When will Germany legalise cannabis?
Angela Merkel’s political party is now considering the idea of legalising cannabis for recreational use in Germany. The Christian Democratic Union (CDU) is a center-right, conservative party that has been against cannabis legalisation over the years. Now, however, they seem to be abandoning their prohibitive views.
Marian Wendt, the party’s policy spokesman, shed light on their new position that cannabis could be legalised with controls surrounding the production and distribution of the crop. The spokesman went on to suggest that, "The resources freed in the police and judiciary should be used to fight the illegal trade."
Prior to Wendt, Germany’s current drug czar Daniela Ludwig revealed that the party had been considering legalising cannabis for years, and looking into different controlled distribution projects.
Germany’s cannabis views have been changing over the years
The newsworthy aspect of this is the party in question -- the CDU. Historically, their views towards cannabis legalisation have been staunch. In fact, Ludwig’s predecessor, Marlene Mortler, reflected the party’s conservative views when she lamented the trending legalisation debate as “heading the wrong way”.
The conservative party, however, is the last of its kind amongst the major political parties when it comes to its opposing cannabis views. The Social Democrats, the Free Democrats, the Greens, and the Left party have all taken a supportive view towards cannabis legalisation so far, and so these recent changes in the CDU are exactly what’s needed to get the country on the same page.
Germany has been working its way to a legal cannabis nation for a while now. For example,
- In 1992, the country reformed the drug law to avoid prosecution of those caught in possession of “a small amount” of marijuana. The Supreme Court tagged that “small amount” as 7.5 grams, but different states and cities within the country have since set their own definitions -- the smallest being 6 grams, while one state even allows up to 15 grams.
- The country legalised the drug for medical use back in 2017, and there was a question raised as to whether prohibiting the plant at all was a constitutional violation. Last year, the country’s former drug commissioner openly slammed nicotine as Germany’s biggest substance risk, not cannabis.
- Driving under the influence of cannabis can get your licence revoked in Germany. This year, however, the rules were relaxed to not ban licenses automatically, unlike previous policy.
There have been predictions that Germany will legalise cannabis by 2025, and those predictions seem even more likely with this latest change in the CDU’s views. Such a move will be a boon for the country’s economy, given the potentially huge cannabis market.
As of last year, Germany was the largest market for medical cannabis. Source.
With all the major political parties potentially aligning on this issue, Germany could very well join the growing list of countries that have legalised (or are about to legalise) recreational cannabis.
Recreational cannabis legalisation is trending worldwide
Germany won’t be alone in the legal cannabis landscape if they decide to authorise personal use.
- We’ve seen both Uruguay and Canada legalise recreational cannabis on a national level.
- Last year, South Africa’s high court also legalised the crop for personal use, citing constitutional rights.
- Also last year, Mexico’s high court came to the same constitutional conclusion in legalising recreational cannabis, and legislation was recently introduced regarding its regulation.
- This year, Illinois became the 11th state in the United States of America to legalise recreational cannabis.
- Recently, the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) legalised recreational cannabis.
And Germany certainly isn’t alone in considering legalisation. New Zealand is scheduled for a referendum on the topic next year, after legalising the drug for medical use last year.
Here in Australia, the cannabis buzz is also trending. Besides the ACT’s recent legalisation move, other states and territories in Australia are also considering legalising recreational cannabis. Also, Australians’ opinion on the cannabis debate is seeing support for legalisation trend upward, according to a recent Roy Morgan research.
With the global climate leaning towards legal cannabis on a country-by-country basis, Germany would be falling right in line with the trend if they authorise recreational marijuana.
The CDU’s change of stance on the cannabis debate is good news for advocates. The conservative party was alone in its prohibitive views on recreational cannabis, where other major parties support legal marijuana legislation. With the sudden hints at policy changes within Chancellor Merkel’s party, Germany could join other countries on the legal cannabis trend pretty soon.