Germany Considers Marijuana Legalization in a “Historic Policy Turn”
Germany is considering joining the list of industrialized nations who plan to legalize recreational marijuana in the near – albeit unspecified – future.
Chancellor Angela Merkel’s governing party, the Christian Democratic Union, opened up to the idea of legalization in what German broadcaster Deutsche Welle calls “…a historic policy turn for the conservative party.”
Although medical marijuana was legalized by Merkel’s administration, it is strictly limited to severe illnesses when other treatment options have been exhausted. Naturally, this sudden swing is rather unexpected, coming from a centre-right party.
Regardless, there is a very real possibility that prohibition will end in Germany, bringing the first major European player into the market.
A Massive Market
Luxembourg already announced its intentions to legalize marijuana. But despite being first in this regard, Germany is likely to steal Luxembourg’s thunder.
At about 83 million people, Germany is the second most populous country in Europe (Russia being the first, at 145 million). Compare this to Luxembourg, who currently has just over 600,000 citizens, and it is evident who will be the behemoth in this industry.
Furthermore, the next ranking country comes nowhere near Germany’s population. The United Kingdom sits at a distant third with 67 million residents.
If executed properly, Germany’s influence on legalization could be massive, inspiring other prominent countries to follow in its footsteps.
According to Deutsche Welle, about four million Germans admit to using marijuana – and those are just the ones willing to be honest in government surveys.
“There is also a potentially untapped market. Following legalization, Canada saw little change in marijuana consumption rates, except among baby boomers. These individuals flocked to legal cannabis for mostly therapeutic reasons, as they had the money to do so and were nervous about dealing with the black market.”
Germany could equally see a similar trend.
Shifting the Argument
It is no secret that cannabis itself – let alone legalization – is bogged down by controversy, thanks mainly to decades of misinformation from politicians, educators and law enforcement. Consequently, this turns marijuana into a moral issue, which distracts from the real purpose of legalization.
Germany’s previous drug commissioner, Marlene Mortler, was staunchly anti-cannabis, claiming (as many do) that legalization sends a message to youth about marijuana being completely safe. She claims this is untrue and, admittedly, she is right; there are risks. However, the dangers are nothing near what the public has been force-fed.
However, Mortler’s replacement, Daniela Ludwig, is not on the same page as her predecessor. She wants to take a more pragmatic approach. Ludwig says:
“We need to stop with the ideologically charged black-or-white debates, because we won’t get any further. At the end of the day, what is the best way to protect the health of people, especially young people, and which path makes the most sense for the situation in this country?”
Ludwig hopes that legalization will free up police resources so that they can shift their focus on the illegal market. But if Canada’s situation is an example, it may be some time before police can adjust. In fact, it may initially raise costs as law enforcement establishes its own practices to handle things like cannabis impaired driving.
WeedAdvisor’s European Presence
As a global provider of business solutions in the cannabis industry, WeedAdvisor sees enormous opportunity in a potential German market.
Given how inaccessible cannabis is in that country, setting up a framework for recreational consumption will be a huge shift – much bigger than Canada’s. This is why we offer an all-encompassing list of business solutions to suit the needs of retailers, licensed producers and government agencies.
Each option is tailored to fit the individual needs of our clients, improving efficiency and generating excellent ROI in the process.