German politicians from the conservative Green and Free Democratic parties are currently in discussions about potentially forming a “coalition government.” Part of this discussion involves an agreement to fully legalize marijuana. The agreement would allow for cannabis to be legally sold in properly licensed dispensaries and pharmacies around the country. However, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has gone on record stating that she has no intention to “make any changes” to the current status of cannabis in Germany. Do you believe that this coalition of political parties will move forward with the legalization of marijuana?
Cannabis reform may be coming to the European Union’s most populous country as German conservatives, the Green Party and the Free Democratic Party continue their talks on forming a coalition government. Part of their discussions include an agreement on fully legalizing marijuana and selling the drug through pharmacies or licensed dispensaries.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has previously said that she has no intention to “make any changes” to the country’s current medical marijuana regime. Germany is home to Europe’s largest medical marijuana market, according to a recent report on the European cannabis industry.
While European countries have been adopting medical cannabis reform, not one has fully legalized adult-use cannabis yet. The European marijuana market could be worth €56.2 billion (or $65.4 billion) if every country legalized the drug, according to the European Cannabis Report.
The German cabinet unanimously approved a medical cannabis law last year, which came into effect March 2017. The drug is available to “seriously ill” patients on a case-by-case basis. Germany’s nascent medical marijuana market is already leading the way among European countries with a market value of €10.2 billion ($11.9 billion), according to the report. Add recreational marijuana and industrial hemp to the mix, the total potential market value of commercial cannabis in the country is €14.7 billion ($17.14 billion).
Germany is working on getting its regulated medical cannabis industry off the ground with 10 licensed producers. Until domestic supply can keep up with demand, the country is turning to Canadian companies to import marijuana products for patients. Aurora Cannabis, a Canadian licensed producer, shipped its first 50 kilograms of marijuana to Germany in September. And earlier this month, two other Canadian cannabis companies inked deals to distribute their products in German pharmacies.
Like the U.S., cannabis reform is creating unlikely political allies in the country thanks to the potential economic benefits of legalization. The Green Party has been a long-time advocate of marijuana legalization. And while Merkel has expressed hesitation in the past, her fellow Christian Democrat Joachim Pfeiffer previously teamed up with Green party member Dieter Janecek on a proposal to liberalize cannabis laws. Now, it’s looking like marijuana legalization could be a point of agreement between four parties seeking to form a coalition government.
Elsewhere on the continent, The Netherlands is reportedly experimenting with legalizing marijuana production and distribution. While Amsterdam is known for its coffeeshops where cannabis is sold and consumed, the production and distribution of the drug has remained unregulated. Switzerland has seen a surprisingly large demand for high-CBD cannabis cigarettes that are legal under federal law – as long as the product has less than 1% THC. And Spain is attracting attention from investors for its potential for marijuana reform.