Mark down Germany as another country that has moved ahead on legalizing marijuana nationwide. While it’s not a done deal, leaders in the country’s incoming government coalition have reached an agreement on making weed legal at the national level.
If passed in the upcoming legislative session, Germany would join Canada, Uruguay, South Africa, Georgia and Luxembourg as the nations that allow cultivation, possession and use of recreational cannabis. The United Nations has also taken cannabis off its most dangerous drugs list.
The new law will make cannabis legal, as well as boost the country’s drug harm reduction services and restrict cannabis advertising, as well as alcohol and tobacco advertising. Currently, marijuana possession for personal use is decriminalized in Germany.
The Politics of the Proposed Law
What’s happening in Germany is far different from the current state of affairs in the United States, which has only two major political parties who currently agree on very little. Germany has seven parties, according to German international news broadcaster Deutsche Welle (DW). After elections earlier this year, a coalition of the Social Democrats (SPD), Green Party and Free Democrats (FDP) will lead the country.
Representatives for the three parties have said they have reached an agreement on a law to make cannabis legal nationwide. According to DW, they stated that they are creating legislation for “introducing the controlled distribution of cannabis to adults for recreational purposes in licensed shops.”
Interestingly, both the environmentally-minded Green party and business-focused FDP have called for legalization for many years. Both also stress that tight regulations and protecting children from cannabis use rank at the top of their priorities.
What The New Proposal Will Do
The new law would make it legal to possess and use cannabis. It’s unclear whether it will also include cultivation and production of marijuana.
The proposal also includes a provision allowing consumers to take their marijuana to federal drug-checking services where they can have their weed checked for contaminants. To deter use of cannabis among young people, the new law also will place limits on how companies can advertise cannabis in Germany.
One point in favor of legalization, according to party leaders, is the fact that a regulated marijuana market will drive out the marijuana black market. The law will call for an in-depth study of its impact in that area, as well as other social impacts, four years after it goes into effect.
If Germany legalizes adult-use cannabis, they will further boost a rapidly growing European cannabis market. According to the European Cannabis Report by research firm Prohibition Partners, the market already is expected to reach 3.2 billion euros by 2025, about $3.7 billion US dollars. That’s a sharp increase from the current market size of about 403 million euros.
For comparison, sales in the United States recreational cannabis market are about $20 billion and are expected to reach almost $42 billion by 2026.