Officials from Germany’s incoming three-party government majority said Wednesday they plan to legalize adult-use cannabis when they assume power in the coming weeks.
New chancellor Olaf Scholz, who will replace Angela Merkel and end the outgoing chancellor’s 16-year-run in Germany’s highest political office, said federal authorities will expand on the current medical market with a regulated retail program that helps eliminate the illegal sales and makes access to cannabis more difficult for underage buyers.
Germany’s three-party coalition, which includes the left-leaning Greens and Social Democratic Party along with the right-wing Free Democratic Party, said in a statement it expects marijuana taxes to raise hundreds of millions of Euros each year.
“We are committed to allowing ownership and consumption for adults,” a translated version of the statement reads. “Only through sales in licensed shops can the quality (of cannabis) be controlled, the transmission of contaminated substances prevented and the protection of minors guaranteed.”
Incoming leaders also noted that while taxes are a vital source of new income, excessively high taxes will hamper its ability to contain the black market. Proceeds from the tax will be used to fund substance abuse treatment centers and counseling for recovering addicts.
“The prohibition of cannabis criminalizes countless people, ties up immense police resources and makes it easier to get into harder drugs through illegal contact with dealers,” the coalition said.
Police unions across the country disagree. Union head Oliver Malchow told Hamburg-based PressePortal that ratifying cannabis would open the floodgates to an increase in crime. Malchow noted that legal cannabis has raised, not cut down, illegal marijuana sales in states and countries that allow the plant. He warned that Germany will suffer a similar fate if the adult-use proposal goes through as planned.
If and when incoming leaders in Germany enact the new adult-use initiative, the country would be the first in Europe to offer nationwide retail cannabis legalization. Canada and Uruguay are the only two nations in the world that currently allow recreational marijuana.
Legal cannabis bills have also gained federal traction in Italy, Mexico, Luxembourg and the United States, according to Marijuana Moment. Congressional bodies are considering measures in each of those countries.