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Featured Image Credit: PA
Germany is set to legalise the recreational use of cannabis, the new government has announced.
The coalition government features representatives from the SPD, Free Democrats, and Green parties, who have reached a power sharing deal after the recent national elections.
When they announced their plans for government today, they also said that cannabis will be regulated and sold to adults in licensed shops, and also put forward a number of other measures including reducing coal use and further plans to respond to Covid-19.
A recent report compiled by the German Institute for Competition Economics (DICE) stated that the legalisation and taxation of cannabis could contribute 4.7 billion Euros to the economy, as it would also save money that is currently spent by enforcing the laws.
In that report, Professor Justus Haucap also argued that the legalisation could create 27,000 jobs and allow the government to use the licensing process to monitor the quality of the cannabis on sale, curb addiction, and prevent underage people from getting their hands on it.
Last week, a spokesperson for the coalition government said: "We're introducing the controlled distribution of cannabis to adults for consumption in licensed stores.
"This will control the quality, prevent the transfer of contaminated substances and guarantee the protection of minors.
"We will evaluate the law after four years for social impact."
Cannabis was legalised in Luxembourg back in October, making it the first country in Europe to fully legalise the drug for both use and cultivation.
The agreement of the parties involved in the coalition will likely see the SDP leader Olaf Scholz take the position vacated by Angela Merkel as the Chancellor of Germany.
His appointment is expected to be voted upon in parliament on December 6.
The 180-page plan, which includes a lot more than just rules on cannabis legalisation, is also expected to be voted through in the next 10 days, after which it will become legally binding.
Before that, the Greens will hold a ballot of around 125,000 members, and conventions of the other two parties will seek approval of the document.
Scholz said that the so-called 'traffic light' coalition - named for the colours of the three parties involved - will not seek 'the lowest common denominator, but the politics of big impacts.'
Merkel had previously held the top job in Germany for 16 years, but her Christian Democratic Union party took a battering in the elections, leaving the on the outside of government.
More to follow.