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German Health Minister: Legalization Will Greatly Reduce Court Burdens

gavel courtroom court

Cannabis legalization in Germany will provide many benefits, including benefits to non-cannabis consumers. Arguably one of the most important benefits will be the savings to the nation’s criminal justice system, including Germany’s court system.

Enforcing prohibition policies that outlaw cannabis is often, if not always, extremely expensive. Every law enforcement position that is tasked with enforcing cannabis prohibition comes with a cost. The same is true for court proceedings to convict an individual of a cannabis offense, and in cases of jail time, that costs a considerable sum per offender as well.

Cannabis prohibition is particularly expensive in Germany.

According to a 2021 report from Heinrich Heine University Dusseldorf, Germany would save 1.05 billion euros annually by no longer enforcing cannabis prohibition, in addition to judiciary savings of 313 million euros per year. Imagine what those funds could do when applied to such things as education and infrastructure projects.

Those potential savings are not lost on Germany’s Health Minister Karl Lauterbach. Minister Lauterbach recently posted on social media about the judiciary savings that Germany will experience once cannabis legalization takes effect:

Auto-translated from German to English, the post states, “If cannabis becomes legal we must remove the penalties. The courts reject this, workload. But legalization will greatly reduce the burden on the courts. We cannot keep people in prison because we want to avoid having to work with them.”

With cannabis legalization inevitable in Germany despite cannabis opponents’ attempts to thwart it, Germany would be wise to immediately suspend cannabis prohibition enforcement against individual consumers within its borders.

Part of that involves releasing cannabis consumers from incarceration and expunging their convictions, as well as expunging all other consumer offenses currently on the books.