Germany publishes bill confirming plans to downgrade cannabis as a narcotic

German Health Ministry unveils cannabis legalization bill

The German Ministry of Health has officially published its draft law for the “first pillar” of its plans to liberalize access to cannabis for adult use. German adults aged 18 and over would be allowed to possess up to 25 grams of cannabis for personal use and cultivate up to three plants, according to the country's draft law to legalize cannabis, published by the ministry of Health last week, reports Forbes. The law would also establish cannabis growers' associations that would allow members to obtain 25 grams of cannabis per day or 50 grams per month for personal use, and the associations could provide each member with up to seven seeds or five cuttings of plants per month.

Alongside the 163 page project, the government published a question-and-answer document revealing that since the law does not require approval by the Bundesrat, “it is expected that it will come into force at the end of 2023”.

While the draft is largely focused on establishing the arrangements for the operation of the proposed cannabis clubs (which Business of Cannabis will explore in the coming days), it crucially confirms the government's plans to remove “all active substances related to cannabis” from the list of narcotics.

Niklas Kouparanis, co-founder and CEO of Bloomwell, highlighted the potential of this change since the new framework was announced in April: “It is now official: The Ministry of Health no longer wants to classify cannabis as a narcotic. With this reclassification, a new era of progressive and solution-oriented drug policy is dawning in Germany after decades of stigmatization.
“Huge growth” on the horizon

While the first pillar, which focuses on rolling out culture clubs across the country, has been criticized for leaving little room for businesses to thrive as they intended, this key change should not only result in a significant growth of the medical cannabis market, but also an end to the legal proceedings against CBD sellers throughout Germany.

Speaking at last week's ICBC Berlin, the chief executive of German grower Demecan, Dr Philipp Goebel, said he believed the market was "poised for huge growth".

“I think there will be a major change with this first pillar, and taking (cannabis) out of the Narcotics Act will definitely grow the market in terms of medical cannabis.”

Asked if he had solid numbers on his growth rate projections, Dr. Goebel added: “I don’t have more precise estimates, but the estimates are between a factor of three and ten.

“I think doctors will also need to be better trained, but that will certainly lead to growth.
Obstacles will fall

Narcotics (“Betäubungsmittel”, BtM), as defined by the German Narcotics Act (“Betäubungsmittelgesetz”, BtMG), are the substances and preparations listed in Tables I to III of the Narcotics Act.

As Dr. Goebel explained to the audience, the prescribing and handling of narcotics at all levels of the supply chain is currently “a nightmare.”

“A narcotics prescription is a serialized prescription, so doctors have to ask for it to get it.

Doctors must therefore apply it to obtain it. “So they are very limited on how to prescribe medical cannabis at this time. And in pharmacies, the workload for processing narcotics is also enormous. And for us too, we have to do a complete inventory twice a year. It's a real nightmare.

“I believe that by removing this issue from the Narcotics Act, many of the barriers that currently exist in the market will fall and we will be able to adequately serve more patients.”

Dentons' Peter Homberg echoed these comments in a previous session, saying there were "some obstacles, at least psychological" for doctors prescribing narcotics, due to the additional levels. administration required.

“We know that in the medical market, doctors are hesitant to prescribe cannabis for medical purposes.

The bill must first be approved by the Ministry of Health before being submitted to the German parliament. If approved, Germany would join Malta and Luxembourg as the only European nations to legalize cannabis for adult use.

Tags : International Legal NewsMedical Cannabis and Legislation
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