German conservatives appear to loosen stance on marijuana

Over two years after the very limited legalization of medical marijuana in the country, Germany’s conservative ruling party could be looking into full legalization soon, Deutsche Welle reports. 

According to the outlet, a number of prominent members of the center-right Christian Democratic Union (CDU) led by Chancellor Angela Merkel have come out in public recently with statements that seem to suggest the CDU is shifting its attitude toward the drug. 

Marian Wendt, a spokesman for the CDU, told RND last week: “Cannabis could be freed for personal use, of course with controlled production and distribution. The resources freed in the police and judiciary should be used to fight the illegal trade.”

Meanwhile, Federal Drug Commissioner Daniela Ludwig, a member of the CDU’s sister party the Christian Social Union (CSU), recently hinted at a change in their stance in an interview with the Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung. 

She explained the country’s drug policy should be rooted in a “path that makes sense for the situation in the country” and with “the health of especially young people” in mind. 

“We need to stop with the ideologically charged black-or-white debates, because we won’t get any further,” she stated.  

Germany is a pioneer of medical marijuana in Europe

Weed for medical purposes was legalized in Germany, Europe’s largest economy, in March of 2017, making it one of the first countries in the European Union to do so. 

Seriously ill patients without alternative options for treatment can receive medical cannabis prescriptions. 

However, those in need of marijuana face immense supply shortages as the country currently only imports cannabis, mostly from Canada. Without domestic production, patients are also confronted with high prices for the treatment. 

The German Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices started awarding applications for producers in July of 2018, but the process has proven to be a lengthy one with the first harvests expected no earlier than the second half of 2020. 

As the Free Democratic Party, the Green Party and The Left all support legalization – citing concerns over black market products that could be tainted with potentially harmful chemicals – a change of heart from the CDU-CSU alliance could nudge the country in the direction of legalization. 

But before Germany makes up its mind about marijuana, the small neighboring duchy of Luxembourg is already on the path to become the first European country to legalize recreational weed

Earlier this year, Luxembourg’s health minister confirmed plans to allow cannabis production and consumption. 

Under the proposal, residents over the age of 18 will be able to purchase cannabis for recreational use within two years. 

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