While America tiptoes around the issue of nationwide cannabis legalization with a handful of states sledding the charge on distribution and license models, more democracies are turning to sweeping legislative measures to offer cannabis access to all adults. Similar to how we explored in our article on Canadian legalization, we’re eager to catch you up to speed on how Germany is spearheading a “green movement” overseas—no doubt inspired by Malta’s legislative overhaul.
With an announcement that has given rise to both enthusiasm and subdued panic depending on who you’re talking to, Germany’s new center-left Federal government – under social democrat Olaf Scholz – announced that they would enthusiastically move towards the legalization of cannabis for recreational use. This was unthinkable under previous government occupancy.
In Germany, at present, it is not legal to purchase cannabis products for any reason, though it is not criminal to consume it as such. We’re all familiar with this oxymoronic approach, and it seems as though Germany has nearly caught up to speed, with its sight set on the eventual regulation, monetization, and modernization of cannabis culture within its borders.
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The news of Germany’s plans was made known some days after the nation of Malta had legalized cannabis. Malta’s move came after cannabis’ more favorable re-classification by the UN in 2020.
Malta’s legislation normalizes the purchase of cannabis and permits carrying up to seven grams on one’s person. As well, citizens can grow a maximum of four plants at home, with 50 grams primed for use. However, it is not legal to use cannabis in public, with additional fines attached should consumption occur in the presence of children. In terms of production, it is only legal for approved non-profit cannabis organizations to grow and distribute.
While Malta’s legislation is in some respects unideal; and while Germany’s current leadership has yet to provide any concrete timeline for when legislation may be proposed or introduced, it is heartening to see their follow-up to Malta’s sensible, harm-reducing, and fiscally advantageous move. Is it wrong to be optimistic that current legislation other EU nations will follow suit?
Turning Tides in the EU – Cannabis Legalization
Considering the boldness of Malta, and Germany’s ambition, it is likely that other nations will participate in more interesting, informed discussions surrounding potential legalization. It is too early to predict what might happen in the next five to ten years, though there are some promising signs that tides will eventually turn in favor of a more equitable and progressive approach to cannabis in the EU: Italy is poised for a referendum this year, while The Netherlands, Switzerland, and Luxembourg are currently looking to make regulations more conducive to green legislation.
Our prediction is more of a hope—that momentum and universal acceptance will drive Cannabis Legalization forward. If America wants to keep pace with markets who allow for freer innovation, we should look towards pressuring local governments and leaders for more open reform. In time, the evidence we see in Canadian and European markets will no doubt serve as indicators that American innovation must be allowed to thrive domestically or be left out of the global discussion.
Greener Pastures Ahead
These moments foreshadow the possibility of a more consistent and sensible European approach to cannabis (medical or otherwise), which would then certainly have a ripple effect globally. Despite falling short of more ideal legislation, the significance of these developments is heartening to millions of cannabis users. In a world where a major portion of recreational use is to some extent therapeutic (not that there’s anything wrong with recreational use as such), Cannabis Legalization it is not presumptuous to say that societies deserve stable access to cannabis without the looming threat of basic fines, social stigma, or worse.
The probability of a greener, more cannabis-friendly Europe (and beyond) just got higher.