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Germany’s New Coalition Wants To Legalize Recreational Cannabis

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The new coalition that will replace Chancellor Angela Merkel by December 6 is seriously considering legalizing recreational cannabis in Germany.

The coalition, formed by the Green Party, the Liberal Free Democrats (FDP), and the left-wing Social Democrats (SPD), is to finalize the political agenda before taking power through several negotiations.

Among some 22 working groups that met over two weeks to negotiate a deal, the coalition’s working group on health and care has agreed to plan to legalize cannabis.

The new government aims to regulate the sale of cannabis to adults through licensed stores, according to German local media Die Funke Mediengruppe.

The legalization of adult-use recreational cannabis would aim to ensure quality control, prevent the distribution of contaminated products, and guarantee the protection of minors. However, it is not yet clear whether the coalition wants to legalize also the domestic cultivation of cannabis.

The latest news about an agreement within the new coalition on this topic comes just after Bloomberg reported earlier this month.

Although no additional details have been revealed, cannabis legalization could bring Germany to become the first European country to legalize recreational cannabis and regulate its market.

Such reform could bring over $5.3 billion in additional annual tax revenue to the country, and create around 27,000 legal jobs in the cannabis industry, according to a study by the University of Düsseldorf.

Recently, several European countries are attempting to regulate cannabis following different approaches. Luxemburg has legalized growing and using cannabis. Italy is to vote a referendum to decriminalize domestic cultivation and end administrative penalties for personal possession. France has launched a pilot program to supply free medical cannabis to patients. Switzerland has put in place a three-and-a-half-year pilot scheme to conduct scientific studies on the effects of the cannabis market and its recreational use. Malta is debating a reform to decriminalize cannabis and contain illicit drug trafficking.

The coalition’s initiative would bring new tax revenue to Germany and benefit U.S. and Canadian cannabis companies to enter the European cannabis market.

Several U.S. and Canadian cannabis companies have already positioned themselves in Europe’s medical cannabis market, and recreational cannabis legalization may be a godsend to them.

Although its medical cannabis policy entered into force only in 2017, Germany has become the leading European cannabis market in terms of growth.

However, uncertainty remains about the legalization of recreational cannabis in Germany.

There is no clue about how the new coalition government would aim to regulate the market. Also, the political balance may not be so favorable for a smooth legislative process to regulate this industry.

The Greens have introduced a draft bill, also known as CannKG, which aimed to give adults legal access to cannabis. However, the Bundestag (German federal parliament) rejected the bill in 2020.

Although cannabis is the most widely used illegal drug in Germany, its legalization is still a divisive topic among German public opinion.

Asked whether cannabis should be legal and regulated for adults following the Canadian system, a 2020 survey reported by MJBizDaily revealed that 51% of respondents answered no and 46% yes.

However, another survey by the German Hemp Association reported by Bloomberg revealed a shift toward legalization as 49% of respondents said they were favorable to legalizing cannabis.

Although the role of cannabis legalization is uncertain within the political balance of the new coalition, the approach to the cannabis debate looks promising so far. The coalition seems to have put aside the biased discussions over legalization among political parties to focus more on public health aspects of legalization.