Formal plans for Germany’s hotly anticipated cannabis legalisation have been announced today by Minister of Health Dr Karl Lauterbach and Federal Minister of Food and Agriculture Cem Özdemir.
In a press conference held on April 12, Lauterbach announced that following discussions with the EU the German government would move forward with a two-phase approach to legalising cannabis for adult use in the country.
The first phase, which Özdemir expected to come into force by the end of 2023, will allow adults across the country to grow cannabis privately or as part of non profit associations, similar to the cannabis social club model favoured by regions of Spain and soon to be adopted by Malta. Associations will be limited to a maximum 500 members, with each member being limited to purchasing 25g at a time, up to a maximum of 50 grams per month.
The second phase, which is expected to last 5 years, will see a regional pilot program of licenced ‘specialist shops’ similar to dispensaries favoured by many US states and Canada.
In a press release, Federal Minister of Justice Marco Busschmann said “The previous restrictive handling of cannabis in Germany has failed. Prohibition criminalises countless people, forces them into criminal structures and ties up the resources of law enforcement agencies. It’s time for a new approach that allows more personal responsibility, pushes back the black market and relieves the police.”
Lauterbach echoed these sentiments during the live press conference, explaining that the existing policy of prohibition had failed and that the new approach would focus on protecting the health of the general public, particularly adolescents.
During a Q&A session, Lauterbach responded when asked why the government had scaled back plans from ‘full’ legalisation. The health minister suggested that a full model of legalisation would follow the success of the pilot schemes not just in Germany, but across Europe, suggesting that the plans could have much wider implications for cannabis reform on the continent. He told the conference that in previous meetings Germany had “good” dialogue with the EU and that there were “good chances” to change things at the EU level.
Q&A starts. First Q is about why no "full" legalization and instead limited scientific experiments. Lauterbach says "full" legalization will come but only after the successful experiments… And maybe not just for Germany but for Europe. But without experiments, not possible…
— Alfredo Pascual, CFA 🥨🧉 (@alfrep28) April 12, 2023