Germany Poised to Introduce Bill to Legalize Cannabis
Germany is reportedly on the brink of passing a bill that will legalize the sale and consumption of cannabis, according to Health Minister Karl Lauterbach. The proposed law will allow people over the age of 18 to carry up to 30 grams of canna products for personal use and will also permit the sale of the drug by licensed stores and pharmacies. Additionally, the law will remove cannabis from the list of narcotics in the country.
The move, which aims to improve public health, could be implemented in stages between now and mid-2024, making Germany the largest regulated national cannabis market in the world and the first country in the EU to allow its commercial sale. The draft proposals for the legalization of adult-use cannabis in Germany were published in October 2022, and they were aimed at improving public health. However, Lauterbach insisted that the proposals will only progress to the Bundestag, Germany’s federal parliament, if they are compatible with EU law.
The proposed cannabis legalization is one of the progressive policies suggested by Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s government, which came to power in 2021. Around four million people in Germany used cannabis in 2021, and a quarter of all 18- to 24-year-olds have tried it, Lauterbach said. The move aims to increase public oversight and reduce drug-related crime, while also balancing international treaties and public health concerns.
Germany’s federal parliament, the Bundestag, will consider the proposed law once it has been deemed compatible with EU law, which requires member states to enforce penalties for the sale of illicit drugs, including cannabis. However, the EU also requires member states to ensure that the sale of illicit drugs, including cannabis, is “punishable by effective, proportionate, and dissuasive criminal penalties.” This means that Germany will need to strike a balance between EU law and public health concerns when legalizing it.
While it remains illegal to sell cannabis in the Netherlands, the growth and sale of the drug is tolerated in coffee shops, while Malta has only limited legalization in place. If approved by parliament, the proposed law would make Germany the first country in the EU to permit the commercial sale of cannabis. This move could have sweeping implications for the bloc, as other member states may follow suit and legalize it.
The proposed law will also allow citizens to grow up to three plants at home, which will further increase the availability of cannabis in the country. This move could help to reduce the burden on the healthcare system by decreasing the number of cannabis-related hospitalizations.
The legalization of cannabis in Germany could also have positive economic implications, as it could create a new industry that would provide jobs and generate tax revenue. The cannabis industry has been thriving in other countries, such as Canada and the United States, where it has generated billions of dollars in revenue.
While there are concerns that legalizing it in Germany could increase drug use, there is evidence to suggest that legalizing it could actually decrease drug use. This is because it would remove the stigma associated with cannabis use and provide people with access to safe and regulated products. Additionally, the government could use tax revenue generated from the sale of cannabis to fund drug prevention and treatment programs.
In conclusion, Germany is on the verge of legalizing cannabis, which could have significant implications for the country and the EU. The move could help to improve public health, create a new industry, and generate tax revenue. However, the government will need to balance EU law and public health concerns when legalizing it.
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