"Globally, some recent changes in cannabis policies have experimented with different ways of regulating the sale and use of cannabis. Evolving cannabis policies raise numerous potential concerns about negative side-effects. These include increased commercialisation of legal cannabis; increased influence of the cannabis industry (similar to ‘big pharma’); possible increased use or more harmful patterns of use; complexities for regulatory approaches for the cannabis markets between countries that do not adopt the same policy; and tensions with UN international system for drug control and multi-national cooperation. There are also concerns related to the increased availability of products containing high levels of THC that may increase the risk of acute intoxication. There are also broader policy issues that may grow in importance should commercialised cannabis markets become established, such as what are the appropriate regulatory frameworks for addressing cannabis-impaired driving or restricting commercial availability to minors. Additionally, it was observed by some participants that an increased supply of the commercially available CBD products in some Europe countries raised concerns about possible negative effects on the consumers (EMCDDA, 2020). Possible emerging needs identified in the policy workshop included how to monitor quality assurance of cannabis-based products being produced legally in the European Union and how to identify and report on any potential risks associated with new policies and products.

"The debates about shifts in cannabis policies may also require us to make a clearer distinction between legalisation of cannabis for medical purposes and for recreational use. This is likely to require reliable information and timely monitoring of the health effects of cannabis use (medical and recreational) from the countries or regions where cannabis regulations have been changed."


European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (2023), The future of drug monitoring in Europe until 2030, Publications Office of the European Union, Luxembourg.