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Germany’s move to legalise cannabis expected to create ‘domino effect’

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theguardian.com

Germany is mulling over the consequences of soon becoming the world’s largest potential market for legally sold cannabis, as the country’s left-liberal government presses ahead with plans to allow the controlled distribution of the drug among adults.Olaf Scholz’s coalition government has in recent weeks reiterated its 2021 coalition-deal vow to legalise for recreational use what its Green and liberal party minister have taken to referring to as Bubatz, a slang word for weed popular among German rappers.A consultation process consisting of five public hearings with health experts, economists and cannabis growers concluded this week, firing the starting gun for a race to clear legal and regulatory hurdles within one to two years.

A draft bill is expected within the second half of 2022.Europe’s largest economy joining Canada and California in legalising cannabis for recreational use could create momentum to change the UN convention that restricts the cultivation of the plant and also puts pressure on neighbouring European states to follow Germany’s lead.“There will be a domino effect, for sure,” said Justus Haucap, director of the Düsseldorf Institute for Competition Economics. “European countries that have a much bigger problem with illegal cannabis use, like France, are watching very closely what Germany is doing at the moment.”Germany would also stand to reap significant economic benefits: with an estimated annual domestic demand of 400 tonnes of cannabis, Haucap’s institute predicts Germany stands to gain about €4.7bn (£4bn) a year through additional tax intakes as well as cost savings from no longer prosecuting those who enjoy a spliff or two.The government’s official motivation for legalisation is to break up the

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