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"All of the objectives of the German government cannot be accomplished at the same time"

"A Japanese company offered last year a 1 Million USD prize to anyone able to solve the Collatz Conjecture, the hardest math problem known to mankind unresolved for over 80 years. The task at hand for German politicians regulating adult use looks dauntingly similar," says Oliver Zügel, Founder and CEO of FoliuMed, in a recent LinkedIn post.

"When the German Health Ministry leaked its Position Paper to the German media earlier this week, everyone in our industry took notice, trying to make sense of what this may or may not mean for their business interests. Rarely have we seen such a flurry of commentaries expressing deeply held convictions, including abundant use of exclamation marks, against what for now really is mostly still a conjecture," Oliver says.

"German politicians are trying to solve an equation with colliding and sometimes contradictory objectives without a clearly established hierarchy of priorities to make the necessary trade-offs:

  • Protect consumer health
  • Promote cannabis grown in 🇩🇪
  • Combat the black market
  • Raise taxes
  • Comply with international treaties
  • Be green and eco-friendly

Clearly, there is no imaginable outcome where all of these can be accomplished at the same time. If what you want first and foremost is combatting the black market, then high taxes, restrictions on potency, product variety, and distribution points are obviously a no-go. But whilst this is understandably the tenor from the industry and entrepreneurs struggling to make a living, one would hope that this can't be the overriding and most singular concern for the German Health Ministry."

"Germany has built over decades a reputation as one of the world's nations most concerned about consumer health, and its strict regulations around pharmaceuticals have been a light post for others. Therefore, ultimately some of the industry's short-term economic objectives will need to be sacrificed on the altar of consumer health and safety as that's the higher goal. First and foremost, don't do harm as Hippocrates demanded."

"In addition, the country has played a key role in the Green movement and created a legacy that should be protected. It is astonishing how this aspect seems to have not been given weight despite the role of the Green Party and its pro-cannabis voter base. If Germany really wants domestic-grown cannabis only, at the least one would hope there to be proposals to address its carbon footprint implications."

"The process of good ol' consensus politics so deeply engrained in Germany will ultimately create the needed priorities to solve the equation but don't expect the 1 M USD prize money to go to anyone just as of yet."

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