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German Cannabis Reform Moves Forward In Curious Ways

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A new poll suggests a majority of Germans support the medical use of cannabis as the city of Dusseldorf removes its ban on hemp products. Is more reform on the way?

The German cannabis reform discussion is clearly progressing – but it is proceeding slowly and in curious ways. Unlike in other countries, the driver of reform here is both federal and medical – meaning that the plant as medicine must be slotted into existing pharmaceutical and medical procedures. The reason is that Germany changed its law in 2017 to mandate that cannabis as medicine must be compensated by public health insurance if prescribed by a doctor.

Since then, the battle has raged, and in different ways and different levels. Patients are still fighting to get basic access. However, on the hemp and CBD front, things have stayed strange. Part of the reason is that many German authorities are hostile, generally, to the idea of cannabis reform – even on a local level (as seen in the United States, frequently over the last thirty years of cannabis reform). See California as a perfect example of the same.

However, in the German version of the same, it is hemp that authorities attacked first – in part because the regulated hemp market has clearly staked out territory that appears to be intimidating to those who oppose all kinds of cannabis reform. Indeed, the city of Dusseldorf banned hemp sales – a move which has just been successfully overturned in court. That said, the company involved still had to bear the legal costs.

A new survey by the German research institute Civey has found that 43% of Germans believe that cannabis should only be legal for medical purposes. Only 36% believe that it should be fully legalized, regulated, and taxed. That said, of the 15% who still believe that cannabis should be illegal for all purposes, the vast majority believe that those who use the drug should also be punished.

These numbers, however, seem very familiar to Americans if not Canadians who watched the entire conversation if not poll numbers like these flip drastically upon the introduction of recreational state markets – starting with Colorado and Washington State as of 2014.

As of this April, a Pew Research Center poll found that as of this year a whopping 90% of Americans want Prohibition to end and either medical and or recreational cannabis to be legal. This has changed drastically in the last decade. As of 2011, only 50% of Americans supported cannabis reform, according to Gallup.

Be sure to book your tickets to the International Cannabis Business Conference when it returns to Europe this summer!