Germany appears to be speeding up its cannabislegalization process. Finance Minister Christian Lindner tweeted cannabis will be legal “soon.” Health Minister Karl Lauterbach said there are a lot of technical details to work out, which are supposed to start this summer. Expect a draft legalization bill sometime before the end of the year.
The Germans plan to involve as many players as possible. The government wants coordination with federal states, municipalities, bureaucrats, medical personnel, and civil society associations before making any moves.
But this is a case of too many cooks in the kitchen? Or an attempt at speeding up Germany’s cannabis legalization process?
Is Germany Speeding Up the Cannabis Legalization Process?
The German federal government first announced it would legalize cannabis in November 2021. But since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, speeding up the legalization process has not been a top priority for the coalition government.
As far as the details go, there aren’t many. The government said it supports home cultivation. But they also said the government would regulate cannabis sales through licensed stores. No one has any other information regarding the regulations. Will there be THC limits on the products? What about bans on certain products, like edibles? And what about home cultivation? Is that a guarantee?
“It’s tough to say right now,” says Nawan Butt, Portfolio Manager at Purpose Investments. “We haven’t really seen any first draft of the bill itself. I would say, expect something that is much more aligned with the regulations around Germany’s current medical market.”
Germany legalized medical cannabis in 2017 and has since become the most prominent medical cannabis market in Europe.
A Legal German Cannabis Market
When it comes to cannabis, German lawmakers sound like the Canadians. Keep it out of the hands of children and subvert the black market. The University of Düsseldorf suggested that legal recreational cannabis could bring in over $5.3 billion in tax revenue and create 27,000 direct jobs in the industry.
But suppose the German’s speeding up of the legalization process consists of rushing it. In that case, they could end up with the same problems as Canadian cannabis. Namely, expensive, pharmaceutical-grade cannabis. Products that have trouble competing with the legacy market.
So far, the German playbook seems to be borrowing from the Canadians. Cannovum AG is a large publicly traded medical cannabis company in Germany. Licensed as a pharmaceutical manufacturer and wholesaler and listed on the Düsseldorf Stock Exchange.
The German company Cansativa is the sole distributor of all cannabis grown in Germany.
Germany also imports a lot of its medical cannabis. In 2020, they imported nearly 10,000 kg from the Netherlands and Canada. However, recently, Germany has been importing cannabis from Israel, Portugal, Spain, and Uruguay.
Excitement from Speeding Up the Legalization Process
If Germany introduces a draft bill by the end of this year, that could mean German legal cannabis by next summer.
“There’s a lot of people very, very excited,” says Nawan. “We’re also very excited taking a look at how regulations form, how their structure is going to work. Whether Germany is going to be protectionist, like a lot of cannabis jurisdictions have been historically and only allow for domestic cultivation. Or whether they took a look at it on a global basis and have an international program. So lots of curiosities around it.”
Whether Germany speeds up its legalization process or plays around with draft bills indefinitely remains to be seen. However, when Germany does legalize it, it will be a game-changer.
“This is a G7 country,” says Nawan. “Germany is a big market, about 80 million people. This is going to be the first larger European country to legalize adult-use cannabis,” says Nawan. “We’ve very excited about that.”