Germany's new government coalition has reached an agreement to legalize adult-use cannabis sales, a decision that could boost the country's economy by more than $5 billion a year.
This historic decision was announced in a recent statement by the country's incoming ruling coalition, formed by the Liberal Free Democrats (FDP), the Green Party, and the center-left Social Democrats (SPD), German news media reports. Over the past two weeks, the three parties formed 22 working groups tasked with finalizing the coalition's political agenda. During these negotiations, the health care group reached an agreement to roll cannabis reform into the coalition's official platform.
After the coalition takes office on December 6th, lawmakers plan to propose a bill that would "introduce the regulated sale of cannabis to adults for consumption purposes in licensed stores," POLITICO reports. Full details of the proposal have yet to be announced, but lawmakers said the bill would impose strict quality control measures for legal weed products and take steps to keep pot away from children.
In addition to relaxing the country's longstanding prohibition of cannabis, the coalition plans to tighten regulations on how alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs are marketed and advertised. The parties also plan to expand services allowing recreational drug users to test illicit drugs for contaminants or other harmful compounds. "We are constantly measuring the regulations against new scientific findings and adjusting health protection measures accordingly," the coalition's report explains.
A thriving adult-use industry could boost Germany's economy by over €4.7 billion ($5.3 billion) annually and create around 27,000 new jobs, according to a recent study by the University of Dusseldorf. The study also notes that legalization would also save money that cops, courts, and prisons currently waste on prosecuting nonviolent cannabis users. A separate report by the FDP party has also estimated that legal weed sales could bring the German government €1 billion ($1.1 billion) in annual tax revenue.
The new bill could make Germany the first European country to fully legalize adult-use cannabis sales, but the coalition has yet to announce a timeline for legalization. Meanwhile, several other European nations are advancing their own cannabis reform efforts. Switzerland is currently in the midst of a five-year pilot program that allows 5,000 Swiss adults to legally buy and use organic weed. The Netherlands is also working on its own pilot program allowing licensed cultivators to provide legal weed to the country's famed cannabis coffee shops.
Next spring, Luxembourg's Parliament will vote on a proposal that would allow adults to buy cannabis seeds and grow their own legal weed. And in April, Italy will vote on a new proposal that would fully decriminalize the cultivation, possession, and use of cannabis and certain natural psychedelics. Insiders believe that both of these measures will pass, but neither proposal would legalize full adult-use cannabis retail sales - so Germany could indeed end up becoming the first European country to establish a full-blown legal weed industry.