A new deal to create a coalition government in Germany may lead to the legalization of recreational cannabis in the country, cannabis activist Tom Angell reports. In the country's recent election, Chancellor Angela Merkel was elected to a fourth term, but her party, the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), lost seats. The loss of representation means the CDU must create a coalition government with other parties in order to govern the country. Merkel is currently working with the Greens and the Free Democrats (FDP) to form what is being called the “Jamaica coalition,” named after the black, yellow, and green colors of the three parties involved.
Party officials met for talks last Thursday to discuss the coalition, but talks reportedly ground to a halt over disagreements about climate change and immigration policies. According to Reuters, Merkel is now planning to meet with Horst Seehofer, head of the Christian Social Union party; Christian Lindner, head of the FDP; and two members of the Green party in order to salvage the alliance. The parties involved are reportedly at odds over how to meet carbon dioxide emission targets and whether to cap the number of immigrants allowed into the country.
The appellation of “Jamaica coalition” will hopefully take on an additional significance. After the pressing climate and immigration issues are reconciled, the coalition is expected to formalize a cannabis policy agreement that would allow the country's pharmacies to sell legal marijuana. Fritz Becker, Chairman of the German Pharmacists Association, said that pharmacies “are ready to do that,” and explained that the pharmacies would provide “advice on risks and side effects, good customer service and ensure clean goods.”
The situation in Germany closely parallels that of New Zealand, where a minority coalition government agreement is also opening a potential door to legalization. Earlier in October, the country's Green Party agreed to support Labour Party head Jacinda Ardern as the country's new prime minister in exchange for a promise to hold a national referendum on cannabis legalization. The referendum must be held by 2020, and if successful, would make New Zealand the first country to legalize cannabis through a vote.