A Tale of Two Countries: Cannabis Reform Takes Divergent Track in Germany and UK

The two countries have long shared strong cultural, business, and political ties. However, it is very clear that they are heading on vastly divergent tracks right now, including approaches to cannabis reform

Cannabis is increasingly a zeitgeist issue across almost every part of life right now – from lifestyle choices and business opportunities to the cultural aspects of the same. That this is true in politics is hardly a surprise.

One of the clearest ways, however, to see how divergent policies on cannabis are right now is when one compares the UK and Germany.

Deutschland Paves the Way for Greater Reform Elsewhere

Over the past two weeks, between “leaks” aka unofficial press briefings, and to stave off political upheaval over a highly unpopular federal court ruling on hemp flower, the German government has been quite forthcoming about its plans to shape legislation for cannabis reform. This is all proceeding pretty much on schedule, albeit with the cliffhanger of decisions in Brussels hanging over the same.

It is highly unlikely, however, that at a European level, bureaucrats are going to stall something now clearly afoot in multiple states across the region.

Beyond any specifics, which have already been tweaked, both the Health Minister and now the Minister of Justice, Marco Buschmann, have publicly gone on record as saying that the current prohibitionist policies are clearly not working and it is time to institute in a new era of cannabis reform.

And In a Universe Just Across the Channel…

In the meantime, the tragicomedy that is British political meltdown continues apace, with Liz Truss managing to become not only the nation’s second female PM but also the one to hold the shortest time in office, ever.

“Opportunities” for the fairer sex aside, the resulting chaos has created a situation where the reliably extreme right if not wing nut Suella Braverman to return to her post as head of the Home Office. Just before she was sacked by Truss for a security violation, Braverman had opined that she thought changing cannabis to a Class A drug was a good idea. This was subsequently backtracked by Truss’s government, but now, she’s back in the same role under Rishi Sunak.

It is hard to understand, given global advancements on the topic, not to mention the mess that the UK is currently facing on all fronts, why any politician would want to focus on taking the entire cannabis discussion backwards, but there you are. British “progress” has always had an air of comedy to it.

What Will Change the Current Course in the UK?

Even a general election is not likely to shake up the current discussion about cannabis reform domestically. Labour has usually ended up being almost as conservative about drug, including cannabis reform, as their Tory colleagues, with the additional problem that they are not interested in cosying up to business interests.

That said, it is also clear that there are multiple efforts afoot within the UK to push the debate forward, even if “just” on the medical side for now. How effective that will be to move other change forward is also unclear. For all the trumpeting about how progressive the German medical system is when it comes to coverage, those who are privately insured have a much better chance of obtaining legal supplies than those on public healthcare. That said, there is a much larger patient pool in Germany, which is part of the reason the government already has little choice when it comes to the next recreational step.

That is almost certainly further away in the UK than Germany, no matter the recent regressive federal ruling on hemp flower aus Deutschland.

It is also very likely that the Labour Party may decide to pick up the issue of basic reform, following Sadiq Khan’s lead in London (if he himself does not run for PM in the next general election).

The reality is that there is not much way to go backwards on this issue, no matter how much highly conservative influences are trying to hold back the green tide and no matter where you are.


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