Cannabis Legalization in Germany: The Final Blow to Global Drug Prohibition?

Research output: Non-textual / digital / web - outputsWeb publication/siteAcademic


The new German government plans to legalize cannabis. The bill for the cannabis control law includes the licensed cultivation of the soft drug and the selling in specialized shops to persons over 18 years. The biggest EU Member states consider itself in good company: Canada legalized cannabis in 2018. A number of American states soon followed. In the EU, Luxembourg and Malta took the step towards legalization in 2021. In the Netherlands, cannabis has been freely available in the famous coffee shops since the 1970s. Still, under Article 2 of the Dutch Narcotics Law (Opiumwet) the possession of narcotics, including cannabis and its derivatives are forbidden. The fact that Dutch authorities nevertheless tolerate the sale in coffee shops (so-called gedoogbeleid) is based on the opportunity principle. This principle gives the Dutch investigating authorities discretionary power in deciding which offences to prosecute and which not. Based on this, Dutch prosecutors consider the selling and possession of limited amounts of cannabis as tolerable.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationLiège, Amsterdam, Freiburg
PublisherEuropean Law Blog
Media of outputBlog
Publication statusPublished - 11 Jan 2022

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