Cannabis, the substance with seemingly the most divisive public opinion, harmful narcotic, or harmless drug. In the world, only 7 countries have legalized weed (de-criminalized and medical use not included) equalling 3.5% of the world’s countries. This is a tiny percentage of the world, considering it is a drug which has not been proven particularly dangerous or harmful. However, an 8th country may soon join this list, this being Germany. Having the largest population within the EU, Germany will prove to be a large shift towards global Cannabis legalization. Only one country in Europe has fully legalized cannabis, Malta. Germany is now looking to join this small club amidst the recent 2021 elections.
In December 2021 the new ‘Traffic Light Coalition’ came to power in Germany. This consists of the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD), the Free Democratic Party (FDP), and Alliance 90/The Greens. The SPD are the colour Red, FDP yellow, and The Greens are well… green. Amidst their large election program and coalition contracts, there was the legalization of Cannabis in Germany for recreational use. This will allow for up to 30 grams of possession of cannabis and 3 female plants per person.
German Health Minister Karl Lauterbach has pointed out that around 4 million Germans consumed cannabis in the last year. The legalization of cannabis would thus ‘squeeze out’ the black market and bring in millions of euros through taxes. The current approach for the sale is like that of the Netherlands, licensed shops which provide the sale of cannabis to anyone above the age of 18. Different to the Netherlands, however, will be the production. In the Netherlands, ‘coffeeshops’ are still illegally supplied, with cannabis smuggled internationally into the country or illegally grown. By fully legalizing cannabis, the production will be fully legalized as well, further revolutionizing cannabis laws in the EU.
The legalization of cannabis not only affects the people of Germany but may also change EU law. Cannabis is currently illegal according to EU law; however, Germany is beginning with talks in Brussels to change this. If this law does get changed, other EU countries may follow in changing their Cannabis laws. Another option for Germany is to simply ignore international laws and treaties, such as Uruguay or Canada. However, this is unlikely as Germany will probably take a more delicate approach as to not interfere with the law of the EU.
Overall, there is hope that Germany can legalize recreational cannabis. Since 2017 Germany already has had legal medical cannabis which patients can access with a prescription from a doctor. Time will now tell how the legalization in Germany goes, and how or whether EU law will change.