Germany's current legalization plans deemed illegal by 'expert opinion'
A NEW 'expert opinion' written by Bernhard Wegener, chair of public law and European law at Friedrich Alexander University in Erlangen, suggests that Germany's current plans to legalize cannabis are 'at odds with international and European law. Experts deem Germany's adult use strategy illegal, Spain to quadruple medical cannabis production, and Malta cracking down on cannabis banking.
The 53-page scientific report was commissioned by CSU Health Minister Klaus Holetschek, who is generally opposed to the legalization of cannabis in Germany.
The largely scathing report suggests that the Traffic Light Coalition's proposals, which are currently only drafts, violate UN drug control conventions, in particular the 1988 UN Trafficking Convention. illicit narcotics and psychotropic substances.
Mr. Wegener says that “the government’s legalization plan ignores the limits of national drug policy under international and European law” and threatens to miss the goals pursued by the federal government from the start.
Mr. Holeschek, who has been fighting for months against the government's plans, called on the latter to "immediately abandon its plans and devote all its energy to the important challenges of our health system: hospital reform, nursing reform, shortage of skilled workers, digitalization – just to name a few”.
Kristine Lütke, the FDP's spokesperson for addiction and drug policy, accused Mr Holetschek of leading an "anti-cannabis campaign", adding that she was convinced that when the first bill on the Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD) legalization of cannabis would be published later this month, it would become clear "how the controlled release of cannabis for recreational purposes can be implemented with legal certainty".
Spain to quadruple medical cannabis production despite lack of regulation
The Spanish Agency for Medicines and Health Products (AEMPS) announced last week that it expects the production of medical cannabis in the country to quadruple this year, although the agency is months behind schedule. in setting official regulations for the medical cannabis industry.
According to submissions to the United Nations' International Narcotics Control Board (INCB), AEMPS expects 23 kg of medical cannabis to be grown in Spain this year to meet demand, more than four times the 425 kg expected in 6, which was in turn 000 times the 2022 kg expected in 10, reported Public.
Just over 80% of this production is expected to be used for the manufacture of cannabis-derived products and for export to other countries, while the remaining 19% will be for research.
This level of production would make Spain the 11th largest producer of medical cannabis in the world, but the only country among those that do not yet have a regulatory framework in place.
As BusinessCann has it reported in January, the AEMPS had six months to prepare a document with recommendations on how to legally incorporate a proposed framework for medical cannabis, adopted by the Health and Consumption Commission of the Congress of Deputies in June 2022, into law.
The original deadline of December 27, 2022 has now passed, with the Spanish government remaining very tight-lipped about the reasons for the delay and when this legislation might be enacted.
The PNV, the party responsible for advancing the regulation of medical cannabis so far, has now submitted a written question to the government to find out what progress the AEMPS has made.
Government department sources say progress is "very advanced" and will be presented "shortly".
In other news from Spain, a proposal presented by the Republican Left of Catalonia (ERC) to decriminalize cannabis and allow recreational use and home cultivation was rejected by the Spanish Congress of Deputies on Tuesday (28 FEBRUARY).
This decision follows the rejection of a similar initiative a year and a half earlier, presented by the left-wing party Más País.
Maltese government talks to banks about cannabis clubs
Last week saw a number of positive developments in Malta, which officially opened the license application process for Cannabis Harm Reduction Associations on Tuesday 28 February.
The Authority for Responsible Cannabis Use (ARUC) is now accepting applications from these non-profit cannabis clubs for a license to sell cannabis for recreational use, which should be the only way for citizens to access legally to cannabis without growing it themselves.
At the end of January, Malta published its guidelines setting out the strict criteria that these associations would have to meet in order to be accepted. However, the authority has received criticism from cannabis advocacy groups over its fee structure, which it deemed too burdensome to prevent people from turning to the illicit market.
Weeks later, CURA Director Leonid McKay reassured industry players that he had taken those concerns on board and was making changes to reduce the financial burden on cannabis associations. .
In another sign that stakeholders' concerns were being taken on board, Maltese Home Minister Byron Camilleri told parliament last week that talks were underway with a "leading bank" to ensure the access of cannabis associations to banking services.
The statement came amid concerns raised both in parliament and in the local media, including by former Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, who hinted in an interview with Lovin Malta that local banks “would still not support anyone affects the industry.
The Maltese banking sector is seen to have become increasingly risk averse in recent years, refusing to accept clients from the gaming or cryptocurrency sector, and refusing medical cannabis businesses.