Marijuana legalization is not confined to American states. But many countries outside the U.S. are taking a conservative approach. Germany is an exception. Officials in the country have recently unveiled a draft of Germanys Cannabis Legalization Bill. Read on to learn about the current legislation.
What Does Germanys Cannabis Legalization Bill Entail?
Germanys cannabis legalization bill allows adults to grow up to three plants at home for personal use. They would be permitted to extract oils and manufacture concentrates from the oil.
Pilot programs for commercial sales would be established throughout the country when the second pillar of the legalization plan is released later this year. Currently, the first pillar of the plan is being reviewed. It is expected to advance through the cabinet next month.
People will be permitted to possess up to 25 grams of weed.
Rules are being established regarding social clubs throughout Germany. People who work at the clubs will be permitted to possess marijuana exceeding the otherwise acceptable 25 grams. The clubs must be located more than 200 meters from local schools. The cities and districts in the country could only have one social club per every 6000 residents.
Social club permits would be valid for up to seven years and may receive an extension after five years. Membership would be granted for at least two months.
Health Minister Karl Lauterbach weighed in stating that Germanys cannabis legalization bill “can dry up the black market and fight crime by making it possible to sell cannabis to adults within clear limits.” He also made it clear that regulations would be put in place to prevent youth from accessing marijuana.
What Else Does Germanys Cannabis Legalization Bill Say?
Germanys cannabis legalization bill goes into more detail concerning its benefits and regulations.
“Current developments show that the consumption of cannabis is increasing, especially among young people, despite the existing prohibition regulations. The law aims to contribute to improved health protection, strengthen cannabis-related education and prevention, curb the illegal cannabis market, and strengthen child and youth protection. To protect consumers, the quality of consumer cannabis should be controlled, and the transfer of contaminated substances should be prevented,” reads a summary of the legislation.
“The draft law will make it easier for consumers to use cannabis responsibly. Private self-cultivation, community non-commercial self-cultivation, and the controlled transfer of consumer cannabis to adults for personal consumption are made possible,” it goes on to say.
The summary also outlines the costs of implementing and regulating the program, the savings the country will see due to reduced enforcement, and the profits the market will generate through sales and wage taxes of cannabis workers.
Moving Forward with Germanys Cannabis Legalization Bill
The government is working to advance Germanys cannabis legalization bill. They will also send separate commercial pilot program legislation to the European Commission. The Commission will review it before it is enacted.
The initial pilot program will allow cannabis sales in jurisdictions that approve dispensaries in their communities. Further reform will be assessed over the next five years. Officials will focus on the impact sales have on consumption trends and the illegal market.
Approval is expected by August.
History of Germanys Cannabis Legalization Bill
Germany legalized medical marijuana in 2017. The legislation helped remove stigmas associated with cannabis throughout the country.
The government announced its plan to legalize recreational cannabis in 2021. The Russia-Ukraine War allowed them to detach themselves from Russian energy dependence so they could expedite the process.
The health minister announced a revised legalization plan in April of 2023 which was distributed to cabinet officials. Formal legislation concerning the bill’s framework was set to be released by the end of the first quarter of 2023, but the deadline was delayed “due to scheduling reasons”. Officials continued to revise it to avoid conflicts with international law.
The country’s Federal Cabinet approved the bill’s initial framework at the end of last year, but the government wanted to get approval from the EU to ensure it would not violate international obligations.
The framework was developed through reviews and negotiations within the government. The first steps toward legalization were taken last summer with a series of hearings that served to educate officials on what ending prohibition would mean.
Narcotics Drugs Commissioner Burkhard Blienert and other German lawmakers visited California and other U.S. territories to understand America’s approach to legalization.
The visit occurred about two months after top officials from Germany, Luxembourg, and Malta met to discuss the impact of marijuana legalization.
Feedback on Germanys Cannabis Legalization Bill
Lawmakers who support Germanys cannabis legalization bill have voiced positive feedback for the legislation proposed so far. However, some advocates feel it is excessively restrictive.
The health minister said the legislation received “very good feedback” from the EU back in March.
Surveys show majority support for legalization in Germany and other European countries.
What Germanys Cannabis Legalization Bill Means for the Rest of Europe
Marijuana is currently illegal throughout Europe except for Malta and Luxembourg. It is believed that Germanys cannabis legalization bill will inspire other countries to follow in their footsteps. Both the Czech Republic and Berlin have announced their intention to legalize marijuana.
The pilot programs in Germany are likely to encourage other countries to consider experimenting with cannabis sales. However, each country will be subject to EU approval before moving forward. We can only wait and see what the future holds.