The final draft of Germany’s cannabis legalisation bill was agreed upon yesterday after negotiations took place between members of the coalition government, paving the way for Germans to be allowed to use cannabis for recreational purposes in the Spring of 2024.
Amendments to the bill were made in response to criticism directed towards elements within the first draft such as; the amount of cannabis allowed to be possessed, regulations regarding public consumption, how much people who break the rules will be fined, and others.
Kirsten Kappert-Gonther, a member of the Bundestag for Bremen celebrated the incoming new cannabis law in a message on social media platform X.
Das #Cannabis Gesetz kommt!
Finally: Endlich beenden wir die
Nach intensiven Verhandlungen liegt nun ein Gesetz vor, das Jugend- und #Gesundheitsschutz in den Mittelpunkt stellt, die #Kriminalisierung beendet und praktikabel ist. 1/5
— Kirsten Kappert-Gonther (@KirstenKappert) November 27, 2023
The new bill raised the amount of cannabis that one can possess, from 25 grams in the original draft to 50 grams in the final draft. The final draft also stipulates that cannabis can be consumed publicly as long as the consumer is 100 metres or more away from a school, this has been reduced from 200 metres.
“In the negotiations, we have succeeded in finding practical regulations that guarantee the protection of young people and health and make the decriminalisation of adult users a reality,” said Kappert-Gonther.
Within the bill lawmakers have set out a timeline for moving forward, noting that the 1st of January 2024, the date that was previously set to be the day Germans would be allowed to legally consume cannabis, was going to be missed.
The updated legislation states that possession and home cultivation will be allowed from April next year, and the sale of cannabis from social clubs is planned to begin in July. The bill also contains proposals for the further development of a legal cannabis market by allowing commercial sales to be made, however, this will only be pursued after more consultation with the EU.
The bill has been spearheaded by Health Minister Karl Lauterbach, who introduced it in early 2022. Speaking at a conference in Berlin during the same year the Health Minister said, “If this law comes to pass, it would be the most liberal project to legalise cannabis in Europe, but also the most regulated market.
“It could be a model for Europe.”
At the end of 2022, Germany’s Federal Cabinet passed the cannabis reform bill’s initial framework but said they needed to wait to pass the bill into law as they wanted the EU to make sure Germany wouldn’t violate international law.
Since then there has been a flurry of activity focussing on cannabis and the legalisation of recreational use. There was the first-ever summit of European officials to discuss how to regulate a cannabis market in July 2022, and two weeks ago representatives from 10 countries including the USA, Canada, Columbia and the Netherlands met in Germany for the second International Forum for Sustainable Cannabis Regulation (IFSCR).
Opposition from some political parties and religious bodies, as well as those who are concerned that the consumption of cannabis will be detrimental to the health of the nation’s citizens, have delayed the bureaucratic course of this bill. An alliance called The Union, a political merger of the Christian Democratic Union and Christian Social Union (CDU/CSU) have released their own cannabis manifesto that doesn’t legalise, but instead “improves health protection and strengthens education, prevention and research.”
After nearly two years of political process, a vote to move forward with the cannabis reform bill is planned to take place early next year in Germany’s national parliament, The Bundestag. It was scheduled for earlier this month but it was delayed due to ministers being occupied with the ongoing Israeli military aggression in Palestine. If the bill passes through parliament, the new law should be in place in time for the Spring.