Officials in Germany’s three-party government majority pledged before taking office back in November that the country could expect adult-use cannabis to finally become legal.
New chancellor Olaf Scholz, who replaced Angela Merkel and ended the outgoing chancellor’s 16-year-run in Germany’s highest political office, said federal authorities would expand the current medical market with a regulated retail program to help eliminate illegal sales.
Germany’s three-party coalition, which includes the left-leaning Greens and Social Democratic Party along with the right-wing Free Democratic Party, also pitched the tax angle: marijuana taxes would raise hundreds of millions of Euros each year, the coalition promised.
Missing among the promises to legalize the plant were details on how and when it was going to happen. On Monday, leading German officials finally offered some clarity.
Germany’s federal health minister Karl Lauterbach and finance minister Christian Lindner announced that leaders have already started drafting the planned federal law, and that a final draft could be introduced as early as this fall.
According to Forbes, Germany’s justice minister Marco Buschmann is also planning a separate measure to legalize cannabis through a consultation process with the Ministry of Health and other departments. The process could involve input from states and municipal governments, and allow adult-use sales to begin by the end of 2022.
While Scholz promised his administration would prioritize cannabis legalization, more pressing political issues, including the COVID-19 Omicron variant’s spread and the war in Ukraine, have since occupied most of the new regime’s time and attention.
Germany’s plans to legalize the plant for recreational use are still far from complete. Among the most pressing issues include what limits the government will place on sales of products containing THC. In Malta, the only European country to officially enact and launch an adult-use market, adults 18 years and older can buy and possess up to 7 grams of cannabis flower per day.
Also up for debate is whether German adults will be allowed to legally grow cannabis at home for personal use. At least one of the three parties that comprise Germany’s new federal government coalition, the Greens, supports home cultivation.
A recent study from the University of Dusseldorf estimates that adult-use will raise $5.3 billion in new taxes in Germany each year, and create around 27,000 new cannabis industry jobs.