Germany's incoming coalition government is in the closing stages of a deal to legalize cannabis for recreational use, Bloomberg BNN reports.
The September 2021 election results saw Olaf Scholz's Social Democratic Party (SPD) win the most seats, and the highest percentage of the popular vote. The SPD is currently in negotiations with the Greens and the Free Democrats (FDP) about forming a coalition government under Scholz's leadership.
According to Bloomberg's sources, the three parties are closing in on a deal, and hammering out the details of how recreational cannabis would be regulated and sold. The sources remained anonymous due to the private nature of the negotiations.
Political Parties Signaled Support During Election
To some extent, this news isn't a huge surprise.
In the run-up to the election, SPD health expert and doctor Karl Lauterbach openly argued that the SPD should legalize cannabis if they won the election. And the Greens proposed legalization in both their 2015 and 2020 party platforms, so their support for making the drug legal has long been clear.
Even when it came to the center-right FDP, there was no resistance to the idea of legalizing weed. In an interview during the campaign, FDP leader Christian Lindner told Reuters that cannabis legalization was one of the few areas that his party had in common with the SPD, compared with the right-wing Christian Democratic Union (CDU).
The FDP also emphasized the revenue-generating potential of taxing legal recreational cannabis sales in its platform. Although Germany might be known for convection dry herb vaporizers, the recreational market is mostly untapped.
Not everyone wants to see Germany legalize cannabis
The conservative CDU, formerly led by outgoing chancellor Angela Merkel, which governed Germany for four terms from 2005 until 2021, was the only major political party opposed to legalizing marijuana during the election. The CDU finished second in the vote count, and is not part of the incoming coalition government.
Also vocal during the election was Germany's national police union Oliver Malchow, who argued that managing legal drugs like alcohol was difficult enough. The head of another police union warned about the beginning of a "stoned future" on Germany's roads and highways.
The parties in favor of legalization noted benefits like shrinking the size of the illegal cannabis market and increasing revenues from taxation. They also argued that a regulated legal market would result in better quality cannabis for consumers, without additives that might be found in the black market.
Cannabis Policy Change Across European Union
If Germany were indeed to take the plunge into legal weed, they wouldn't be the first European country to do so.
The tiny neighboring country of Luxembourg legalized recreational cannabis in October 2021 - but only for people cultivating their own plants. Trade and public consumption will remain illegal for now.
Although the Netherlands has long been known for relaxed marijuana laws, cannabis possession, recreational use, and trade is still technically illegal. Cannabis is decriminalized in Portugal (along with all other drugs).
Germany's changing marijuana laws
Legalization would be a major step for Germany, but the approach to criminalization of the drug has already changed a lot in recent decades. Growing, sale, and distribution of cannabis is still illegal. But possession has been more of a grey area.
Germany's Narcotics Law was reformed in 1992 so that prosecutors can drop a case against a defendant if they possessed only a "small amount" of marijuana. This small amount wasn't defined federally, so every state in Germany has its own guidelines, from a 6 gram limit in more restrictive states, up to 15 grams in Berlin.
Medical marijuana has been legal in Germany since 2017 and public health insurers must cover treatment. CBD products are legal throughout the European Union as of October 2021.
German market data for legal recreational pot
Germany is Europe's largest country in terms of population (if you don't include Russia), and Europe's biggest economy. Germany is already the largest market for medical cannabis users in Europe. But legalizing recreational use would expand the market dramatically, and result in significant brand new revenue streams for the government.
The number of cannabis users has been on the rise in Germany in recent decades. A public opinion survey conducted in October 2021 by the German Hemp Association showed 49% in favor of legalization, vs. 46% opposed. It was the first time since 2014 that the majority favored legalizing cannabis.
According to Bloomberg, the wider European cannabis market is expected to be worth $3.7 billion USD by 2025. Legalization of recreational use in the European Union's biggest economy would boost legalization efforts throughout Europe.
Germany: Third Country With Legal Cannabis?
Following Uruguay and Canada, Germany could well become the third country to legalize cannabis. It all depends on the current coalition talks between the SPD, Greens, and FDP. They may decide to change things in a piecemeal fashion, perhaps just decriminalizing the drug.
But given the public position of the three coalition parties during the election, and the success of legalization in Uruguay, Canada, and 11 American states, they might well decide to go all the way.
It seems like German public opinion is in favor of full legalization, and the economic benefits of a booming new market and tax revenues could be very attractive indeed for the new coalition.
Regardless of how the details play out, based on the information we have, it seems like legal recreational marijuana is in Germany's near future. And just like Uruguay, Canada, and parts of the United States, we can expect a boom of businesses and services to follow.
A market opportunity for dry herb vaporizers
The interest in dry herb vaporizers is likely to increase in Germany, following the pattern in other countries that legalized weed.
Dry herb vapes are a healthier way to consume cannabis compared with smoking. They don't burn the herb, instead heating it to a high enough temperature so that cannabinoids like THC and CBD are released into vapor. They're also more efficient with your bud, producing more effects and saving more money over the long term.
Portable dry herb vaporizers are the most popular choice among consumers, as desktop vapes need to be plugged into a wall to work. But portable vapes are not always the most convenient option. You still have to clean it out and reload it in between sessions, which can get awkward or indiscreet when you're out and about.
The Furna vaporizer features a swappable oven system, letting you instantly swap a used oven for a fresh one. There are even specialized ovens for cannabis concentrates and 510 oil cartridges. It's a game changer for convenient, top-quality vapor. Check out the Furna vape to learn more.