Germany will legalise CANNABIS, new coalition leaders announce

Germany will legalise CANNABIS, country’s new coalition leaders announce

  • Germany is poised to get a new coalition government after three leading parties published a new power-sharing agreement today 
  • 180-page document lays out coalition’s legislative priorities for next four years 
  • Contained within it is a pledge to legalise cannabis to be sold in licenced shops 
  • Deal will also confirm Olaf Scholz as new Chancellor, if parties vote it through 

Germany will legalise the recreational use of cannabis, the country’s new coalition government has announced as party leaders struck a power-sharing deal today.

The centre-left SPD, liberal Free Democrats and eco-friendly Greens are now poised to take power from Angela Merkel’s conservative CDU party, two months after it was given a drubbing in national elections.

Publishing their agenda for government today, the so-called ‘traffic light’ coalition said cannabis will be regulated and sold to adults for use in licenced shops alongside a raft of other measures such as phasing out coal and steps to tackle Covid.

The agreement also puts Olaf Scholz, SDP leader, on track to replace Angela Merkel as Chancellor – the first time in 16 years that the top job has changed hands.

Scholz says he expects members of the three parties to vote the 180-page deal through within the next 10 days, after which it will become binding. 

Germany will legalise the recreational use of cannabis, the new coalition government has announced as it struck a power-sharing deal and laid out its agenda for the next four years

The three-way alliance – which has never yet been tried in a national government – will replace the current ‘grand coalition’ of the country’s traditional big parties if party members give the go-ahead. 

Negotiators have spent more than a month hammering out the agreement, which paves the way for a so-called ‘traffic light’ coalition – named after the colours associated with each of the parties. 

The relatively rapid accord will be greeted by a heave of relief by international partners wary of a hamstrung Germany while crises from the coronavirus pandemic to Belarus and a weak economic recovery rage.

Scholz, of the center-left Social Democrats, said the new government would not seek ‘the lowest common denominator, but the politics of big impacts.’

He stressed the importance of a sovereign Europe, friendship with France and partnership with the United States as key cornerstones of the government’s foreign policy – continuing a long post-war tradition.

The Social Democrats have served as the junior partner to Merkel’s center-right Christian Democrats.

Merkel, who didn’t run for a fifth term, is expected to be succeeded by Scholz, 63, who has been her finance minister and vice chancellor since 2018.

The three would-be governing parties have said they hope parliament will elect Scholz as chancellor in the week beginning Dec. 6. 

Before that can happen, the deal requires approval from a ballot of the Greens’ roughly 125,000-strong membership and from conventions of the other two parties. 

News of the deal came as Merkel led what was likely to be her last Cabinet meeting. Scholz presented the 67-year-old, who has led Germany since 2005, with a bouquet of flowers.

The negotiations over the alliance were relatively harmonious and speedy compared to previous coalition talks. 

But the political transition, with Merkel as a lame-duck caretaker, has hampered Germany’s response to the latest rise in coronavirus cases.

Few details have emerged from the closed-doors talks, including how the parties will divide up the ministerial portfolios. 

The alliance is a potentially uneasy mixture because it brings together two traditionally left-leaning parties with one, the Free Democrats, that has tended to ally with the center-right.

A preliminary agreement last month indicated that Germany would bring forward its deadline for ending the use of coal-fueled power from 2038 to 2030, while expanding the rollout of renewable energy generation.

At the Free Democrats’ insistence, the prospective partners said they won’t raise taxes or loosen curbs on running up debt, making financing a central issue.

Merkel’s Christian Democrats are currently preoccupied with a leadership contest over who will become their next leader and revive the party’s fortunes after it suffered its worst-ever election result.

The swift pace at which the three parties – known in Germany as the Ampel or ‘traffic-light’ after their colours – came together is a surprise given that the FDP is not a natural partner with the centre-left SPD or Greens.

But the parties are anxious to avoid a repeat of the messy negotiations last time round, when Lindner was vilified for pulling the plug on talks with Merkel’s CDU-CSU and the Greens. 

Mrs Merkel’s conservative CDU party has been ousted from power in an election drubbing following her departure as leader and as Chancellor 

Known for her steady hand steering Germany through the eurozone crisis, migrant influx and Brexit, Merkel is leaving office still widely popular with the German electorate.

Mindful of the value placed on a stable Germany, the veteran politician has taken pains to ensure an orderly transition.

Stressing continuity, she included Scholz in key bilateral meetings during the G20 summit in Rome in October including with US President Joe Biden.

When she met regional leaders of Germany’s 16 states for urgent talks last week on the pandemic, Scholz was prominently also in attendance.

She has also shrugged aside the fact that Scholz stems from a rival political party, saying she will be ‘able to sleep soundly’ with him as chancellor.

Vote of confidence from Merkel aside, Scholz is an experienced hand, having been labour minister in her first coalition from 2007 to 2009 before taking over as vice-chancellor and finance minister in 2015.

Known for being meticulous, confident and fiercely ambitious, he has cemented his reputation as a fiscal conservative – something that at times puts him at odds with his workers’ party.

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