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As the new year commences and we make plans for 2022, cannabis will be a hot topic in some areas of the world. There may be continuations from 2021 around legislations and regulations, and we might even see new trends for some regions and countries.
Legalization of recreational cannabis in Germany
Let’s first discuss the news that is at the top of my list: legalization of cannabis for recreational use in Germany. In December 2021, Germany welcomed a new chancellor, Olaf Scholz, who has several plans on his agenda, including legalizing cannabis.1 Currently, it is not illegal to consume cannabis, but it is to buy it. This would make Germany the first major European country to legalize recreational marijuana.2
The parties in the new coalition government agreed to legalize the sale of cannabis to adults if it is sold in licensed establishments where it is properly taxed and quality controlled. Some believe this move will allow Germany to “have a regulated and taxed dispensary, controllable quality and effective youth protection through education.”2 However, some of the other parties are not in favor of this. For example, Markus Blume, the party secretary of the CSU, believes it will make a “harmful” drug into a “lifestyle product,” and according to a study, 59% of people say it would be better left the way it has been since 2011.2
Although we can’t say for certain that Olaf Scholz will implement this decision, it will be a hot topic in this year’s cannabis news, so watch for updates.
Cannabis in the US
For most of human history, until the early 20th century, cannabis use was legal in the US. Between 1916 and 1931, however, 29 US states banned the use of marijuana.3 Then came the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937, which was influenced by the Federal Bureau of Narcotics Commissioner at the time, Harry Anslinger and essentially made cannabis illegal across the US.4
When we look at the legislation in place today, we can see the legalization of cannabis has started to come full circle across the US. As of July 2021, cannabis had been legalized for recreational use in 18 states and approved for medical use in 37 states.5 Given this groundswell of support for medical and recreational cannabis use, might 2022 bring a federal move to legalization? Let’s take a look.
Back in September 2021, a key committee in the US House of Representatives approved a bill to federally legalize marijuana with an aim of promoting social equity.6 While federal cannabis legalization does not appear to be a priority for the Biden administration, efforts continue in the House and the US Senate to bring federal policy closer in line with state laws. With these efforts ongoing, and with 60% of adults believing that cannabis should be legal for both medical and recreational use 7, might 2022 be the year we see federal legalization?
- Kirby, J. Germany’s new government has big plans. It might be a shock after Merkel. Vox, December 8, 2021. https://www.vox.com/2021/12/8/22810520/germany-government-olaf-scholz-chancellor-greens-fdp
- Schuetze, C.F. The new German government plans to legalize Cannabis. The New York Times, November 24, 2021. https://www.nytimes.com/2021/11/24/world/europe/german-government-cannabis.html
- Speights, K. A Guide to Marijuana Legalization in the United States. The Motley Fool, November 29, 2021. https://www.fool.com/investing/stock-market/market-sectors/healthcare/marijuana-stocks/marijuana-legalization/
- US Customs and Border Protection: Did You Know… Marijuana Was Once a Legal Cross-Border Import? Last modified December 20, 2019. https://www.cbp.gov/about/history/did-you-know/marijuana
- Hupka, S. Senate moves to legalize pot at federal level. What are the chances? Los Angeles Times, July 29, 2021. https://www.latimes.com/politics/story/2021-07-29/what-are-the-chances-senate-will-legalize-pot-marijuana
- Jaeger, K. Bill To Federally Legalize Marijuana Approved By Key House Committee. Marijuana Moment, September 30, 2021. https://www.marijuanamoment.net/watch-live-key-house-committee-to-vote-on-federal-marijuana-legalization-bill/
- Malyshev, A.; Ganley, S. Reading the tea leaves: What might federal legalization of marijuana look like? Reuters, November 15, 2021. https://www.reuters.com/legal/litigation/reading-tea-leaves-what-might-federal-legalization-marijuana-look-like-2021-11-15/