Germany Closer to Legalized Cannabis, With Top Parties Discussing Legislation

It might not be the first country in the general region to legalize cannabis at all, as that designation goes to Georgia. But Germany is still the largest market in the EU, and has potential to be a massive recreational market. Now, with talks between the leading parties from the 2021 election, Germany has been inching closer to legalized recreational cannabis.

It’s about time Germany legalized recreational cannabis, and it looks to be getting very close with negotiations among top parties. If it happens, Germany will join places like the US, where not only is cannabis legal in many states, but where an entire market of cannabinoids has opened up outside of regulation. This means compounds like delta-8 THC, THCV, and even hemp-derived delta-9, are available to consumers. We’ve got great deals for delta-8 and many others, so go ahead, and check ’em out by subscribing to The THC Weekly Newsletter. Also save big on Delta 8Delta 9 THCDelta-10 THCTHCOTHCVTHCP & HHC products by checking out our “Best-of” lists!


The Bundestag elections 2021

It was known going into the 2021 Bundestag elections, that current chancellor Angela Merkel would be stepping down, and not going for re-election. As Merkel has been chancellor since 2005, leading with her party the Christian Democrats, her departure has pushed the door wide open for new leadership. And after a 16-year reign, Germany seems to be happy to move in a different direction.

In this year’s elections, held September 26th, the center-right Christian Democratic Union, or CDU (the Christian Democrats along with the Christian Social Union in Bavaria), lost its stronghold which it had maintained for a decade and a half. For the majority of Merkel’s leadership, the CDU formed coalitions with the Social Democrats (SPD), a center-left party, which made them voting partners, stifling the Social Democrats on many issues where voting might have been contrary.

An example of this is the recreational marijuana bill that was voted on last year, and which didn’t pass even though it had enough support. The likely reason it failed is because Social Democrats, who would have ordinarily voted for it, didn’t do so because of the coalition with the CDU.

Bundestag elections

This election swung things in the opposite direction, with the SPD taking the most seats, though certainly not enough for a majority. The SPD won by small margins, beating the CDU 25.9% to 24.1%. This equals 206 seats in parliament for the SPD, and 196 for the CDU. Along with the SPD pushing things toward the left, it was joined by the leftist Green party which took 118 seats, the liberal Free Democratic Party which won 92, and the democratic-socialists the Left, which got 39. All of this positions Germany to vote very differently on many topics in the future, including cannabis.

Germany inches closer to legalized cannabis, as top parties talk about new legislation

Right now, Germany is technically between leadership, as no coalition government has yet been formed. But they’re working on it, and the result of the coalition might result directly in Germany creating a market for legalized recreational cannabis.

According to a representative from German publication, die Funke Mediengruppe, who spoke directly with coalition negotiators in regards to a partnership between the SPD, the Green party, and the Free Democratic Party (FDP), an unnamed spokesperson made this statement on behalf of the so-called ‘traffic-light’ coalition:

“We’re introducing the controlled distribution of cannabis to adults for consumption in licensed stores. This will control the quality, prevent the transfer of contaminated substances and guarantee the protection of minors. We will evaluate the law after four years for social impact.”

This goes in line with a report put out by Bloomberg a week and a half ago which stated: “Negotiators for the Social Democrats, Greens and pro-business Free Democrats are hammering out the details, including conditions under which the sale and use of recreational cannabis would be allowed and regulated, according to people familiar with the talks, who asked not to be identified because the discussions are private.”

It should be remembered that Germany has not officially settled on a formal coalition to govern, or a chancellor to take the top seat. However, this proposed union between the SDP, the Green party, and the FDP seems very promising. Under this coalition, its expected that SDP representative Olaf Scholz will be chancellor, and the hope is to have an operational government by early December. Since nothing has been formally decided, nothing can be said yet on the future of cannabis in Germany, though all eyes are on the country waiting to see what happens.

Traffic-light coalition

Cannabis in Germany

As of right now, Germany has the biggest cannabis market in Europe, but it’s a completely medical market. Cannabis is regulated through the German Federal Narcotics Act, and right now its illegal for recreational purposes. Simple possession charges can still incur up to five years in prison, though Germany stopped short at creating laws for using cannabis, so its use isn’t mentioned by law. As such, first-time offenders are generally put in a program, rather than prison, so long as they are not caught using more than a ‘small amount’.

This term is highly imprecise, varying throughout different parts of Germany in terms of the amount this relates to, which depending on location can be anywhere from 6-15 grams. Germany also tends to judge amount based on THC quantity in the product, so the potency is directly related to the calculation of the amount.

Germany does have a medical cannabis market, which started in 1998 with limited capacity. This was upgraded in 2017 to cover more medical issues, as well as being the start of domestic production. At that time Germany updated laws to allow more imports and exports of cannabis as well. All of this has helped to make Germany the biggest cannabis market in Europe.

How big? In 2019, Germany was 2nd in the world for cannabis oil imports, and ranked 4th for cannabis oil exports, 1st in Europe for both. In the last quarter of 2020, Germany imported as much as 3,264 kg of cannabis, bringing the year’s total imports to 9,249. The import market has increased 100% year-over-year from 2018-2020. The newly emerging domestic supply market is expected to inject a further 2,600 kg into the market.

In terms of how widely used the medical program within the country is, though BfArM – The Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices, could not give a specific answer to this, what it did provide led market intelligence firm Prohibition Partners to approximate the industry to be serving 128,000 patients a year.

Cannabis legalizations in Europe

If Germany does form a market for legalized cannabis, it would still be the first European country to do so, though not the first to allow some measure of legalization for recreational use. After all, allowing people to grow their own and use it, is vastly different than setting up a taxable regulated market where people can go to a store to buy a product.

Georgia cannabis

The first country to drop some laws of prohibition in this part of the world was Georgia (depending on whether you consider it to be Europe or Asia). Georgia became the 3rd country to do so, through a Constitutional Court ruling in 2018 that said punishing a person for using cannabis is unconstitutional as it doesn’t hurt anyone else, and since such punishments are restrictive of personal freedoms (almost the same reasoning used in both Mexico and South Africa).

This ruling erased penalties for cannabis use, unless a 3rd party is being hurt. What it didn’t do, was create a regulated market for the production and sale of cannabis, nor did it legalize growing it, leaving Georgians in the strange situation of being able to use and possess cannabis freely, but without a way to grow it or buy it legally.

The more recent near-addition to the European contingency of legalized countries, is Luxembourg, which isn’t shocking as the country has been moving toward relaxing cannabis laws for a little while now. It should be noted, however, that this is still only proposed, and has not gone through. In fact, it’s only scheduled to be tabled (discussed) in 2022.

Reported on October 22nd, the Ministers of Justice and Internal Affairs stated that Luxembourg is likely to drastically change its laws on cannabis, though whether it would be considered a full legalization is hard to say. The country, for example, would not take away penalties for having cannabis in public, just reduce fines and take away criminal records. Sounds more like a decriminalization in that way.

The part that counts as a ‘legalization’, is that should the change be made, the government will allow adults of 18 years or above to grow up to four plants in their house, and use cannabis privately. Thus making it very similar to South Africa and Washington DC, slightly better than Georgia, but not like Uruguay, Canada, or the legalized states in the US. Luxembourg has not proposed a legalized regulated market, so buying and selling, as well as having and using in public, would still be illegal in some capacity, and would still incur penalties.

This is NOT a done deal, and has been erroneously written like it is. It is backed by the current coalition leading the government, but does require passing a vote in parliament and being signed off on by the Grand Duke. These things are expected, though, as the country has been in talks to downgrade punishment for cannabis crimes for a while.

Luxembourg cannabis

Conclusion

Georgia’s partial legalization, and Luxembourg’s possible upcoming partial legalization aside, if Germany decides on legalized cannabis for the country, it would still be the first to institute full legality in Europe, and the first European country to institute a regulated market. As the governance of the country is leaning toward three parties looking to legalize, it looks like Germany might be adding to its large medical industry, a legalized recreational cannabis market.

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SPD Win Election in Germany, Is Recreational Cannabis Next?

Germany is going through changes. Not only did the country just elect new government officials yesterday in a national election, but longstanding Chancellor Angela Merkel already stated she’s stepping down. Possibly due to this, Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union lost to the Social Democrats in the election, signaling a political change in Germany, which could lead to a recreational cannabis legalization.

If the elections in Germany result in a cannabis legalization, there will be another massive market opening up. More legalizations mean more and better products for users, and this is great for everyone. Products like delta-8 THC were never heard of before the recent cannabis boom, but this alternate to delta-9, which causes way less anxiety and couch locking, is now available thanks to the expansion of the market. We’ve got great deals for delta-8 THC, delta-9 THC, THCVTHCPdelta10, HHCTHC-O and tons of other products, so check ’em out, and see how many options are out there.

Germany and cannabis

As with nearly every European country (with the strange exception of Georgia), recreational cannabis is illegal in Germany. Having said that, Georgia did legalize the recreational use of cannabis, but without legalizing cultivation, sale, or a regulated market, meaning there is no actual industry. If Germany were to pass a recreational legalization bill, it would still be the first European country to set up a regulated market, and the first EU country to do either a legalization, or a regulated market. But, we’re not there just yet.

In Germany, cannabis is recreationally illegal at the moment, and is regulated through the German Federal Narcotics Act. Simple possession can incur up to five years in prison. Weirdly enough, there’s no law against actual use, so those caught using are more likely to be put in a program than face a more serious punishment. This is not always the case past a first offence, however, and is also dependent on the person being caught with a ‘small quantity’ only.

How much is a ‘small quantity’? The term isn’t defined specifically, and varies throughout different parts of Germany. It can be anywhere from 6-15 grams depending on location, although, in Germany, it’s not just about the amount in weight, but the amount of THC within, so the potency can help determine the amount.

cannabis reform Germany

As there is no regulated market, sale and supply crimes are illegal, and offenders can incur up to five years for more basic crimes, and up to 15 years depending on extenuating circumstances. Cultivation crimes are also illegal and are punished with the same jail time as sale and supply crimes.

Medical cannabis has been legal in some capacity since 1998, with a major expansion in 2017 to cover more illnesses, start domestic production, and allow for more imports and exports.

Germany has the largest cannabis market in Europe at the moment. In 2019, it was 2nd in the world for cannabis oil imports, and 4th in the world for cannabis oil exports. Prohibition Partners estimates that as of March 2020, Germany had approximately 128,000 patients that receive medical cannabis per year, though BfArM – The Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices, was not able to give more specific information.

In Q4 of 2020, Germany imported 3,264 kilograms of cannabis, for a total of 9,249 kilograms for 2020. The import market has seen a 100% year over year increase between 2018-2020. Germany is just starting its domestic supply market, which is expected to filter another 2,600 kilograms into the market.

National elections

The new government which is being put together from the election, is the key to Germany and a cannabis legalization. On September 26th, 2021, Germany held National Bundestag elections to institute a new government. The announcement of current-Chancellor Angela Merkel’s stepping down means that after many years, Germany is about to introduce new leadership.

Merkel has been Chancellor of Germany since 2005, making for a 16-year reign. Her party, the Christian Democratic Union (CDU/CSU), which itself is a partnership between the Christian Democrats and the Christian Social Union in Bavaria, has led a coalition government for just as long. Perhaps Merkel stepped down because she felt tides turning. Or perhaps the election outcome was a result of the knowledge of her impending departure. Either way, after many years of the same thing, Germany voted for something new.

elections 2021

The Social Democrats and the Union were a part of the same government coalition prior to the election. Now that they are no longer part of the same coalition government, they are not necessarily voting partners anymore. The two parties have differing beliefs on many topics, like cannabis, and how it should be handled. Whereas the Union is for keeping cannabis illegal, the Social Democrats are for legalization, along with other parties like the Greens. Of the three top parties in the election in Germany, two are pro-legalization for cannabis, the Social Democrats, and the Greens. THe 4th is the Free Democratic Party, and it supports legalization as well.

How did things just change?

The Social Democrats (SPD) and the Union have been voting partners in the past, which is the reason a legalization bill didn’t pass last year, despite there technically being enough support to pass it. In the past, the Union was the biggest party, beating out the SPDs. This time around, the outcome flipped.

In this election, the Social Democrats (center-left) narrowly beat out the Union (center-right), 25.9% to 24.1%. The Social Democrats won 206 parliamentary seats, the Union got 196, The Greens (left) took 118, the Free Democratic Party (FDP, liberal) won 92, Alternative for Germany (AfD, right-wing populist) got 83, the Left (democratic-socialist) got 39, and South Schleswig Voter’s Association (SSW, social-liberals) got 1. Since there is no majority here, a coalition government must be formed.

Since 2005, the Christian Democrats have formed coalitions with different parties. In 2005 it was a grand coalition with the Social Democrats, in 2009 with the Free Democratic Party, in 2013 and 2017, it formed grand coalitions with the Social Democrats again. Some see it as stabilizing to have a government of the two top parties, some see it as a threat to have such a homogenous government. It is quite possible that the two parties will partner once again, but there is also the chance that other things could happen. It’s expected this could be a long and difficult process given how close the votes were.

Its’s also quite possible that for the first time in a while, the Union could be shut out. If a coalition government is formed between the Social Democrats, Greens, and Free democratic Party, this would mean a very different government than the past eight years. In a situation like this, all parties are pro-cannabis. Whether it would actually happen or not though, is hard to say.

However, even if this full coalition doesn’t happen, the Social Democrats have apparently already signaled that they would like to partner with the Greens. Even two strong pro-cannabis-reform parties together could do it. If those two parties partner up, cannabis legislation can be expected. Because of the strong showing for the Free Democrats, this goes for them as well, making several different ways in which this election can lead Germany into passing recreational cannabis legislation.

Election Germany cannabis

What happened last time?

A cannabis legalization bill was put forward last year that would have instituted a regulated adult-use market. On October 29th of the year, it was rejected in parliament, and this was mainly due to the coalition between the Union and the Social Democrats. Though the Social Democrats are for legalization, the Union is heavily against. Since the two parties voted together, the Social Democrats voted against legalization. If they are no longer paired in the future, a future vote could turn out very differently.

At the time the bill died, the Social Democrats held 152 seats, the Union held 264, and the Greens held 67. Looking at the most recent election, and things have certainly shifted in Germany, opening the door wider for topics like cannabis reform. Given that the Union had a 41.5% majority in 2013, and is down to around 24% now, it shows a change in thoughts and opinions. It’s not shocking the bill died last year, as the government wasn’t constructed to allow it to pass.

Since the time the Union was so strong in 2013, public sentiment has gone in a different direction concerning marijuana. The German Hemp Association conducts polls yearly on legalization. In 2014, when it started, the percentage for pro-legalization was 30%, and went up to 46% within only a few years. The organization stopped polling for opinions on decriminalization in 2018, when the percentage reached 59%.

Conclusion

Germany is the biggest country in the EU, with the strongest economy. Its already a dominating factor in the international medical cannabis industry. A legalization there could create a large, and strong cannabis market. As the election results are still rather raw, its impossible to know how things will pan out. Politics involve many things we don’t see as private citizens, so to a certain degree we’ll have to be patient, and allow things some time to work themselves out. In the coming months, there should be a lot of talk coming out on this, and the conversation about legalization should get even stronger.

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