In Europe, weed is intrinsically linked with the Netherlands due to a longstanding culture of cannabis tourism in Amsterdam, where coffeeshops let customers experience an illegal—but legally tolerated—high, fueling the local tourist culture. More than 10% of Amsterdam's workforce is employed in the tourism industry, which is directly dependent on weed tourism. More than 20 million tourists, largely from the European Union, pour into Amsterdam every year; Dutch bank ABN Amro estimates
that, if weed tourism is lost, the city stands to lose up to $10 billion in revenue every year. But, as Germany steps up to become the first European nation to legalize recreational marijuana, the Netherlands' policy of tolerating illegal cannabis consumption will appear far inferior to the German alternative next door, diverting billions every year to Germany.
A study led by Heinrich Heine University found that legalizing cannabis would increase tax revenues for the German state by nearly $4 billion
, and it would reduce spending in the law enforcement system by $1.5 billion per year. It would also create 27,000 new jobs. Even more so, as more countries edge towards legalization, it would give Germany a leg-up in the inevitable upcoming battle to control a budding global market where Germany will be the only E.U nation with an existing supply and regulatory systems.
Neighboring Luxemburg has also launched a legalization bill, although passage through the legislature is not guaranteed. On the other side of the ocean, Mexico has also been on the verge of national legalization after the Supreme Court ordered it, but Mexican lawmakers have been dragging the process along far longer than expected. As such, Germany, Luxemburg and Mexico are all in line to snatch the title of third country to legalize cannabis.