The German government is delaying cannabis legalization as they have yet to submit proposals to the European Commission. Accordingly, Germans may not see legal cannabis until 2025.
In an e-mail to Euronews, the German health ministry confirmed that a draft law for cannabis legalization is “currently being drafted.”
“A large number of legal and operational questions concerning implementation need to be answered and coordinated between the ministries in charge” before the government can submit the change to the European Commission, the e-mail said.
Germany’s coalition government announced plans to legalize cannabis in October 2022. Like Canadian legalization, the plan involves legalizing private consumption and having a government-regulated supply and controlled market.
But since the announcement, it’s been a slow crawl to any reform.
“The Federal Government’s aim of controlled dispensing is to best protect consumer health, ensure child and youth protection as well as to reduce drug-related crime and curtail the black market,” the German Federal Ministry of Health also said.
German Legalization: Pressure from Brussels
Germany would be the first country in the European Union (besides Malta) to legalize cannabis, so they’re facing scrutiny from Brussels.
Several European countries, including Austria, the Netherlands and Portugal, have decriminalized small amounts of cannabis. In particular, Dutch authorities tend to look the other way regarding the country’s cannabis culture.
Luxembourg announced plans to legalize in 2018 but backtracked after butting heads with busybody EU bureaucrats.
But Germany is a powerhouse economy. If they left the EU, there wouldn’t be an EU. One doesn’t expect cannabis legalization to be the trigger that dissolves the EU, but stranger things have happened.
Nevertheless, analysts expect Berlin to go toe-to-toe with Brussels on its cannabis policy and come out as the winner.
Cannabis in Germany
Germany banned cannabis in the early 20th century as part of the broader international trend toward drug prohibition. They implemented it as part of the 1925 International Opium Convention, and it has remained in place ever since.
Germany established its medical cannabis program in 2017. It allows patients with certain medical conditions to receive cannabis as a prescription. The government restricts the program to patients with severe illnesses such as multiple sclerosis, chronic pain, and nausea resulting from chemotherapy.
Patients can receive a prescription from a doctor and obtain the medication from a pharmacy. The government heavily regulates the program, with only a limited number of licensed producers that can supply the market.
If legalized for recreational purposes, German cannabis could earn €4.7 billion ($6.8 billion) annually, according to The Dales Report. The report cited figures from the Düsseldorf Institute for Competition Economics.