The three political parties within Germany’s incoming coalition government have agreed to legalise recreational cannabis. While the details of the legislation have yet to be finalised, the move is expected to provide a multi-billion-euro boost to what is already the largest economy in Europe.
Germany Set To Win Big By Legalising Cannabis
The decision to legalise cannabis in Germany was announced shortly after the publication of a study which concluded that doing so could provide huge financial gains. Conducted by the Institute for Competition Economics (DICE) and funded by the German Hemp Association (DHV), the report found that ending prohibition is likely to bring in around 4.7 billion euros a year while also creating 27,000 new jobs[i].
This includes an estimated 3.4 billion euros in annual cannabis tax sales in Germany, combined with an extra 1.3 billion euros in cost savings as a result of reduced police and judicial operations.
Commenting on these findings, DHV managing director Georg Wurth said: “the ban on cannabis is harmful and expensive, billions are thrown out the window for senseless police operations. The money would be used much more effectively for education, prevention and aid. It is time for legalisation!”
Politicians Agree To Legalise Cannabis In Germany
A three-way coalition between the Social Democrats (SPD), the Greens and the Free Democrats (FDP) is expected to be confirmed in Germany this week, with negotiations concerning the formation of a government having been ongoing since September’s general election.
Both the Greens and the FDP have been calling for cannabis to decriminalised in Germany for a number of years. The manifesto put forward by the FDP prior to the election, for instance, explicitly stated the party’s intention to end prohibition.
“The ban on cannabis criminalises countless people, ties up immense police resources and makes it easier to get into harder drugs through illegal contact with dealers,” it read.
Cannabis is currently decriminalised in Germany, while a medical cannabis programme has also been in existence since 2017. Speaking to the media last week, however, a representative of the three parties explained that the new government has agreed to “introduce the controlled distribution of cannabis to adults for recreational purposes in licensed shops.”
At this stage, it remains unclear if provisions will be made for cultivation or how the sale of cannabis will be regulated in Germany. Such details are expected to be clarified in the immediate future, and it is envisaged that a legalisation measure will be formally introduced during the upcoming legislative session.
According to a spokesperson for the coalition, the impact of legalisation will be closely monitored, with a major review to take place four years after the implantation of a regulated cannabis market in order to assess its impact on German society.
Last month, Luxembourg became the first country in the EU to commit to ending prohibition. This means the race is now on between Germany and its diminutive neighbour to become the first European nation to legalise cannabis.