Germany tones down plan to legalize cannabis after talks with Brussels

Self-cultivation and pilot project, the federal government agrees on key points

Germany announces revised approach to cannabis legalization. The German government watered down its plan to legalize cannabis on Wednesday, introducing legislation that would allow private cultivation and distribution through nonprofit groups, but not the widespread sale of the drug in shops.

In future, adults will be allowed to grow cannabis in certain quantities privately or in non-profit organizations and will be able to obtain it from licensed specialty stores under a regional model project. The Federal Government agreed to this after talks with the European Commission on the Key Issues Paper of October 26, 2022. The focus remains on controlling quality, preventing the transfer of contaminated substances, ensuring the best possible protection minors and consumer health and stem the black market.

As a first step, cultivation in non-profit associations and private cultivation should be made possible on a national scale. In a second phase, the sale in specialized stores will be implemented as a scientifically designed, regional and time-limited model project. In the model project, the effects of a commercial supply chain on the health and protection of youth as well as on the black market Peuvent être scientifically examined in more detail.

The legislation also provides for a pilot project for a small number of licensed stores in certain regions to test the effects of a commercial recreational cannabis supply chain on public health, the protection of minors and the black market.

The acquisition and possession of a maximum of 25 grams of recreational cannabis for personal consumption would also be made legal.

“The previous cannabis policy failed. Now we have to take new paths,” said Health Minister Karl Lauterbach.

Wednesday's announcement comes after Berlin held discussions with the European Commission on a background document published by the German government in October.

Federal Agriculture Minister Cem Özdemir states: “Cannabis use is a social reality. Decades of prohibition policies have turned a blind eye to this and, above all, caused problems: to the detriment of our children and adolescents, the health of consumers and law enforcement. Now we create a coherent and pragmatic cannabis policy from a single source, from cultivation to consumption. No one should have to buy from resellers without knowing what they are getting. Through controlled cultivation and distribution in the context of cannabis clubs, we strengthen the protection of youth and health. And: We have cut off the land to organized crime, which does not even hesitate to sell it to children. With a regional model project, we are also exploring the possibilities of a commercial supply chain.

The ministries involved in drafting the legislation – health, justice and agriculture – did not give a timetable for the plan. Many European countries, including Germany, have already legalized cannabis for limited medical purposes. Others have decriminalized its general use, without making it legal.

1st pillar: Private and community personal culture, non-profit

  • Within narrow and clearly defined legal frameworks, non-profit associations can co-cultivate cannabis for recreational purposes and sell it to their members for their own consumption. Members should be as active as possible in the association. The participation of employees of associations in culture is permitted, however, the commissioning of third parties with culture is excluded.
  • The processing framework conditions are governed by a separate law.
  • In addition to harvested recreational cannabis, members can also receive seeds and cuttings produced by the association for their own cultivation. It is under study whether and how seeds and/or cuttings for private cultivation can be obtained from associations at cost price without association membership being a prerequisite for this.
  • Approval and control are carried out by the State authorities, in particular with regard to compliance with quantitative, qualitative and youth protection specifications, as well as by spot checks and on-site visits. Personal data collected by associations in connection with the sale of recreational cannabis, seeds and cuttings to members may not be passed on to unauthorized third parties or used for other purposes. Membership in more than one association is prohibited.
  • Fines or withdrawal of license in the event of an infraction . Fines or imprisonment remain possible in the event of a repeat offense
  • The quantities cultivated and harvested are adapted to cover needs. There are reporting and documentation requirements for quantities produced and delivered. There is a ban on importing or exporting recreational cannabis.
  • The contributions cover the cost price, staggered according to the quantity supplied (possibly with a basic fixed price and a supplement per gram supplied).
  • The number of members per association is limited to a maximum of 500 with a minimum age of 18 and domicile or habitual residence in Germany. The number of associations may be limited by population density.
  • The association can only be managed by natural persons whose reliability has been verified. The association is managed according to the principles of association law. Personal liability of the association's board of directors for financial loss or violation of official requirements should only arise in cases of intent or gross negligence.
  • The supply of seeds for the (first) cultivation in the associations is made possible. The possibility of importing seeds from third countries is being studied.
  • Distribution of harvested cannabis (flowers) is only permitted to members; no disclosure to third parties; max 25g of cannabis per day, max 50g per month, max 7 seeds or 5 cuttings per month. The supply to adolescents under 21 is limited to a quantity of 30 g per month, in addition to a limit on the authorized THC content (limit to be specified). This should be reflected in variety selection.
  • It is examined whether and how seeds and cuttings can be exchanged free of charge between associations for quality assurance purposes.
  • Quality requirements apply to community cultivation (including prohibition of additives or mixtures such as tobacco or flavorings, pesticide requirements, no synthetic cannabinoids).
  • usual THC average Delivery is only in pure form (flowers or resin) in neutral or bulk packaging with attached information about the product (variety, including its content and content of other cannabinoids such as CBD), dosage and application as well as consumer and counseling center risks.
  • Consumption on association premises is prohibited, as is public consumption near schools, nurseries or the like and in pedestrian areas until 20 p.m.
  • At the same time, the sale of alcohol, tobacco or other stimulants and intoxicants is prohibited.
  • Access is only permitted to adults with strict age screening requirements.
  • Youth protection and prevention conditions apply: the youth protection, drug addiction and prevention officers to be appointed by the association have proven expertise; there is obligatory cooperation with the local drug addiction or prevention – advice center and minimum distance from schools, nurseries or the like.
  • There is a general ban on advertising for associations and for cannabis. Factual information is acceptable.
  • Minimal protective measures ( eg burglar-proof rooms, fences) prevent access by unauthorized third parties.
  • Possession without penalty (wearing in public) is possible for personal consumption up to 25g; there are criminal provisions for beyond possession, trade and sale to non-members as well as to children and young people as well as the sale of cannabis not grown in the associations themselves.
  • The limit values ​​in road, sea and air traffic are checked with the participation of the competent specialist committees. Regulations on the admissibility of driving under the influence of cannabis are based exclusively on road safety requirements.
  • Private self-cultivation without punishment consists of a maximum of 3 female flowering plants and must be protected from the access of children and young people.
  • It will be possible to register convictions exclusively for acts related to cannabis, for which the law no longer provides for a sanction in the future (possession up to 25g/own crop up to a maximum of 3 female flowering plants) removed from the Federal Central Register upon request. With the entry into force of the law, the ongoing criminal investigations and prosecutions relating to these facts will be closed by the possibilities already provided for by the Code of Criminal Procedure.
  • The scope of federal non-smoker protection law is expanded to include smoking cannabis-related products; additional protection for non-smokers in accordance with tobacco regulations must be ensured.
  • Participation in early intervention and prevention programs for minors who possess or use cannabis is mandatory.
  • After 4 years, the Pillar 1 requirements will be assessed with the aim of examining possible adjustments in terms of health and youth protection as well as the reduction of the black market.

In addition, the provisions relating to the protection of youth and health formulated in the key issues document of October 26, 2022 must be implemented. The intention is to design this proposed regulation in such a way that no notification obligation is triggered.

2nd pillar: regional model project with commercial channels

In the next step on the road to national regulation, the second pillar implements the other approaches of the key issues document of October 26, 2022, including an assessment as a scientifically designed, regional and time-limited model. : Companies will stop the production, sale and distribution to specialty stores of adult recreational cannabis under a government-licensed and controlled framework. With this pillar, the effects of a commercial supply chain on health and youth protection as well as on the black market can be scientifically examined.

  • The duration of the project is 5 years from the established supply chain.
  • There is a spatial restriction to delivery points and adult residents of certain districts/cities in several federal states (opt-in approach).
  • Within the framework of the law, the authorization for the sale of edible products is being examined in compliance with the strict rules for the protection of youth and health.
  • The model is scientifically checked and evaluated. European partners and the European Commission. The results are made available
  • Health and youth protection also follows on from the key issues document of October 26, 2022.

This part of the project should continue to be notified.

When implementation of the 2-pillar model, the federal government relies on the international and European legal framework as well as on the competences of the United Nations. The German government will refer to the declaration of interpretation issued in 1993 when ratifying the 1988 UN Convention and publish the declaration of its project with the objective and legal requirements of the UN Convention. In addition, Germany wishes to develop close, significant and transparent coordination with its European partners.


The author weedmaster

Media broadcaster and communications manager specializing in legal cannabis. Do you know what they say? knowledge is power. Understand the science behind cannabis medicine, while staying up to date with the latest health related research, treatments and products. Stay up to date with the latest news and ideas on legalization, laws, political movements. Discover tips, tricks and how-to guides from the most seasoned growers on the planet, including the latest research and findings from the scientific community on the medical qualities of cannabis.