European citizens of voting age can submit "citizen's initiatives" that, if they clear a million signatures, require EU lawmakers to propose legislation. The initiatives need a minimum number of signatures from at least seven different EU countries, they have to be formed by groups of at least seven European citizens, each from a different member state, and, unsurprisingly for Europe, organizations of individuals can't launch initiatives on their own.
Last November, the EU accepted the "Weed Like to Talk Initiative," which seeks to legalize (and regulate!) marijuana in Europe. Last week, the initiative's backers started collecting signatures. Via their "manifesto":
Liberticidal policies pursued in certain Member States turn quiet citizens into offenders or criminals, while other European citizens are free to use cannabis in their Member States. The question of coherence and discrimination is worth asking.
The ECI Weed like to talk aims at making the EU solve this problem by adopting a common policy on the control and regulation of cannabis production, use and sale.
Cannabis use is a matter of every citizen's freedom of opinion and right of control over his or her own body, as in the case of alcohol and tobacco. It has been shown many times that the health risks of cannabis are much lower than that of legal drugs used for recreational purposes (alcohol, tobacco) and medical purposes (pain killers, psychoactive medication). Yet cannabis is still considered as a narcotic drug and therefore a "punishable offence" by the United Nations (2), although this classification is more and more disputed (3).
Drug trafficking is in no way the cause, but rather the result, of repressive State policies: the troubles it brings are the logical consequences of drug prohibition, not of an intrinsic "evil" character of cannabis.
Emphasis is in the original. While the "marijuana is less dangerous than alcohol" may be groan-worthy for those worried about the desire of statists to impose even more restrictions on alcohol consumption, I am partial to the word "liberticidal," which it never occurred to me was a word that existed.
No country in the European Union has completely legalized marijuana, the way Colorado, Washington, or Uruguay have, though a handful have decriminalized it. Portugal did so for marijuana and harder drugs more than a decade ago, leading to a plunge in drug use in the country. The Netherlands has sort-of legalized marijuana, but still has a "drugs are bad" attitude even if the government's decided largely to look the other way.
The "Weed Like to Talk" initiative has a year to collect the million signatures it needs to compel EU lawmakers to act, making it a harder task than a White House "We the People" petition but also apparently a far more substantive one.
UPDATE: Commentor KarlUrban provides a link to see how many signatures have been collected so far, by country.