Following German Elections, Green, Yellow and Even Red All Mean Go for Cannabis

Germans have delightful ways of describing political coalitions. My favorite is the Jamaica coalition, called this way because the colors of the political parties involved are those of the Jamaican flag: green, yellow and black. Following Germany’s elections on September 26, the most likely outcome is a traffic light coalition, made up by the Social Democrats (red), Free Democrats (yellow) and Greens. And such an Ampelkoalition is likely to be good news for cannabis legalization.

A few weeks ago, we discussed the likely implications for cannabis if the pro-legalization Greens joined the new German government. At the time, a coalition between the Greens and the then-ruling Christian Democrats appeared to be a likely outcome. Given that the Christian Democrats were “the last of the major political parties in Germany to maintain a strictly prohibitive stance on drug policy,” we wondered if they could compromise with the Greens on cannabis.

The prospects for cannabis legalization under an Ampelkoalition are completely different. In addition to the Greens, the government would feature a second pro-legalization party, the Free Democratic Party (FDP). According to the FDP’s leader, Christian Lindner, legalizing cannabis “is about the only thing [the FDP] could easily agree with” the Social Democrats and Greens. As for the Social Democrats, who won the most seats in the election, they are described as being “mildly” for cannabis (H/T Kai-Friedrich Niermann for the article). According to the Social Democrats’ platform:

Like alcohol, cannabis is a social reality that we have to deal with adequately politically. Bans and criminalization have not reduced consumption, they stand in the way of effective addiction prevention and protection of minors and tie up enormous resources in the judiciary and the police. A regulated supply of cannabis to adults should be able to be tested in model projects by federal states and municipalities, accompanied by measures by prevention, counseling and treatment in the youth sector. In addition, we will be uniform across the country regulate that the possession of small amounts of cannabis is no longer prosecuted.

The tough job of forming a coalition is not done yet, as highlighted by the fact that cannabis is only easy topic in the eyes of the Free Democrats’ leader when it comes to reaching agreement with the reds and greens. However, to the extent an agreement is reached, it is hard to imagine it not being positive for cannabis legalization. When it comes to this traffic light, red, yellow, and green all mean go for Germany.

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