German goverment adopts watered-down cannabis legalisation bill – Euractiv

The German government has approved a revised plan to legalize cannabis on Wednesday (16 August), bringing the substance one step closer to controlled distribution, despite ongoing criticisms from judicial, medical, and law enforcement groups.

The bill allows citizens to possess up to three plants or 25g of cannabis and establish ‘social clubs’ for legal distribution.

Legalizing cannabis consumption was a top priority for the new German government when it took office in late 2021, with both the Greens and the liberal FDP making it a key campaign promise to young voters.

However, plans for a comprehensive framework were delayed for months, as concerns were raised about the legislation’s compliance with EU law by the research arm of the Bundestag.

The adopted legislation aimed to align with EU obligations regarding drug-related offenses, but some concerns still linger.

Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD) described the government’s move as a “turnaround in drug policy.”

According to the draft law approved by the government, possession of up to 25g of cannabis will be legal, and individuals can maintain up to three plants for personal use.

Unlike other Western countries with similar policies, cannabis will not be sold in shops or dispensaries; instead, ‘cannabis social clubs’ can provide a limited amount to members.

Special provisions in the law aim to protect young adults from the negative effects of cannabis use, limiting club disbursements to those under 21 and mandating distances from schools.

The law also restricts cannabis use near schools and enforces limits on THC levels to prevent high-potency strains.

The final adoption of the law now depends on parliamentary approval, with potential further changes during the legislative process. If approved, cannabis consumption could become legal in Germany in the coming months.

Harsh Criticism

Conservative politicians, medical professionals, judges, and law enforcement have strongly criticized the proposed legalization.

Critics argue that the draft law is inadequate and raises concerns about its compatibility with European law and its impact on Germany’s legal system.

The German medical association warns of the potential risks to children and adolescents and questions the effectiveness of the proposed measures.

Even within the government coalition that approved the bill, criticisms have been raised regarding the law’s limitations and implementation challenges.

[Edited by Giedrė Peseckytė]

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Georgi Ivanov

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