Marijuana in Germany: Will Weed Finally be Legalized?

Throughout its history, Germany has held conservative laws around cannabis. But with recent election results, marijuana in Germany might finally be legalized.

The country recently had its election in September, where the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD), Germany’s centre-left party, won over the Christian Democratic Union of Germany (CDU). The CDU is the nation’s centre-right party and has held power for the past 16 years. Since the CDU is both fiscally and socially conservative, changes to cannabis laws were never really on the table. But the recent shakeup in the Bundestag might mean changes will soon come.

The SPD and Will They Legalize Weed?

So, where does the SPD stand when it comes to changes to cannabis laws? Officially, the party supports the full decriminalization of cannabis, but legalization looks unlikely right now. Back in 2020, the party voted against legislation that would have allowed for a legalized cannabis market.

It should be noted that the SPD’s attitude towards legalization might reflect a slow-and-steady approach rather than outright refusal to go beyond decriminalization. Full legalization might seem too radical and too quick of a social policy, so decriminalization could help test the waters first. If the legislation proves popular, we might see moves towards legalization. But given the current political climate, we are likely to see weed decriminalized rather than fully legalized.

What do Other Parties Think About Marijuana in Germany?

Unlike Canada, Germany has an electoral system that focuses on electoral representation. Why does this matter? It means that the country sees a lot more coalitions as parliamentary majorities are much harder to achieve. This year’s election proves much the same. The SPD holds 206 of the country’s 598 seats. To gain broader bill-making control, they will need to form a coalition with other parties. Since coalitions require their participants to make policymaking concessions, we might see other parties influence the SPD’s attitudes towards cannabis.

For example, the Greens are a likely candidate for an SPD coalition. Unlike the SPD, the Greens hold more radical approaches towards cannabis legalization. More specifically, they want to rid Germany of its informal cannabis market. To do so, they would allow the legalized selling of weed at designated locations. Though the SPD are against legalization, they might face legislative situations where they require the Greens’ support. If so, they might have to compromise their stance on legalization in order to gain the support of their coalition partner.

Overall, the decriminalization of cannabis looms over Germany. And with the push and pull of Bundestag politics, we might even see legalization of marijuana in Germany in the future.