For the third time this year, a country has taken a major step toward cannabis legalization.
Once it assumes power, the coalition of parties expected to form Germany's next government intends to legalize and regulate cannabis in the country. In September's federal election, the Social Democratic Party came in first with 25.7 percent of the vote and has formed a majority coalition with the third-place Greens and fourth-place Free Democratic Party. The latter two parties have long included cannabis legalization and regulation in their platforms. It is now a priority for all three.
"We are introducing the controlled supply of cannabis to adults for consumption purposes in licensed shops," the coalition's working group on health care stated in a paper obtained by German newspaper Der Tagesspiegel last week.
With a population over 83 million, Germany is the largest country by population in the European Union. It became the second EU member nation to announce plans to legalize cannabis this year, after tiny Luxembourg did so last month. Unlike Luxembourg's plan, which will not allow for a regulated legal market with dispensaries, Germany's plan includes regulations for licensing retail stores.
Neither country has set a formal time frame for their legalization plans. Whichever one crosses the finish line soonest will be the first to legalize cannabis in Europe. However, a country much closer to our part of the world might beat them both to become the third country on earth, after Canada and Uruguay, to fully legalize recreational cannabis.
In a series of rulings dating back to 2015, the supreme court of Mexico has been pushing the country toward legalization. In 2018, the court essentially ruled that cannabis prohibition was a violation of human rights that are constitutionally protected in the country. Mexico's Congress, however, has been slow to respond to these rulings. So slow, in fact, that this past June the supreme court got involved once again and effectively legalized cannabis itself. It is now up to the Mexico Congress to bring the country's laws into alignment with the court's dictates. Until then, cannabis is simultaneously legal and illegal in Mexico.
High Times reported that definitive action from the Mexico Senate is expected to come in December. As of now, the number of countries that have outright legalized cannabis sits at two. Soon, perhaps even by the end of the year, that number could more than double if Luxembourg, Germany and Mexico lawmakers act swiftly. ♦