We are planning to legalise cannabis!
This strong statement shows that the new government intends to rule in their own, unique way. Now that the announcement has been made, everybody is patiently waiting (although with a great deal of excitement) to see how this change will come to be.
As Germany has such a strong influence over the rest of Europe, other nations will be paying close attention to how it moves forward with the legalisation of cannabis. Germany's following steps might significantly impact how cannabis legalisation in the rest of Europe will develop.
Medical cannabis in Germany is legal, but it is also expensive and often not covered by insurance, making the treatment available only for selected groups of people.
Possession of small amounts of cannabis for personal use has been decriminalised.
Legalisation is supposed to happen during the four-year term of the current coalition government.
According to the announcement, all adults residing in Germany would have access to recreational cannabis.
Cannabis would be available for purchase in licensed shops, and the sale would be monitored and controlled by the state.
The new cannabis laws would focus on establishing a system that would benefit both the country and its people. By taxing dispensaries, money that is currently lost to the black market would suddenly become accessible and could help support the government's budget. In addition, stringent quality control would protect users from consuming cannabis with any dangerous contaminants. Special laws and regulations would also be set up to protect youths.
The Institute for Competition Economics (DICE) in Dusseldorf estimates that Germany could gain 4.7 billion euros in tax revenue and savings from not prosecuting cannabis offenders. It would also create around 27,000 new jobs, which would provide a tremendous economic boost.
While there is no scientific proof of moderate cannabis consumption having long-term negative effects on adults, exposing adolescents to cannabis might potentially lead to dissociation, memory problems, or depression.
Organisations involved in helping the German government create efficient and working cannabis laws suggest that in order to protect the younger members of society, dispensaries should be forbidden from being situated near schools and youth centres (a distance of at least 250m will be required).
Legalisation is supposed to occur sometime within the next 4 years while the German coalition is in power. However, no clear timeline has been set for the legalisation of cannabis in Germany.
We also know that the policy is planned to be reviewed after 4 years to see how the legalisation of recreational cannabis has impacted society, whether previously unrecognised problems have arisen, and whether some adjustments are needed.
The announcement does not mean that this will indeed happen. Politics are politics, and many changes can still occur.
A great example of that would be Luxembourg.
In 2019, Etienne Schneider, the country's minister of health at the time, announced that Luxembourg would be the first country in Europe to legalise cannabis.
This was the first country to make a clear statement that the current drug policies are outdated, prohibition doesn't work, and legalisation is the only way to benefit society and protect the youth.
The Luxembourgish government decided to create their legislation by learning from the Canadians and how they approached cannabis reform. The idea was then to build a framework that would imitate the best parts of the Canadian model and adjust the rest to the needs of their own residents.
A task force from Luxembourg, including the health minister, was formed and sent to Canada for a trip that would start off a chain of events that would lead to full legalisation. Things even went as far as to start negotiations with potential suppliers.
But then, the tide shifted. Etienne Schneider left the government, and the project lost its momentum. The current government has decided to drop the idea of full legalisation and instead allows its residents to grow and cultivate cannabis for personal use.
Will Germany follow these steps, or does it have a plan of its own? We will soon find out!