Should German Cannabis Legalization Include Social Equity Set-Asides?
There is a great deal of excitement in the air aus Deutschland after the German newspaper Handelsblatt reported last week that the Minister of Health, Karl Lauterbach, wants to prioritize recreational cannabis reform as early as this summer. This after repeated rumors earlier in the year that legalization was in a legislative slow lane—after COVID, the Ukraine, and whatever other crisis was more compelling politically. According to Lauterbach, not only has he changed his views about reform in the last year, but beyond this, he believes that the status quo actually does more harm than a properly regulated, legal market. The question now becomes how this might be achieved—especially in a country where both the initial cultivation allotments as well as the monopoly distribution license for the same were allocated in ways that were highly discriminatory, if not problematic beyond this for other reasons. Completely Resetting a New Normal There are a lot of debates, and plenty of ideas, now swirling about the “best” form of reform. This includes how to allow dispensaries to operate and what form they might take. But one that has not been mentioned (so far at least) is the idea of social equity set-asides. And for whom. In the United States, in part to compensate for decades of Drug War-instigated racial targeting and increased percentages of arrests and prosecutions for people of color, the idea of set-asides for these communities within the cannabis industry has been a part of the debate for most of this decade. It is slowly becoming a reality as more and more states sign up for reform. Here is the basic premise behind such considerations: People and groups who were unfairly and unduly targeted and punished by Prohibition should get a real opportunity to only reset their lives, but further, be…
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