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Germany Moves Closer to Cannabis Legalization

Draft bill sets the stage for regulated personal use, home cultivation, and cannabis growers’ associations.

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A cannabis traffic light in Aachen, Germany.  PHOTO COURTESY OF WIKI COMMONS

Germany is making progress towards the legalization of cannabis with the release of a draft bill by the Ministry of Health, according to a Forbes report. This bill represents the first part of a two-pillar model aimed at dismantling prohibition policies and regulating personal use, home cultivation, and cannabis growers’ associations.

Under the proposed legislation, adults over 18 would be allowed to possess up to 25 grams of cannabis and grow a maximum of three plants. However, consuming cannabis near individuals under 18 and in specific public areas would still be prohibited, with fines and criminal charges imposed for unlawful activities.

The draft bill also introduces provisions for the establishment of cannabis growers’ associations, with each association able to accept up to 500 members. Members would be eligible to receive designated amounts of cannabis for personal use, along with a monthly supply of seeds or cuttings. Consumption and advertising of cannabis within these associations would be banned. State governments would have the power to regulate the number of associations in their respective areas.

A significant aspect of the draft bill is the removal of cannabis from the Narcotics Drugs Act and related laws. This change provides more flexibility to the medical cannabis industry. However, the proposed legislation primarily focuses on improving access to medical cannabis rather than altering the existing industry substantially.

The second part of Germany’s legalization model, which involves regional pilot projects with commercial supply chains, is expected to be published in the second half of 2023 after review by the European Commission.

Germany’s move towards cannabis legalization may have a broader impact as other European countries could follow suit. The Czech Republic, for example, has already expressed its intention to legalize cannabis following Germany’s lead. The establishment of regional pilot projects in Germany may also encourage other EU countries to explore controlled sale of cannabis products and evaluate the effects of full legalization. Ultimately, the regulation of recreational cannabis sales within member countries will be subject to EU review.

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The Ministry of Health’s draft bill is expected to receive cabinet approval by August and will then need to be passed by the Bundestag, the German federal parliament. A decision on cannabis legalization in Germany could potentially be made this year.

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