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Germany To Usher In New Era For Cannabis Policy In Europe

Germany To Usher In New Era For Cannabis Policy In Europe

A recent announcement by the incoming governing coalition in Germany shook the foundation of European cannabis prohibition. The group of lawmakers announced a pending adult-use cannabis legalization measure that they plan to introduce in the upcoming session. The coalition, known as the ‘traffic light coalition,’ is composed of members from the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD), the Free Democratic Party (FDP), and the Greens.

Cannabis activists have worked very hard to legalize cannabis for adult use in Germany over the course of many years, and it is inspiring to see those efforts culminating in a viable legalization measure to be introduced in the upcoming session. Legalization in Germany is obviously a big deal for the people that live within the nation’s borders. However, the impact of the policy reform will likely be felt throughout the continent.

A Race To Be First

As of right now, no country on the European continent has fully legalized cannabis for adult use, although several countries are very close. Switzerland has allowed low-THC cannabis products to be bought and sold since 2017, yet, high-THC cannabis products are still prohibited except for medical use. Both Switzerland and the Netherlands are launching legalization pilot programs in a limited number of cities as part of multi-year public policy research projects.

In late 2019 Italy’s Supreme Court ruled that cannabis prohibition as it applied to individual cultivation was unconstitutional, creating some legal protections. However, lawmakers in Italy have so far been unable to pass a legalization measure to fully implement the Court’s ruling. Luxembourg recently announced that it will be legalizing cannabis for adult use in 2022.

Whichever country becomes the first in Europe to legalize all cannabis products nationwide for adult use regardless of the amount of THC contained will benefit greatly. With that being said, Germany would reap the most benefits by being first because it is the most populated country within the European Union, and it is home to the fourth-largest economy on the planet. Germany’s market is going to be massive.

An Enormous Domino

Technically, Luxembourg announced plans to legalize before news broke that lawmakers in Germany were also planning on legalizing. If Luxembourg does prove to be the first to legalize amongst its continental peers, it will be historic. However, legalization in Luxembourg will not be as big of a domino to fall compared to Germany.

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Luxembourg is small and mostly rural and only has a population of roughly 632,000 people. Compare that to Germany, which has the largest economy on the continent and a population of over 83,000,000 people. Germany’s political influence in the region is enormous, and when legalization inevitably works out in Germany, other countries are going to be much more likely to follow suit.

Legalization in Germany is so big that it will likely have a political butterfly effect that even extends to other continents. Germany is currently one of the largest importers of medical cannabis products, and when adult-use cannabis legalization occurs, it could result in Germany being the first country to legalize adult-use imports. It’s just one of many examples of what is likely to occur after Germany’s adult-use legalization law is fully implemented.

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