The leaders of Germany’s incoming governing parties announced on Wednesday that they have a formal agreement to legalize marijuana and promote broader drug policy harm reduction measures when they take power.
News of a tentative agreement on cannabis first broke last week, but the coalition pact has now been made official.
“We are introducing the controlled supply of cannabis to adults for consumption in licensed stores,” the parties said in a new 118-page agreement, according to a translation. “This controls the quality [of marijuana], prevents the transfer of contaminated substances and guarantees the protection of minors.”
Und ja: We will legalize it! 🥦
— Fraktion der Freien Demokraten (@fdpbt) November 24, 2021
As it stands, personal possession of marijuana is decriminalized in Germany, and there is a medical cannabis program in place. But this proposal seeks to establish a regulated market for adult-use marijuana.
The joint government will review the social impact of legalization four years after implementation.
Beyond cannabis legalization, the so-called traffic light coalition will also advance other drug policy reforms such as establishing drug-checking services where people can have illicit drugs tested for contaminants and other harmful substances without fear of facing criminal sanctions.
The governing coalition—comprised of the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD), the Free Democratic Party (FDP) and the Greens—also said that the legislation will restrict advertising for marijuana, alcohol and tobacco products.
🔴🟢🟡 Heute ist es soweit: Nach rund dreiwöchigen Verhandlungen haben wir uns mit @spdde und @fdp auf einen #Koalitionsvertrag verständigt, der die Grundlage für eine gemeinsame Regierung bilden wird. Seid bei der Vorstellung dabei – um 15:00 Uhr live auf https://t.co/QFods0nY3d pic.twitter.com/Oy3Qv45piV
— BÜNDNIS 90/DIE GRÜNEN (@Die_Gruenen) November 24, 2021
“When it comes to alcohol and nicotine prevention, we rely on increased education with a special focus on children, adolescents and pregnant women,” the agreement states. “We are tightening the regulations for marketing and sponsoring for alcohol, nicotine and cannabis. We constantly measure regulations against new scientific findings and use them to align health protection measures.”
While the lawmakers emphasized that the objective of marijuana legalization is not to boost tax revenue for the country, FDP said in its election manifesto that taxing cannabis like cigarettes could generate €1 billion annually.
This reform has been a long time coming in Germany. It was 2017 when members of the Christian Democratic Union and its ally the Christian Social Union entered into talks with Free Democrats and Greens about advancing legalization.
Police unions in Germany have come out against plans to legalize marijuana.
In neighboring Luxembourg, the ministers of justice and homeland security last month unveiled a legalization proposal, which will still require a vote in the Parliament but is expected to pass. For now, the country is focusing on legalization within a home setting. Parliament is expected to vote on the proposal in early 2022, and the ruling parties are friendly to the reform.
If either Germany or Luxembourg moves ahead and enacts the reform, they would be the first in Europe to do so. Canada and Uruguay have already legalized recreational cannabis.
Meanwhile, Italian voters may get a chance this spring to vote on a referendum to legalize personal possession and home cultivation of cannabis as well as psilocybin mushrooms.
In North America, meanwhile, the U.S. House Judiciary Committee approved a bill in September to legalize marijuana and promote social equity. Senate leadership is also finalizing a comprehensive reform proposal. Several Republican members of Congress introduced a bill last week to federally legalize and tax marijuana.
In Mexico, the legislature expected to vote on a bill to regulate cannabis within weeks, a top senator recently said. That comes after the Supreme Court invalidated prohibition on constitutional grounds.