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Opinion Poll: Cannabis Legalization in Germany 2019

19/11/2019 7 MIN. READ Kevin Urbaum
19/11/2019 7 MIN. READ Kevin Urbaum

As a label centered around holistic well-being, at VAAY we value open information and are driven to implementing methods that improve societal welfare. For both its healing and soothing properties, we believe that hemp has a strong potential for both society as well as the economy. As the cannabis industry is experiencing a rapidly changing landscape, with a shift in public and political attitudes due to the expanding legalization of cannabis for medical purposes, it is undeniable that the discourse is gaining more and more traction. To add value to this discussion, we collected over 12,000 survey responses in Germany to evaluate the public sentiment on cannabis legalization.

This survey was designed to measure the variety of opinions on cannabis legalization in Germany based on a series of demographics. In order to collect our data, we commissioned Civey to conduct the poll. The participants were then categorized by their State of residence, followed by their voting intent in the federal election. The results were further elaborated by analyses relating to the respondents’ age, marital status, employment level, gender, and whether or not they have children in the household. Overall, the conclusion is one of the most representative surveys on cannabis legalization in Germany, illustrating a clearer image of the current public opinion on the subject.

“With the European cannabis industry having a potential market value of cannabis at €123 billion* by 2028, we wanted to expand the discussion through reliable data and intelligence,” comments Finn Age Hänsel, Co-Founder and MD of VAAY. “As Europe’s biggest economy and a core member of the European Union, we wanted to find out what the public opinion on cannabis is in Germany. Given its influence, it would be interesting to see what the spillover effects could be in Europe if parliament advocated for the legalization of cannabis.”

Federal States and Administrative Districts

A detailed chart of the answers on state basis can be found at the bottom of the article

Overall, all federal States in Germany are in favor of the legalization of cannabis to some extent. The largest share of support in eight out of sixteen states is for the legalization, regulation, and taxation of cannabis (Schleswig-Holstein, Hamburg, Berlin, North Rhine-Westphalia, Hesse, Rhineland-Palatinate, Saarland, Baden-Württemberg), where Berlin is the closest to having a majority of support for complete legalization at 49.7%. Among these States, the average percentage supporting the legalization of cannabis for medical use is 42.44% whereas the average percentage in favor of its legalization with regulation and taxation is at 41.16%. Overall, at least 75% of survey respondents in each State are in favor of the legalization of cannabis for either medical or recreational use. On average, under ten percent of respondents in Germany overall, irrespective of their federal State, support the criminalization of cannabis. The largest share of support for its criminalization is in Saxony-Anhalt at 16%, whereas the lowest is in Bavaria at 6.9%.

In Germany, States are directly represented in the Federal Council (Bundesrat) which takes part in the legislative body alongside the national parliament (Bundestag). While the majority in all States support the legalization of cannabis to some extent, States where the largest share of participants support the legalization, taxation, and regulation of cannabis have a total share of more than half of the seats (35 out of 69 seats) in the Bundesrat whose allocation is based on population. The data shows that the trend for administrative districts are similar, with differences in several districts in Northern Westphalia (Detmond), Bavaria (Lower Franconia, Upper Palatinate), and Rhineland-Palatinate (Rhine-Hesse-Palatinate) where the largest vote share in these districts differed from the State-level.

Election Intention (Federal-level)

The data shows that in total, the majority of survey respondents irrespective of their voting intent in the German federal elections are in favor of the legalization of cannabis for medical purposes or complete legalization with regulation and taxation. Of the major political parties represented in the national parliament and European Parliament, over 50% of respondents who intend to vote for the Left Party (Die Linke, 56.6%) and the Green Party (Grüne, 58.0%) are in favor of legalization with regulation and taxation. In complement, the majority of those intending to vote for the Christian Democrats are in favor of the current state of cannabis legalization for medical purposes (CDU/CSU, 52.9%). CDU/CSU is also the party with the largest percentage in favor of legalization for medical purposes, with the least for complete legalization (27.5%). Individuals intending to vote for the remaining parties in the survey - the Free Democratic Party, Social Democratic Party, and the Alternative for Germany - had similar results (legalization with regulation and taxation: FDP 38.7%, SPD 46.0%, AfD 30.3%; legalization for medical purposes: FDP: 40.9%, SPD: 41.7%, AfD: 46.8%). By and large, voters who qualified as ‘Other’ (Sonstige) shared similar results to the Green Party (legalization with regulation and taxation: 57.3%, legalization for medical purposes: 29.6%). Respondents supporting Alternative for Germany (AfD) had the largest share for the criminalization of cannabis, at 16.8%, followed by the Free Democratic Party (FDP, 12.8%) and Christian Democrats (CDU/CSU, 10.9%). Overall, voters, irrespective of their voting intent are in favor of at least the legalization of cannabis for medical purposes at over 75% for each party, with the Green Party having the highest share at 91%.


Respondents by age from the youngest to oldest demographics show an inverse relationship between support for legalization with regulation and cannabis legalization for medical purposes. However, all groups have a minority faction supporting the criminalization of cannabis of less than ten percent. 65.3% of respondents aged 18-29 support the complete legalization of cannabis, whereas 20.3% support its legalization for medical consumption. Germany’s low fertility rate and aging average population prove that it is critical to understand the subject of cannabis legalization from an age perspective. While less than 10% of all age groups support the complete criminalization of cannabis, the data shows that there is an overwhelming response for at least the legalization of cannabis for medical usage, with the oldest survey respondents (aged 65+) supporting this option the most at 56.1%.


Based on survey results, all employment categories support the legalization of cannabis for either medical purposes or recreational use by at least 80%, with the support for its criminalization below 11% across the board. Students are by far and large the largest proponents for its complete legalization at 72.1%, followed by employees (49.7%). Unemployed persons share a similar percentage between regulated legalization and legalization for medical purposes (39.9% for medical purposes, 42.8% for complete legalization with regulation and taxation). Self-employed individuals share a similar sentiment, however lean more toward medical purposes (45.4%). Similar to the age demographic, the majority of pensioners support the consumption of medical marijuana at 56.6%, with 27.7% supporting its legalization for recreational use. 3% of pensioners would like cannabis to be illegal with impunity whereas and 9.2% are in favor of its criminalization.


Among male and female respondents, the results show that the majority are in favor of at least the medical legalization of cannabis. 33.9% of men are in favor of the current legal status of cannabis as a medical prescription, whereas nearly half of the percentage of male voters at 48.7% support the full legalization of cannabis with regulation and taxation. While the majority of women are generally against the criminalization of cannabis, their results show the opposite of male voters in the extent of legality: 49.6% of female respondents advocate for the legalization of cannabis for medical purposes, whereas 35.9% of women support the full legalization of cannabis. With respect to outlawing cannabis, more male voters share this perspective at 10.4% compared to 7.7% of women.

Marital Status

People who are married show the widest support for medical marijuana, at 46.7%, with 36.0% in favor of regulated legalization. Comparatively, our data shows that the majority of single survey respondents support the complete legalization of cannabis at 57.9%, whereas 28.6% support its medical prescription. Interestingly, divorcees are split in their views on cannabis legalization, with the share of votes being split into 43.0% and 46.0%, with complete legalization being the latter. Divorcees are also the demographic with the least percentage of respondents against the criminalization of cannabis, at 6.7% with 2.8% supporting illegality but with impunity.

Children in the Household

Parents overall view cannabis favorably with 44.1% of this demographic in support of the legalization and taxation of cannabis, a little over seven percent more than those in support of medically prescribed cannabis (36.9%). Comparatively, more parents also support the legalization of cannabis granted there is regulation and taxation in relation to those without children, whose support is at 41.1%, slightly preferring medically prescribed cannabis at 44.2% instead. Compared to the other demographics measured, parents are mildly more reserved about the legality of cannabis, with 10.1% in favor of criminalization, compared to 8.4% of adults who do not have children. In addition, a little over double the percentage of parents support the illegality of cannabis but with impunity (7.0%) compared to those without (3.3%).


In total, 84.1% of Germans support the legalization of cannabis to some extent with a close margin at 42.1% supporting the legalization, taxation, and regulation for recreational use whereas 42.0% support legalization for medical purposes. On the other hand, 9% of respondents believe cannabis should be illegal, along with 4.1% of respondents who believe it should be illegal with impunity.

Click here to download all statistics and numbers conducted in this survey.


This survey was conducted via Civey, a third-party opinion polling platform using machine learning technology. An online poll network of more than 25,000 web pages (URLs) through Civey Riversampling is used to gain user opinion around the clock. Civey relies on non-probability samples and has developed a process that compensates for possible distortions. The survey responses were verified to check if the user is a genuine person, provides sufficient information, and measures the possibility to which their response is truthful. A quoted sample will be drawn based on variables such as age, sex, voting intent in the German federal election, time of voting and place of voting, to ensure that a minimum number of respondents from each population group has been taken into account. Finally, the votes in the sample are reweighted according to other socio-demographics, such as age, gender, marital status, population density, purchasing power and party preference, to correct any remaining bias. Data is finally weighted based on official population data sourced from the Federal Statistical Office or the Federal Returning Officer.

For more information on the full methodology, please visit the following link:

*The figure for the potential of the European cannabis industry in 2028 is sourced from the European Cannabis Report (4th Edition) produced by Prohibition Partners and Aphria Inc.

Detailed chart of the answers on state basis:

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