Your latest cannabis business info from Europe

Your latest cannabis business info from Europe

2024-03-26

Cannabis legalisation and tourism fear in Germany

Cannabis legalisation and tourism fear in Germany

As Germany comes closer to legalising cannabis, concerns arise regarding potential consequences, particularly at the country’s borders. While Baden-Württemberg’s Interior Minister Thomas Strobl (CDU) warns of the looming spectre of “pot tourism,” the Mayor of Kehl remains unperturbed.

Strobl, representing the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), emphasises the need for vigilance against the emergence of “cannabis associations” in border regions, fearing they could fuel a surge in cannabis-related tourism. He calls for border patrols by the federal police, especially along the Franco-German border, to stem the inflow or outflow of cannabis.

“Our police force must ramp up efforts to mitigate the local repercussions of the Ampel coalition’s decision,” stated the CDU politician, underlining a commitment to combating the expansion of the black market.

Post-cannabis legalisation tourists?

Strobl anticipates that municipalities near the border will bear the brunt of Germany’s partial cannabis legalisation. Drawing a parallel with gambling regulations, he points out how stricter laws in France led to a proliferation of gambling machines in the border town of Kehl, attracting French visitors. “A similar trend of cross-border tourism from France to Baden-Württemberg is plausible with Germany’s partial cannabis legalisation,” he warns. Cannabis consumption remains illegal in France.

Conversely, the Mayor of Kehl, Wolfram Britz (independent), takes a relaxed stance on partial legalisation: “With no licensed stores and cannabis sales and distribution remaining prohibited, our primary concerns are alleviated,” he asserts. He does not foresee cannabis tourism from France as a likely scenario. Despite initial concerns about the emergence of numerous cannabis associations in the German-French border region, Britz notes a lack of permit requests in Kehl thus far. “To our knowledge, only German residents are eligible for club membership,” he adds.

Britz dismisses comparisons to the proliferation of gambling machines or tobacco sales, emphasising the absence of public cannabis retail outlets. Similarly, the main customs office in Lörrach, responsible for border checks, currently sees no need for intensified inspections, according to a spokesperson.

Lucha: aim is to reduce consumption

Manfred Lucha, Baden-Württemberg’s Minister of Social Affairs (Greens), emphasises the goal of reducing overall cannabis consumption through extensive information, counselling, and prevention measures.

“We aim to mitigate health risks for cannabis consumers,” he says.

Lucha criticises past approaches to cannabis, highlighting the thriving black market and the undue burden on law enforcement agencies in prosecuting consumers. He argues that enforcement has had little impact on consumption patterns thus far.

There is a week left for full cannabis legalisation in Germany, which is planned for April 1st. Despite all the challenges on the way, German government finally agreed on legalisation plans and future will show its outcomes.

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