Party leaders in Germany’s incoming government coalition have reached an agreement to legalize marijuana nationwide.
The legalization legislation is expected to be introduced during the upcoming legislative session. It will also provide broader drug harm reduction services and restrict advertising of tobacco and alcohol, along with cannabis.
As it stands, personal possession of marijuana is decriminalized in Germany, and there is a medical cannabis program in place. But this forthcoming proposal would seek to establish a regulated market for adult-use marijuana.
The governing coalition—comprised of the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD), the Free Democratic Party (FDP) and the Greens—said that it will be “introducing the controlled distribution of cannabis to adults for recreational purposes in licensed shops,” according to a translation of a multi-party working group report first noted by an entity known as Funke Media.
REGULATING MARIJUANA WILL KICK OUT BLACK MARKET
The so-called “traffic light coalition” is making the case that regulating marijuana sales will help drive out the illicit market. That will be revisited four years post-implementation when a review of the social impact of the reform will be required.
And while the lawmakers emphasized that the objective of the reform is not to boost tax revenue for the country, FDP stated in its election manifesto that taxing cannabis like cigarettes could generate €1 billion annually.
The new report, which was agreed to by the coalition’s working group on health and care, also discusses how the legislation would promote harm reduction, in part by allowing drug-checking services where people could have illicit substances tested for contaminants and other harmful products.
There will also be provisions related to advertising, with the intent being to restrict the promotion of marijuana, tobacco and alcohol to deter youth use.
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 the legalization of marijuana.
Police unions in Germany have however come out against plans to legalize marijuana in what seemingly looks like an attempt that will most likely be in vain.
COULD IT BE AN EUROPEAN WAVE!
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.
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 on Monday 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.
MARIJUANA TAX A MAJOR ECONOMIC MILESTONE
Illinois has officially exceeded $1 billion in adult-use marijuana sales in 2021, a major economic milestone since the state launched its retail market last year.
The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) reported on Tuesday that there were $123,375,372 in recreational cannabis purchases in October, raising the total to $1.12 billion for the year so far.
Adults purchased 2,757,354 marijuana products last month, with most sales ($81,212,423) coming from state residents and the remainder ($42,162,949) from out-of-state visitors.
This is the eighth month in a row that adult-use marijuana sales surpassed $100 million in the state.
The new figures do not include sales of medical cannabis, which are tracked separately by a different agency.
The Illinois Chamber of Commerce president predicted back in May that retailers would sell more than $ 1 Billion in adult-use marijuana sales in 2021, and they’ve now accomplished that with two more months to go in the year.
The level of cannabis commerce means a significant increase in revenue for the state. Illinois sold about $670 million in marijuana last year and generated $205.4 million in tax revenue.
The state of Illinois generated more quarterly tax dollars from marijuana than alcohol for the first time earlier this year, the Illinois Department of Revenue reported in May. From January to March, Illinois generated about $86,537,000 in adult-use marijuana tax revenue, compared to $72,281,000 from liquor sales.
In July, state officials put $3.5 million in cannabis-generated funds towards efforts to reduce violence through street intervention programs.
Illinois officials have emphasized that the tax dollars from all of these sales are being put to good use. For example, the state announced in January that it is distributing $31.5 million in grants funded by marijuana tax dollars to communities that have been disproportionately impacted by the war on drugs.
DID MUSEVENI GOVERNMENT SEE THE LIGHT?
Elsewhere, In Uganda, though it is still illegal to use marijuana, the government in its bid to claim a stake in the lucrative business and generate much needed revenue landed deals to export medical marijuana products to Canada and Germany to the tune of Shs600b ($160 million) back in June 2019.
This, however, was not the first time an export of such nature happened in Uganda as reported by Daily Monitor that the country exported unprocessed cannabis buds/ flowers to the National Analytical Forensic Services in South Africa in December 2017 in a $10,000 order made to the Industrial Hemp (Uganda) Ltd, a private company.
A large part of this story was originally published by Marijuana Moment, which tracks the politics and policy of cannabis and drugs.