It’s official. Germany’s new coalition government will legalize cannabis.
Since the October election, there have been rumblings of legalization while the so-called traffic light coalition — Social Democrats (SPD), the Greens and the Free Democratic Party (FDP) — negotiated the next government.
In the coalition agreement, the government said it will regulate cannabis sales in licensed shops for adult use.
A review of the cannabis law will take place after four years to determine the social impact.
The new government will expand drug checking and harm-reduction measures, as well as tighten marketing rules for alcohol, nicotine and cannabis.
Further details have yet to be released.
Under current laws, small amounts of cannabis are allowed, and the country has allowed medical pot since 2017.
The former government under Angela Merkel’s conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU) had been opposed to legalization.
But while the new coalition government is backing cannabis reform, it doesn’t guarantee an easy path toward legalization.
Und ja: We will legalize it! 🥦
— Fraktion der Freien Demokraten (@fdpbt) November 24, 2021
The government will only control the Bundestag and will likely need approval from the Federal Council (Bundesrat), another house of the German government, explains market intelligence firm Prohibition Partners.
“Past attempts to legalize cannabis on a trial basis, for example in Berlin in 2016, were blocked by federal regulators on the basis that changes to the German Narcotics Act require majority support from both of these governmental houses,” reads a blog post last week. “Currently, the Bundesrat is controlled by conservative interests, though advocates are hopeful this will change in the next year or two, as the dominance of Angela Merkel’s CDU dwindles across the German states.”
The agency adds that the specifics of Germany’s legalization plans will be “crucial in determining the nature of the newly legal adult-use market”
Germany has grown into the largest cannabis market in Europe since the country legalized medical use in 2017.
A recent study estimated legalization could net €4.7 billion a year for Germany through tax revenues and savings in law enforcement, as well as create 27,000 jobs in the regulated industry.
Germany’s legalization plan could be a first for the European Union, but the small European country of Luxembourg is also reforming its cannabis laws to allow cultivation for personal use.
Luxembourg has said it’s working on further reform.