Today, Germany has the most robust medical cannabis program in Europe, and has emerged as a global player in the industry. Now, the country is moving toward legal adult use.
The government’s drugs commissioner, Burkhard Blienert, announced on Monday the launch of a consultation process that would culminate in draft legislation to legalize cannabis, possibly by the end of 2022. It would include, he said, “more than 200” representatives from around the world with expertise in, for example, medicine, law, and business.
“I have been working for years to ensure that we in Germany finally stop criminalizing cannabis users and start a modern and health-oriented cannabis policy,” he said in a statement.
This announcement was months in the making. Chancellor Olaf Scholz took office in December, and the three-party coalition behind him agreed to pursue legalization under his leadership. The outcomes of such legalization would be evaluated after four years.
The first of five hearings in the process will take place on Tuesday, June 14, and the final one will be on June 30th. Each will have a topic of focus, which will be, in order: “health and consumer protection;” “protection of minors and prevention;” “supply chains, ecological and economic issues;” “criminal liability, control measures and licensing to accompany the introduction of the controlled sale of cannabis for recreational purposes;” and “international experiences.”
Only two countries have so far legalized and regulated cannabis sales for adults: Canada and Uruguay. Germany, which has twice the population of Canada, would become the world’s largest legal cannabis market, if a bill legalizing and regulating sales is signed into law.
Other countries in Europe are stepping toward reforms, too. In December, as Cannabis Wire reported, Malta became the first country in the European Union to legalize personal use cannabis cultivation and possession. Luxembourg’s Justice Minister proposed to do the same.
While the Netherlands has for decades tolerated cannabis sales, it formally embarked upon a pilot project for a regulated supply chain in recent years, as Cannabis Wire reported.