By / August 23, 2023

Schengen Agreement Reform: The Czech Push for Amendments

When Germany tried to introduce comprehensive reform regarding cannabis, their efforts encountered resistance from the European Commission owing to conflicts with the Schengen Agreement.

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Schengen Agreement Is Main Barrier to Legalization in EU

These complications have made the Czech Republic the main hero in the cannabis legalization scene in Europe. At the heart of this unique challenge is the Schengen Agreement, signed in 1995.

Mikuláš Peksa, representing the European Pirate Party, expressed his concerns in a conversation with “Business of Cannabis.” He emphasized that the main challenge for countries wishing to legalize cannabis is the Schengen Agreement, which allows for free movement between the 27 EU member states. Despite these challenges, the Czech Republic has ambitious plans to change this agreement, opening doors for legalization in other Union countries.

Schengen Agreement and the Flow of Goods

Created in 1995, the Schengen Agreement aimed to create a single market where goods, capital, services, and people could move freely. In theory, it sounds simple, but the practice is more complicated, especially when it comes to such a controversial product as cannabis. Nevertheless, experts like Kenzi Riboulet-Zemouli and Benjamin-Alexandre Jeanroy believe that certain aspects of the agreement can be adjusted to allow the legal trade of cannabis.

Exceptions and Precedents

Although it’s difficult for member states to abandon obligations arising from the Schengen Agreement, there have been cases where exceptions were made.

Procedures that would allow EU member states to accelerate the creation of a cannabis market for adults were outlined in a recent report. The document “EU Presidency Policy Summary: Treaty Compliance Options Regarding Cannabis Regulations in the EU (Models of Decriminalization and Legal Regulation in Compliance with International Law and EU Legal Acquis)” analyzed obstacles to reform.

The co-authors are leading European cannabis researchers, Kenzi Riboulet-Zemouli and Benjamin-Alexandre Jeanroy from the Paris-based firm Augur Associates. In the report, they concluded that such a reform is permissible within the framework of the Schengen Agreement.

Elections 2024: Hopes for Change

Although the exact details of the talks between Germany and the European Commission are not yet known, it is known that Germany has agreed to some concessions.

Instead of creating an official cannabis market, they opted for a more moderate approach, legalizing the possession of up to 25g of cannabis, cultivation for personal use, the establishment of cannabis associations, and the undertaking of several research projects. Mikuláš Peksa, the head of the European Pirate Party in the Czech Republic, hopes that change in the approach to legalization will be easier after the elections in 2024.

Czech Republic at the Forefront

The Czech Republic appears determined to introduce full cannabis legalization, even at the cost of conflict with the European Commission and the Schengen Agreement.

Federal Drug Commissioner in the Czech Republic, Jindřich Vobořil, pointed out that the country is ready to introduce a legal cannabis market for adults. Despite potential legal consequences, many Czech experts believe that the industry will be able to grow regardless of court decisions.

Implications for the EU and Schengen Agreement

Czech involvement in the cannabis legalization process in Europe is not merely a national initiative. It’s a move that could influence the future of the entire European Union.

Although the road ahead is rough, the Czech spirit of determination could serve as inspiration for other member states to also push for Schengen Agreement reform.

(Featured image by Alexander Grey via Pexels)

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