Germany already has a profitable medical cannabis industry, and signs continue to point to the country moving forward to legalize and regulate the sale and use of recreational cannabis in the near future. 

In an effort to learn more about one legal cannabis industry, German lawmakers and one of the country’s top drug officials toured a number of California cannabis businesses; heard from state officials, experts and advocates about their experiences working within the growing market; and discussed the steps California has taken to promote social equity within the industry, according to Marijuana Moment. 

According to a tweet from the German consulate in San Francisco, the German leaders “examined products of dispensaries with equity licenses” to learn more about “cannabis legalization opportunities and risks.”

One element of the tour had members of the German Parliament’s Health Committee visiting an Oakland dispensary, meeting with local stakeholders and activists to discuss best practices around cannabis legalization

Hirsh Jain is the founder of consulting firm Ananda Strategy and participated in the Oakland meeting. Jain told Marijuana Moment that it was “a really expansive conversation,” though German officials were especially interested in discussing public health considerations surrounding cannabis legalization.

“What they had said is like, ‘look, we want to legalize cannabis and we want to do it in the name of public health,’” Jain said. “That’s how they kicked off their conversation with us and that was kind of the framing for the conversation.”

California officials and stakeholders told the German visitors that one of the most significant threats cannabis poses to public health surrounds leaving an unregulated market and illicit space, where cannabis products aren’t tested and age restrictions for sale aren’t enforced. Therefore, the German officials were advised that building a regulated environment, where adult consumers can legally purchase products, diverts traffic from the illicit market and ultimately serves public health interests.

Jain said, as someone who often interacts with American politicians, he was “astounded” by the extent of their engagement in policy, calling it “very encouraging.”

“I think it’s very healthy that we are starting to have international discourse about different cannabis regimes,” he added. “The more that we can look at examples from other countries, the better we can figure out how to navigate this experiment.”

Dale Sky Jones, president and executive chancellor of Oaksterdam University, also participated in the meeting and said the officials were interested in the Bay Area’s unique experience with reform, alongside the “push-pulls within our community, public health and safety and the developments in the marketplace and the legalization process in California.”

Jones agreed that the Germans were “absolutely engaged and very curious,” posing a number of important and thoughtful questions to California cannabis professionals.

The German delegation also paid a visit to Sacramento and spoke with California’s top cannabis regulator, Nicole Elliott. They also toured a Lowell Farms cultivation facility, along with an SC Labs testing laboratory.

This isn’t the first time Germany has engaged with other countries to discuss legal cannabis. In July of this year, Germany, Luxembourg, Malta and the Netherlands held a historic, first-of-its-kind meeting among European countries to talk about the future potential of legal weed. It was the first discussion in an expected series. After the meeting, a joint statement said that the summits were conducted to develop a “common understanding” of cannabis, while also recognizing current, out-of-date cannabis laws.

“A structured multilateral exchange on the vast spectrum of cannabis-related issues contributes to sharing knowledge, best practices and experiences and foster finding solutions,” the statement says. “This first structured multilateral exchange is meant to facilitate further consultations regarding regulations of cannabis for non-medical and non-scientific uses.”

Leave a Reply