Germany could move to legal cannabis in new drug policy changes being led by incoming chancellor Olaf Scholz.
Legalising cannabis could boost Germany’s annual tax revenue and cost savings by €3.4 billion (£2.6 billion) a survey by the Institute for Competition Economics (DICE) said this week.
Olaf Scholz and his centre-left Social Democrats (SPD) are in discussions with the environmentalist Green party and the Free Democrats (FDP) to build a three-way coalition. Negotiators for the three parties are still working out details of the policy including the rules under which cannabis would be regulated in the nation.
The survey, conducted at the Heinrich Heine University in Duesseldorf, and commissioned by the German hemp association, also found that the industry could create 27,000 new jobs as well as bring cost savings in the police and judicial system to the tune of €1.3 billion (£1.09 billion) per year.
The Social Democrats described the use of cannabis as a “social reality” in their election manifesto and called for an “appropriate political way of dealing with this”.
Currently, cannabis is legal for restricted medical purposes but not for recreational use or sale, although people caught with small amounts are not usually prosecuted, especially in the country’s more liberal northern regions.
The Greens and the Free Democratic Party have long supported a legalised cannabis market regulated by the state, but FDP leader Christian Lindner faced backlash for suggesting that cannabis should be sold in pharmacies, similar to the Uruagian model - opposing than coffee shops as structured in the Netherlands.
Projections suggest the market for growing cannabis in Europe would provide over €3 billion in revenue every year by 2025, an increase from €400 million this year according to the European Cannabis Report by research group Prohibition Partners.
With a population of 83 million and the largest economy in Europe, Germany’s cannabis market could be one of the biggest in the world. Last month Luxembourg became the first country to legalise the sale and growing of cannabis.
The new law allows adults in Luxembourg to grow up to four cannabis plants in their home or garden. The country’s justice minister Sam Tanson said on the unique move: “We thought we had to act, we have an issue with drugs and cannabis is the drug that is most used and is a large part of the illegal market.”
Angela Merkel’s centre-right Christian Democratic Party (CDU) is one of the few major parties strictly opposed to the legalisation of cannabis.
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