Germans divided over coalition's plans to legalise cannabis

Germans divided over coalition's plans to legalise cannabis

The new German government formally signed its coalition agreement on Tuesday, in which provisions are made for the legalisation and controlled distribution of cannabis. The decision has been met with mixed reactions from the German public.

Weed set to be legalised in Germany

Germany’s new cabinet and chancellor were sworn into office on Wednesday, after formally signing a coalition agreement. In the coalition agreement, the “traffic light” coalition, made up of the Social Democrats (SPD), Greens and Free Democrats (FDP), has made provisions for the legalisation of cannabis. “We are introducing the controlled distribution of cannabis to adults for consumption purposes in licensed shops," the parties state in the agreement.

The debate over whether cannabis should be made legal in Germany has been a long and controversial one. On one hand, proponents of legalisation argue that bringing distribution under state regulation will help end the sale of the drug on the black market, ensuring smokers aren’t consuming contaminated substances and protecting minors from street dealers. It would also be a vast source of revenue for the German government through taxation.

However, those who oppose legalisation argue that cannabis has significant health risks. Prolonged use of the drug can greatly raise the risk of mental disorders like schizophrenia and psychosis, with many arguing that cannabis increases the risk of work and road traffic accidents, as it makes users feel lethargic and decreases reaction times. CSU Secretary General Markus Blume has also warned about the effects of poor drug policy: “The Netherlands shows where a lax drug policy leads a country: to a playground for organised crime. We strictly reject the planned legalisation of cannabis."

Germans have mixed feelings over legalisation

A recent survey by the Civey research institute has revealed that Germans are split over whether they think the legalisation of cannabis is a positive thing. According to the survey, 43 percent of people indicated they saw the new coalition’s plans to legalise weed as positive. Similarly, 43 percent of people reacted negatively to the plans, whilst the remaining 14 percent were undecided.

When it comes to demographics, younger people are much more in favour of legalising cannabis than older people. According to the survey’s results, 66 percent of people aged between 18 and 29 thought positively of the government’s plans, whilst only 31 percent of people over the age of 65 thought the same.

When it comes to political affiliation, it is perhaps unsurprising that a whopping 75 percent of Green party voters had positive feelings towards the government's plans. Die Linke voters were also largely positive, whilst only around half of SPD voters felt positive about the plans. In contrast, the majority of CDU / CSU voters indicated their misgivings over the legalisation of cannabis, with 71 percent stating their aversion and only 18 percent being for it.

William Nehra


William Nehra

William studied a masters in Classics at the University of Amsterdam. He is a big fan of Ancient History and football, particularly his beloved Watford FC.

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