Coalition government consults health experts, economists and growers in race to clear legal hurdles within two years.
The government’s official motivation for legalisation is to break up the illegal cannabis trade, thus gain control of the quality of cannabis on sale, prevent the circulation of contaminated substances and protect minors.
The country would also stand to reap economic benefits from the estimated annual demand of 400 tonnes of cannabis producing roughly €4.7 billion ($4.9bn) in additional tax intake. It will also generate cost savings from no longer prosecuting those who enjoy a spliff or two.
A consultation process consisting of five public hearings with health experts, economists and cannabis growers concluded this week, firing the starting gun for a race to clear legal and regulatory hurdles within one to two years. A draft bill is expected within the second half of 2022.
Europe’s largest economy joining Canada and California in legalising cannabis for recreational use could create momentum to change the UN convention that restricts the cultivation of the plant and also puts pressure on neighbouring European states to follow Germany’s lead.
“There will be a domino effect, for sure,” said Justus Haucap, the director of the Düsseldorf Institute for Competition Economics. “European countries that have a much bigger problem with illegal cannabis use, like France, are watching very closely what Germany is doing at the moment.”
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