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German Health Minister Sees Legalization’s Success In Canada Firsthand

Karl Lauterbach Carolyn Bennett

Arguably the most popular person in the international cannabis scene right now, for better or worse, is German Health Minister Karl Lauterbach. Minister Lauterbach made international headlines in October 2022 when he presented a plan to Germany’s federal cabinet and has served as a primary focus of international cannabis observers like myself ever since.

For several months cannabis advocates watched Minister Lauterbach’s social media channels with a very close eye, and even some of his in-person appearances yielded speculation as to what it may mean for Germany’s legalization efforts. Now that Minister Lauterbach’s legalization plan is being circulated amongst lawmakers in Germany, the focus on him has lessened, however, it has not completely subsided.

That was on full display when Minister Lauterbach traveled days ago to Canada and met with Canada’s Minister for Mental Health and Addiction Dr. Bennett to discuss cannabis policy. What Minister Lauterbach witnessed with his own two eyes, legalization succeeding, was significant. Below is his tweet about it:

Auto-translating his tweet from German to English, the tweet stated: “Meeting today with Canadian Minister for Mental Health and Addiction Dr. Bennett on cannabis legalization. The doctor says legalization has not led to an increase in consumption there, not even among young people. 70% of the black market is gone.”

A lot of anti-cannabis rhetoric is being tossed around these days in Germany as the legalization push continues, and one of my biggest pet peeves is cannabis opponents acting as if Canada didn’t legalize cannabis for adult use at the national level in 2018, and that there is not a significant amount of data available as a result. Unfortunately for those opponents, the reality we all live in speaks for itself.

As Minister Lauterbach’s tweet points out, claims that cannabis consumption will spike post-legalization have not materialized in Canada, and it’s likely that any limited increase in reported use is more indicative of longtime consumers finally being willing to admit it to government data collectors.

Furthermore, youth consumption, which cannabis opponents seem to constantly try to make the focus of their fear-mongering propaganda efforts. has not increased post-legalization in Canada, and that’s per Canada’s Minister for Mental Health and Addiction.

Cannabis opponents will cling to the out-of-context talking point that the unregulated market still exists in Canada, however, knowing that 70% of cannabis sales have transitioned to the regulated market is obviously meaningful. That’s a massive amount of revenue that used to go to organized crime and now goes toward boosting Canada’s economy, including to funding projects that benefit non-cannabis consumers.

Legalization works. It is working in Canada, and it will also work in Germany and wherever else lawmakers modernize their jurisdiction’s cannabis policies in a sensible way.