Revolutionizing! Germany’s New Marijuana Plan

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Revolutionizing! Germany’s New Marijuana Plan

German Government Announces New Plan to Legalize Marijuana

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German health officials have unveiled a revised plan to legalize marijuana nationwide. The new plan seeks to provide for “the controlled delivery of cannabis to adults within clear limits,” while pushing back drug-related crime and the black market. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the details of the new plan and how it differs from the government’s initial announcement last year.

Previous Cannabis Policy Has Failed

German Health Minister Karl Lauterbach and Federal Minister of Food and Agriculture Cem Özdemir released the updated legalization framework on Wednesday, sharing details about the proposal during a press conference. “The previous cannabis policy has failed,” Lauterbach said. “Now we have to go new ways.”

A Social Reality

Özdemir said that “the use of cannabis is a social reality.” “Decades of prohibition policies have turned a blind eye to this and have primarily caused problems,” he said.

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Scaling Back the Legalization Framework

The new plan represents a scaling back of the legalization framework that the government had initially announced last year. While there would be limited sales components, there wouldn’t be a country-wide commercial cannabis market as originally envisioned.

Possession and Personal Cultivation Allowed

Instead, the government is looking to allow adults to possess up to 25 grams of marijuana and grow up to three flowering plants for personal use.

Nonprofit Cannabis “Clubs” Allowed

The proposal would also permit nonprofit cannabis “clubs” with a maximum of 500 members where growers could distribute products similar to those in Spain and Malta. Adults over 21 years of age would see a purchase limit of 50 grams a month via the clubs, and sales to adults between 18 and 21 would be limited to a total of 30 grams within a month.

Limit on THC Content

The government’s plan says there would be a limit on THC content, though the specifics are to be clarified later, and there would be a ban on advertising for the associations or for cannabis in general.

No On-Site Consumption

On-site consumption would not be allowed at the clubs, though they could distribute up to seven seeds or five cuttings per month to each member to be used in their own home cultivation.

Authorizing Dispensaries in Certain Districts/Cities

The proposal would involve authorizing dispensaries in “certain districts/cities in several federal states” throughout Germany that would be licensed for five years, giving officials an opportunity to study the impact of the shops on consumption trends and the illicit market. The localities would need to opt in to allowing the stores to operate.

Convictions Could Be Deleted

The government’s new framework also says that convictions for activity made legal could be “deleted from the federal central register upon application” and that ongoing cases will be dropped.

Mandatory Intervention and Prevention Programs for Minors

Minors caught with marijuana will need to participate in “mandatory” intervention and prevention programs.

Import/Export of Recreational Cannabis Banned

While the plan says that importing cannabis seeds from other countries to start up grows at the clubs “is being examined,” it also says that “there is a ban on the import or export of recreational cannabis.”

Seeking Sign-Off From the European Union (EU)

Germany will seek sign-off on that sales aspect of the bill from the European Union (EU). The possession and home grow language would not be subject to the body’s review.

Continuing Efforts to Promote Approaches to European Partners

The government said that it is “continuing its efforts (particularly through the missions abroad) to promote its approaches to its European partners” and is also examining how EU member states can press to make relevant international laws “more flexible and developed.”

Release Date and Timeline

Formal legislation detailing the government’s previously announced framework was initially set to be released by the end of the first quarter of 2023, but that timeline was extended “due to scheduling reasons” as officials worked to revise it in order to avoid a potential conflict with international laws.

On Wednesday, the ministers suggested a formal bill to carry out the social clubs part of the newly scaled back framework could come later this month, with legalization going into effect sometime “this year.” The draft law for the regional commercial sales pilot programs would come at a later, unspecified date.

Lawmakers’ Reactions

Lawmakers who have pushed the government for far-reaching cannabis legalization policies reacted mostly positively to Wednesday’s announcement, though some did point out areas they’d like to see improved. Kristine Lütke of the FDP, for example, said the framework “is a great first step” but that it is “too restrictive” with respect to THC limits and edibles, and that there should be more widespread allowance of commercial sales throughout the country.

Kirsten Kappert-Gonther of the Green Party also decried the lack of “a clear commitment to edibles,” noting that they “contribute to harm reduction compared to inhalation.”

A First-of-its-Kind Meeting

Top officials from Germany, Luxembourg, Malta and the Netherlands held a first-of-its-kind meeting in 2021 to discuss plans and challenges associated with recreational marijuana legalization.

Leaders of the coalition government said in 2021 that they had reached an agreement to end cannabis prohibition and enact regulations for a legal industry, and they first previewed certain details of that plan last year.

Majority Support for Legalization

A novel international survey that was released last year found majority support for legalization in several key European countries, including Germany.

Conclusion

Overall, the new plan unveiled by German health officials represents a significant step forward in the country’s efforts to legalize marijuana. While the revised framework scales back some aspects of the government’s initial proposal, it still allows for the possession and personal cultivation of marijuana, as well as the establishment of nonprofit cannabis clubs. The proposal also involves authorizing dispensaries in certain districts/cities, and the deletion of convictions for activity made legal. With majority support for legalization in several key European countries, including Germany, the new plan could be a sign of changing attitudes toward marijuana across the continent.

FAQs

  1. When will the formal bill for the social clubs part of the legalization framework be released?
  • The formal bill for the social clubs part of the legalization framework could come later this month.
  1. Will there be a country-wide commercial cannabis market in Germany?
  • No, there wouldn’t be a country-wide commercial cannabis market as originally envisioned.
  1. Will adults be allowed to possess and grow marijuana for personal use?
  • Yes, adults will be allowed to possess up to 25 grams of marijuana and grow up to three flowering plants for personal use.
  1. Will there be a ban on advertising for the associations or for cannabis in general?
  • Yes, there will be a ban on advertising for the associations or for cannabis in general.
  1. Will there be a limit on THC content?
  • Yes, there will be a limit on THC content, though the specifics are to be clarified later.
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