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Germany’s Health Minister Should Not Be Scared Of Legal Cannabis Edibles

By Johnny Green

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Cannabis-infused edibles are not only a growing sector of the emerging legal cannabis industry; they play a vital role in boosting public health outcomes. After all, it is no secret that a lot of consumers light cannabis flower on fire and inhale the smoke. While cannabis smoke is not the same as tobacco smoke, it’s still better in nearly every instance for someone to refrain from inhaling smoke and instead consume something in a smokeless form.

To be clear, I am not shaming anyone for smoking cannabis, and I will be the first to point out that I do it myself every single day. For many consumers, it’s the easiest and most affordable way to consume cannabis. With that being said, legal cannabis edibles are a vital component of any winning cannabis public policy strategy that is geared towards boosting public health outcomes, such as what is being pursued in Germany.

German ministers unveiled a long-awaited national cannabis reform strategy earlier this month, with the plan involving legalizing personal freedoms such as possession and cultivation, as well as legalizing noncommercial cannabis clubs. Those components will serve as the first facet of a multi-pronged approach to legalization, followed by the launch of regional pilot programs.

If Germany’s Health Minister has his way, legal cannabis edibles will not be a part of the equation, and if so, that will be truly unfortunate:

Minister Lauterbach’s quote auto-translates from German to English to: “That has to go,” says @Karl_Lauterbach about hash cookies. So-called edibles “are often aimed at children and young people in a dangerously trivializing way. I don’t want them.”

For many years unfounded fears of legal cannabis edibles served as a go-to talking point for cannabis opponents. To some extent that is still the case, so it is unfortunate to see Minister Lauterbach echoing it. Minister Lauterbach should consider what legal jurisdictions are already doing to mitigate what he claims to be concerned about.

For starters, legal adult-use edibles are only sold via regulated outlets to people who can sufficiently prove that they are adults. Compare that to what is happening in Germany right now, where a thriving unregulated edibles market already exists and presumably no one is checking anyone’s ID.

Additionally, legal markets have advertising regulations in place pertaining to cannabis products, including no use of names, characters, or in some cases even shapes that can be construed as being ‘aimed at children and young people.’ Furthermore, packaging regulations are such in legal markets that everything needs to be in child-proof containers before being provided to consumers.

Clearly, there are reasonable steps that can be taken to help mitigate Minister Lauterbach’s professed fears. If other jurisdictions can do it, so can Germany. Otherwise, if cannabis edibles remain prohibited in Germany, the unregulated market will continue to fill the supply void, and obviously, the demand is not going to go away.

If Germany truly wants to legalize cannabis in a manner that boosts public health outcomes, edibles have to be a part of the legalization model. Consumers should not be forced toward inhaled cannabis products if they would prefer smokeless forms of cannabis. Just as consumers in Germany deserve to purchase and consume tested, regulated cannabis flower, so too should they be able to purchase and consume tested, regulated edibles.

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