Germany plans to decriminalize purchase and possession of small amounts of cannabis, allow licensed sale in stores, but advertising would be banned
Germany plans to decriminalize the purchase and possession of small amounts of cannabis as part of a long-awaited reform bill, which would fulfill the electoral promise of the center-left coalition that came to power last year .
The reform, which was leaked to the press group RND Wednesday would also allow the sale of cannabis in licensed stores and potentially in pharmacies, but ban advertising aimed at promoting consumption.
The so-called cornerstone document which has been circulated for discussion within the government represents a progressive step towards the proposal and adoption of legislation which could come into force during this legislature. But, in terms of significance, it represents a major step towards legalization in the EU's most populous nation and a potentially huge opportunity for the North American cannabis industry which has already benefited from US reform.
A handful of European countries, such as Portugal, have already decriminalized cannabis, but many more are waiting to see how German reforms unfold before taking action.
The document is the result of a months-long investigation by German narcotics commissioner Burkhard Blienert, which had to satisfy a wide range of interest groups and the three different coalition parties that pledged legalization in November. 2021.
His plan, on which legislation will be based once the rest of Chancellor Olaf Scholz's government approves it, would decriminalize the purchase and possession of up to 20 grams of cannabis by adults. It would also be legal to grow up to two cannabis plants at home.
The cannabis should then be sold in licensed shops and, possibly, in pharmacies in order to better cover German rural areas. There are also plans to allow 'specialty shops with consumption options', or coffee shops in common parlance. Germany has allowed the sale of medical cannabis in pharmacies since 2016.
In addition, there should be a limit of 15% THC, a psychoactive substance, in cannabis sold legally. For young adults between the ages of 18 and 21, cannabis should contain no more than 10% THC. Finally, cannabis sold in Germany should be produced in the country in order to avoid any conflict with international law.
Unfortunately for Blienert, his plan does not sit well with all members of the coalition and he may need to undergo further modifications to secure the parliamentary majority needed to pass the reforms, which lawmakers say could happen next. next year.
“Unnecessarily restrictive,” said Kristine Lütke, spokesperson for the liberal Free Democratic Party (FDP) and expert on drug policy, one of the parties in the ruling coalition. THC caps, possession limits, and stricter 21-year-old regulations “will push consumers into the black market; A disaster for youth, health and user protection,” she said. tweeted.
Kirsten Kappert-Gonther, Vice-Chair of the Health Committee for the Greens, said critical "anticipated obedience" in the importation of cannabis. Not importing and obeying 'rudimentary' EU law could mean the demand for cannabis cannot be met. A void that the black market would fill.
Still, Blienert's Social Democratic Party (SPD) provides more support. MP Carmen Wegge said "many points in the concept paper are welcomed". However, she adds, “Parliament has the last word”.
Thus, the long-awaited basic document will now turn into a much-discussed basic document.
This debate will be followed closely at the international level. Not only because Germany is the largest economy in the EU and plays a role model there, but also because global legalization is sought, with regulations, controls and transparency all along of the value chain, because in Germany nothing is left to chance.
The Ministry of Health, in response to a request for comment from POLITICO, said the coalition government had yet to agree a common proposal for cannabis reform.