You can buy CBD oil externally in pharmacies since 2020. Sativex and other high-THC products like it have been on the market since 2015.

As of 2018, Belgian scientists publicly concluded that the country’s cannabis policy has a harmful consequence on society. Proponents of legalization argue that recreational cannabis reform could generate up to 700 million euro annually, which is roughly the same amount in dollars as right now.

Cannabis social clubs gained popularity in Canada since 2006. The clubs are inspired by the Spanish. As in Spain, the clubs rely upon loopholes in law to be able to function. There have only been two criminal cases filed against clubs so far, with neither leading to formal charges.

The Belgian Labour Party—or PvdA—has a detailed plan on how to legalize the drug while also combatting abuse and addiction which includes regulation of the industry.

A government agency was established in April 2019 to handle cannabis distribution. It is currently not operational.

How European Policy is Impacted by Cannabis Reform

Brussels is the capital of Belgium and the E.U.’s center. policies. This is why you should not expect Belgium to take any bold steps on cannabis policy until the European Union has more solidified sovereign reform.

Despite this, the E.U. is moving at a rapid pace. border (see Germany, Luxembourg and Malta, as well as its borders in Switzerland), it’s clear that the pace of reform within E.U. this year is very fast. However, we can expect to see the status quo disappearing soon. France is a signatory to the concept of medical efficacy.

Belgium is likely to be the next country in this region. It has multiple members, including Spain and Portugal. Even though the leaders of the continent’s progress are still ahead, there will be no change in Belgium.

However, the people of this trilingual nation are keen for their government to act, as is the Flemish proverb. Vooruit met de geit; colloquially it means “let’s get on with it,” even if the literal translation means “forward with the goat.”