Several territories around the world are starting to revise their prohibitionist cannabis policies and are considering legalizing it for either medical and/or recreational use. It’s no surprise as marijuana has been found to have a plethora of medical applications and has generated billions of dollars in taxes so far in a number of countries.
In Europe, German legislators have officially launched efforts to legalize cannabis countrywide and will be holding a series of hearings to help create legislation that can finally end cannabis prohibition in the country. News of cannabis legalization legislation in the country first came late last year when incoming coalition party leaders announced that they had a formal agreement to legalize marijuana and pass comprehensive drug-harm-reduction measures once they assumed power.
The 118-page agreement discussed the introduction of a controlled supply of cannabis for adult consumption as well as cannabis quality control and protecting minors. Earlier this year, the coalition government previewed some of the details of its marijuana legalization plan.
However, the government was forced to turn its attention to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and put cannabis reform on the back burner. Several months later, leaders of the coalition government are now taking the first steps to put an end to marijuana prohibition and launch a legal, controlled market.
In a recent press release, Commissioner for Addiction and Drug Issues Burkhard Blienert stated that the time to move forward on marijuana legalization has come. Blienert has been working for years to end cannabis criminalization in Germany and says that making this announcement has been especially gratifying.
Officials will begin by holding five hearings with international specialists and experts to debate the minutiae of the policy change and its possible implications. As per the news release, the five hearings will address youth prevention and protection, consumer health and protection, penalties and licensing regulations, supply chains and economic considerations, and international experiences. Blienert notes that officials are especially keen on protecting children and young people from the possible risks associated with passing cannabis legislation.
According to an official FAQ about the cannabis legalization plan, the experiences of other countries that have legalized cannabis will be used to supplement the “specialist knowledge” needed to implement the government’s legalization plan. The FAQ also stated that it still isn’t clear whether the government will include expungements, traffic controls or home cultivations as part of its plan to end criminalization.
Furthermore, the FAQ said that an addiction and drug officer would head the discussions on legalizing cannabis with the aim of presenting a first draft law before the end of the year.
If the biggest economy in Europe legalizes marijuana, there is likely to be a domino effect around the block that could see North American companies such as American Cannabis Partners enter the European market in the coming years.
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