Home Impact producer Germany’s next government aims to legalize recreational cannabis

Germany’s next government aims to legalize recreational cannabis



A Dutch woman smokes a cannabis cigarette in a cafe in Amsterdam. Photo taken on October 6, 2011. REUTERS / Toussaint Kluiters / File Photo

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BERLIN, Nov. 24 (Reuters) – Germany could become the first European country to legalize cannabis and allow its sale for recreational purposes, according to a coalition agreement for a new government reached on Wednesday by three parties.

Many European countries, including Germany, have legalized cannabis for limited medical purposes. Others have decriminalized its general use, while stopping not to legalize it.

The center-left Social Democrats (SPD), Greens and Libertarian Free Democrats (FDP) agreed to introduce legislation during their four-year tenure to create controlled distribution of weed in licensed stores.

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“We would assess the social impact of the (weed) law after four years,” the pact says.

Policymakers and industry experts have said legalization could reduce activity in the black market, where there is no quality control. It could also free up police resources devoted to continued cannabis use and increase tax revenues for drug prevention and treatment.

The German example could inspire other European countries, while the United States of America has already seen a great business opportunity in a trend to legalize cannabis, the consumption of which has increased during lockdowns.

In Europe, the country traditionally associated with cannabis is the Netherlands, where its sale in coffee shops is tolerated, but not formally legalized, meaning that shops source the weed from illegal producers.

“Germany would have a pioneering role,” said Florian Holzapfel, founder of German cannabis company Cantourage, which imports the herb and processes it for medicinal purposes. “It would be important for this to be successful as it would pave the way for other countries to implement similar legislation.”

Legalizing cannabis could bring Germany annual tax revenues and savings of around 4.7 billion euros ($ 5.34 billion) and create 27,000 new jobs, according to a survey released last week.

The European market should reach 3.2 billion euros by 2025, against 403 million euros at the end of 2021, according to the European Cannabis Report by research firm Prohibition Partners.

Such growth could boost large US and Canadian cannabis companies, as well as the nascent German industry.

Holzapfel, however, said it would be difficult for Germany to become a major producing country given the high overhead costs and inclement weather.

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Reporting by Sarah Marsh; Additional reporting by Stephanie van den Berg in Amsterdam and Philip Blenkinsop in Brussels; edited by Barbara Lewis

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