The German Health Minister, Karl Lauterbach, stated that he is starting preparations for setting up an adult-use cannabis market in the country. Lauterbach was formerly an opponent of legal cannabis in the country. However, his views have shifted as he now sees illegal cannabis sales as more dangerous for Germany.
Adult-Use Cannabis Coming to Germany
In Forbes, it was reported that Lauterbach announced he would begin the legal process of developing regulations for the country’s recreational cannabis industry.. However, the minister spoke with the German newspaper, Handelsblatt, and explained that he had changed his mind about legal cannabis. He now believes that the risks of the continuing prohibition of the plant will continue to outweigh the risks of legalization.
He was quoted in the newspaper stating, “I’ve always been opposed to cannabis legalization, but I revised my position about a year ago.” Lauterback has never been a fan of cannabis until just recently. In the coalition agreement, the parties agreed in November 2021 on the “controlled sale of cannabis to adults for recreational purposes in licensed shops.”
Justice Minister Macro Buschmann indicated that he would be starting the technical preparations for the policy change in partnership with the Ministry of Health and other departments. These tech talks will bring together representatives from the Health Ministry, federal, state, local governments, associations, the science community and other social players.
The governing coalition of Social Democrats, Green Party and Free Democrats announced in November 2021 that they were working on an adult-use cannabis legalization plan. Both the Green Party and the pro-business Free Democrats have called for this legalization in the past while also asking for sufficient guardrails to protect the children.
A Multi-Billion Dollar Cannabis Market
Because of these recent developments, the government is paving the way for a new multi-billion dollar cannabis market for Germany. This has been a long-time coming for German citizens and a unique process that people are bound to be excited about.
The details for cannabis legalization are to be worked out in the summer as part of an “intermediate spurt in health policy” because, according to the Health Minister, the [COVID-19] situation is expected to worsen. In addition to cannabis legalization, the [priorities] of the healthcare system are at the top of Lauterbach’s agenda. This includes the introduction of the ‘e-prescription,’ which is expected to roll out before the end of the year.
Lauterbach now believes that the dangers of non-legalization are greater than those of legal cannabis. He says, “In my opinion, contaminated cannabis administration is now a greater risk than controlled delivery to people who consume cannabis in a controlled manner in the appropriate quality.”
The process will begin with talks between the Federal Drug Commissioner, Burkhardt Blienert, and national and international experts. According to Blienert, many details still need to be clarified regarding the legal cannabis market. “This also includes how the submission process will go,” he said in March.
Companies Going into Joint Ventures for Cannabis
There are startups within Germany working on the question of “how to sell cannabis?” For example, a public cannabis company, Synbiotic SE, just announced a joint venture with the Enchilada Group. The Enchilada Group is a catering specialist company. They cater to brands such as Dean & David, The Big Easy, Enchilada, Pommes Freunde and Besitos.
The merger of these two companies is intended to lay a foundation for the first cannabis story franchise in Germany.
Germany’s Hemp Association survey found that adult-use cannabis would bring 4.7 billion Euros (US$3.4 billion) in tax revenue each year. If Germany does not enact legalization, it will join Luxemburg and Malta in Europe, which recently liberalized their cannabis laws.