German Health Minister Karl Lauterbach announced he would begin the legal process to set up an adult-use cannabis market, Forbes reports. Speaking to the German newspaper Handelsblatt, the minister explained he has changed his mind on the topic of legal cannabis and that he believes the risks of continuing prohibition outweigh the risks of legalization.

“I’ve always been opposed to cannabis legalization, but I revised my position about a year ago.” – Karl Lauterbach to Handelsblatt, via Forbes

“A question that people keep asking me: ‘When will Bubatz be legal?” he wrote in an April 6 tweet, “I would say: soon.”

Justice Minister Marco Buschmann indicated he would begin technical preparations for the policy change in partnership with the Ministry of Health and other departments. The technical talks will bring together representatives from the Health Ministry; federal, state, and local governments; associations; the science community; and other social players. Lauterbach says the talks will begin this summer and will lead to a bill toward the end of 2022, the report says.

The governing coalition of Social Democrats (SPD), Green Party, and Free Democrats (FDP) announced in November 2021 that they were working on an adult-use cannabis legalization plan. Both the Green Party and the pro-business FDP have called for legalization in the past, while simultaneously asking for sufficient guardrails to protect children.

A survey by Germany’s Hemp Association found that adult-use cannabis would bring in 4.7 billion Euros — $3.4 billion — in tax revenue each year. If Germany does enact legalization, it would join Luxemburg and Malta in Europe which have recently liberalized their cannabis laws.