Germany is in the midst of a cannabis legalization effort that is more complicated and robust than anything that has ever occurred since the dawn of cannabis prohibition so many decades ago. After the dust settled on Germany’s last federal election in 2021, the incoming coalition government announced plans to move Germany toward launching a regulated adult-use cannabis industry. The current governing German coalition, commonly referred to as the ‘Traffic Light Coalition,’ has worked since late 2021 to explore various public policy components of legalization. According to the results of a new poll from Ipsos, a strong majority of Germans support the effort.
Per Ipsos‘ news release announcing the results of the poll, “61 percent of those surveyed say they would support the controlled sale of cannabis in licensed stores. Only 39 percent consider the plans to legalize cannabis to be irresponsible and fundamentally reject legal sale and consumption.” The survey was conducted online between September 2 and 4, 2022, and involved 1,000 eligible voters between the ages of 18 and 75 in Germany.
Diving Into The Results
Fortunately, there’s majority support for legalization among all age categories (18-75), however, there are statistical differences between age groups. While 61% of the poll’s participants support adult-use cannabis legalization, roughly 55% of people aged 60-75 were supportive. That is quite a bit less than the level of support among poll participants that were aged 18-39 (65%). Sixty two percent of poll participants aged 40-59 years old expressed support for legalization.
The level of support for cannabis legalization does not extend to the legalization of other banned substances in Germany. When poll participants were asked if other substances should be legalized in addition to cannabis, 95% of people expressed opposition to such a public policy change. The overwhelming level of opposition was found across age groups, although younger poll participants were more likely to express support for further legalization compared to older poll participants.
Not An Easy Lift
The current general consensus for when regulated adult-use products will actually be available for legal purchase in Germany seems to be by the year 2025. After the results of the 2021 federal election in Germany became final there was hope for legalization to become a reality in 2022. However, time has proven that hope to be a bit too ambitious.
The fact of the matter is that what German lawmakers and regulators are trying to do is something that has never been done before, at least not at the same scale. Sure, Canada and Uruguay have implemented legal adult-use sales, yet those markets pale in comparison to the size and complexity of Germany’s market. Germany has a much larger population compared to Canada and Uruguay combined, and Germany’s geographical location makes things that much more complex to navigate.
I am personally hopeful that there will be multiple steps to implementing legalization in Germany. After all, there is no need to wait for sales regulations to be formulated before implementing personal possession, consumption, and cultivation provisions. Clearly, cannabis prohibition is a failed public policy in Germany and it would be wise for lawmakers to implement as many legalization provisions as possible that pertain to individual consumers prior to finalizing provisions geared towards regulated sales.