The German Health Minister Karl Lauterbach has said he is confident that the country’s plans to legalise cannabis for adult use could move ahead, after receiving “very good feedback” from the European Commission.
EU approval for Germany’s cannabis bill is one of the few remaining stumbling blocks, due to concerns as to whether legalisation would be in line with European law. During a meeting on Tuesday, Lauterbach told a meeting of EU counterparts that the plans had now been checked by the European Commission.
According to a report by NTV, Lauterbach suggested that a bill to legalise cannabis in Germany will be presented in the next few weeks. “We will soon present a proposal that works, that is, that conforms to European law,” he said.
In October 2022, Germany presented the European Commission with a draft bill to ensure that the legislation change would fit in with European and global drug law. The country has been confident it can legalise cannabis after the 2021 general election handed power to the so-called traffic light coalition of ruling parties. The coalition is made up of the SPD, Greens and FDP, all of who campaigned for wider adult access as part of their election manifesto.
Should plans get approval from the EU and pass into German law, the country will become the biggest legal cannabis market in the world. A report by the Institute for Competition Economics (DICE) at the Dusseldorf Heinrich Heine University, found that a legalised cannabis market in Germany could add around 3.4 billion euros in tax revenue to the nation’s economy while saving around 1.3 billion euros in police and court costs.
The German government has previously stated that plans will only move towards drafting an update to the law if their plans receive EU approval, with Lauterbach previously stating that he expected this to take place in 2024. While the economic impact of cannabis legalisation would be significant for the country, the coalition mostly campaigned around social issues of criminalisation, a viewpoint that appeared to be confirmed by Lauterbach who was optimistic that the proposal would reduce drug-related crime and make cannabis use safer, stating “We will achieve these goals”.