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Germany Plans To Legalise Marijuana After Successful Coalition Deal

A new coalition deal was unveiled in Germany on Wednesday, 24th November, that will lead to Angela Merkel stepping down and Olaf Scholz, taking over the chancellorship. However, most notable about the new coalition is that the new government in Germany plans to legalise marijuana. This is something the Union continued to block in the past.

The coalition is made up of three parties: the Free Democrats (FDP), the Greens, and the Social Democrats (SDP), and will result in the formation of a new government.

The three parties have reached an agreement to decriminalise marijuana throughout Germany, along with a host of other related changes. Following in the footsteps of New Zealand, they also plan on promoting harm reduction. They will do this by allowing drug checking services in order to test for harmful ingredients in illegal substances.

The coalition states: “We introduce the controlled distribution of cannabis to adults for consumption purposes in licensed stores. This will control quality, prevent the transfer of contaminated substances and ensure the protection of minors. We will evaluate the law for social impact after four years.”

Germany plans to legalise marijuana, but what does this mean?

Under current German law, it is legal to consume cannabis, but not to buy it. Therefore, this new law will bring significant changes with it. This agreement to decriminalise marijuana means that its sale is no longer illegal in Germany, as long as it is sold in a licensed establishment that can ensure its quality and safety. Furthermore, only adults will be able to buy marijuana. The parties have agreed to review the impact of the new law after four years. They will then decide if the law should remain in place.

While countries like the Netherlands have decriminalised marijuana, its production, purchase, and sale are for medicinal reasons only. This means that Germany will be the first major European country to legalise marijuana for recreational use. If they go through with this agreement,  they will be paving the way for other countries to follow suit.

Why are they doing this?

According to Lars F. Lindemann of the Free Democrats, “The legalisation of cannabis, long blocked by the Union, allows us to have a regulated and taxed dispensary, controllable quality and effective youth protection through education.”

By legalising marijuana, the three parties hope to reduce black market activity, which has no quality control, and free up police resources. They feel the police spend too much time policing marijuana use, which is typically harmless, where they could be using those same resources for more important, and serious, situations. Legalisation also presents a big opportunity for the country, as can be seen by the US. The US has had a considerable increase in business opportunities thanks to relaxing cannabis laws, especially during the pandemic.

Germany plans to legalise marijuana

Last week, Heinrich Heine University in Duesseldorf published a survey showing evidence that legalising marijuana could create 27 000 new jobs in Germany and bring the country cost savings of up to £1.09 billion a year. And in the current climate, that is no small feat.

The opposition

While many are optimistic about the changes that legalisation could bring, some are against the new plan. CSU Party secretary Markus Blume has criticised the coalition, and warned that the proposal “makes a drug that is harmful to health into a lifestyle product.” Blume believes marijuana is a gateway drug and will be detrimental to society.

Unfortunately, Blume is not the only one predicting disaster. The outgoing government of Angela Merkel fears it is a dangerous move. Conservative parliamentary faction expert on drugs, Stephan Pilsinger, compared the legalisation of marijuana as a breach in a dam. He believes that it will lead to all other drugs eventually being legalised.

Key Takeaways

Now that Germany plans to legalise marijuana, Europe will get its first taste of total legalisation. In a way, it will be a test run for the continent and could be what motivates other countries to change their laws as well if it is a success.

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