Ministers within Germany’s new coalition confirm that the process to legalize and regulate recreational cannabis in the country is underway.
Cannabis legalization was thrust to the top of the German political agenda late 2021, albeit minimal details were disclosed as to how this would manifest.
However, over the last few weeks public statements from Germany’s Health Minister, Finance Minister and Justice Minister have all ratified the government’s intent to legalize cannabis for adult use.
“The time over the summer must be used to vigorously push reforms that could no longer be pushed in the autumn”, Health Minister Karl Lauterbach said when speaking to the newspaper Handelsblatt.
The reforms German Ministers will be looking to push through imminently, include cannabis legalization, financing of the statutory health insurance companies, hospital structure reforms, and healthcare digitalization.
Prior to this, Justice Minister Marco Buschmann and Finance Minister Christian Lindner both publicly spoke to cannabis legalization in Germany, showing the coalition’s intent on making these policies reality.
When Will Recreational Cannabis in Germany be Legal?
Whilst patients in Germany continue to have access to medical cannabis, the road to recreational use of the plant and the formation of a regulated adult use industry will still be long, relatively speaking.
Specific policies around many different aspects of cannabis legalization – including, but not limited to, dispensing of product, advertising, product THC limits, distribution, and home cultivation – are still to be debated and then ironed out.
Moreover, ahead of federal legalization, the German government will seek to have buy-in from the municipalities, devise educational programs (not just for the public, but for the police and medical professionals), and have an agreed tax levy in place for cannabis products.
The German government will take a pragmatic approach to legalizing recreational cannabis, examining models from around the world, cherry picking the best policies and learning from those that have fallen wide of the mark.
A draft bill could well be submitted in Q3 or Q4 of 2022, however, given the complexities of cannabis legalization, 2024 seems a realistic target for recreational cannabis products to be seen on German shelves.
Public and political opinion have shifted so significantly over the last five years (since the legalization of medical cannabis in 2017) that Germany is on the precipice of a historic change. This is perhaps best exemplified by Health Minister Lauterbach who said, when speaking with Handelsblatt, “I’ve always been opposed to cannabis legalization, but I revised my position about a year ago.”
Already the biggest medical cannabis market in Europe, Germany will, sooner rather than later, become the first major European economy to fully embrace cannabis in all its forms. Exciting times!
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