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The German National Elections Will Forward Cannabis Reform – But How Much?

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Germans went to the polls last Sunday, returning a not-so-surprising result. What will this new government mean for cannabis reform?

There is a new day in Germany. For the first time in 16 years, Angela Merkel is no longer the Chancellor of the largest and most powerful country in Europe. Beyond this, Sunday’s election means a defeat, at least by the number of seats held, for the CDU – the centre-right party that has held power since 1949 (at least on the Western side of the country).

What this shifting alliance means for cannabis reform is now a topic that has spread across at least the German if not European industry. What is certain, no matter what is that there will be some kind of change – although of course, any specifics must wait for the ruling government alliance to be formed.

Who that could be is still up in the air – but the SPD has already indicated that they are interested in entering an alliance with the Green Party – and both are far more friendly to at least basic cannabis reform than the CDU has ever been.

Here are the basic issues on the table.

  1. The entire cannabis debate must be re-examined and redefined. This includes both of the low hanging fruit at this juncture including removing CBD from the federal Narcotics Act as well as decriminalization of all cannabis possession. The patient count in Germany has continued to climb despite a lot of resistance and patient hurdles which have still not been solved.
  2. If the SPD forms an alliance with either or the Greens and FDP, one thing is certain. Recreational cannabis trials are going to be on the agenda here in a matter of 18-24 months, particularly as both Switzerland and Luxembourg are now hurtling towards the same – although in the case of Luxembourg, there appears to be a new impetus to slowing down that trial based on concerns in some quarters about “chaos” ensuing at the Luxembourgian borders with their European neighbours. If Germany changes its cannabis policy, this will be less of a legitimate excuse (not that this carries any weight now).

Regardless of the particulars and the timeline, this is still unbelievably good news. The biggest possible roadblock might be that the SPD might bring the CDU into the governing coalition. The CDU have been glacial so far in their acceptance of the entire issue.

Even in this scenario however, with so many of the other parties in favour of at least basic and logical steps forward, the next steps of cannabis reform are likely to unfold now far more easily – and with it carry the seeds of change across Europe and the EU.

Big changes are on the way in the German cannabis industry. Be sure to stay tuned to the International Cannabis Business Conference blog for more updates.