Many European countries, including Germany, have legalised cannabis for limited medicinal purposes. Others have decriminalised its general use, but without legalising it.
The Social Democratic Party, the Greens and the Free Democratic Party have agreed to introduce legislation during their four-year term to allow the controlled distribution of weed in licensed shops.
Policy makers and sector specialists have said legalisation could reduce black market activity, where there are no quality controls. It could also free police resources spent on prosecuting cannabis use and raise tax revenues for prevention and therapy for addiction, the report said.
The German example could inspire other European countries. The country traditionally associated with cannabis in Europe is the Netherlands, where sales in coffee shops are tolerated but not formally legalised, meaning that the shops source weed from illegal growers.
"Germany would have a pioneer role," Florian Holzapfel, founder of German cannabis company Cantourage, which imports weed and processes it for medicinal use, was quoted as saying. "It would be important for it to be a success story as that would pave the way for other countries to implement similar legislation."
According to a survey published last week, legalising cannabis could bring Germany annual tax revenues and cost savings of about EUR 4.7 billion and create 27,000 new jobs.