Interior minister: Estonia not ready to legalize cannabis

A cannabis plant.
A cannabis plant. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

Unlike Luxembourg and Germany, police and justice officials in Estonia do not think legalizing cannabis growing and consumption is something that Estonia is ready for.

Luxembourg is set to permit people aged 18 and over to legally grow up to four cannabis plants per household for personal use, becoming the first country in Europe to legalize production and consumption. The new German coalition government is also planning to legalize regulated trade and consumption of the plant.

Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) northern prefecture head Urmet Tambre told ERR on Thursday that pleasing promises made by countries often hide similar regulations. By legalization, countries mean growing a few cannabis plants or consuming them in heavily regulated locations. People cannot carry the plant with them.

Tambre said cannabis users are not penalized in Estonia, either, unless they have been driving. A few years ago, the attitude on drugs was amended within the PPA, which saw consumers treated as addicts and instead of penalizing, the police will try to find solutions for the condition.

Consumption alone does not warrant punishment. "As a country, we should reach a point, where people understand what they are doing," Tambre noted, adding that increasing awareness is key, instead of legal regulation.

Tambre said that two young people recently lost their lives after consuming ecstasy from a dangerous batch, likely unaware of what they were actually taking.

He noted that more substances are set to arrive in Estonia as countries begin to legalize them. "Each of these decisions have an effect," Tambre said.

Minister of the Interior Kristian Jaani (Center) was resolute in his response on cannabis legalization: "My earlier position on the matter has not changed - Estonia is not ready for it, regardless of what illegal substances we are talking about."

Minister of Justice Maris Lauri (Reform) also said she would not support Luxembourg's decision. "Every country has their own discussions," she said, adding that Germany's decisions should not affect Estonia's positions.

Lauri said that other countries should not base their decisions on those of other countries, no matter their size.


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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste

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