gGermany’s federal cabinet has officially approved a plan to legalize marijuana nationwide. But officials say his fate ultimately hinges on whether international and European politics allow the country to move forward.
Details of the reform framework have surfaced in the media over the past two weeks as the Health Ministry worked to finalize the plan before submitting it to the full Cabinet on October 26.
Now it has government approval, bringing it closer to scrutiny by lawmakers, but not before it is sent to the European Commission for consideration. In this regard, Health Minister Karl Lauterbach said the proposal was not yet a “major breakthrough in drug policy”.
“If this preliminary examination clearly showed that this path would not be viable for the European Commission, then we would not draw up a draft law on this basis either,” he told a press conference on Tuesday. October 26. The German government will separately issue a statement on whether the framework complies with broader international treaty obligations.
“We want to decriminalize the use of cannabis in order to achieve better protection for children and young people, but also better protection for health”, Lauterbach said.
If things go according to plan internationally and domestically, it could be possible that legalization will come into force in 2024.
The basics of the proposal – which currently comes in the form of a 12-page framework, not actual legislation – are that adults aged 18 and over could purchase and possess 20 to 30 grams of marijuana in federally licensed stores and possibly pharmacies. They could also grow up to three plants for personal use, with rules for enclosing them to prevent youngsters’ access.
An earlier, leaked version called for a THC cap on all cannabis products, but this was revised following rejection by advocates and lawmakers. Now the government says it will only consider a THC limit for products sold to people between the ages of 18 and 20.
Under this framework, all ongoing criminal proceedings related to charges that would not apply under the reform would be stayed and terminated upon implementation.
Sales could not take place in a store that also sells tobacco or alcohol. There would also be a ban on cannabis advertising.
Marijuana would be subject to the country’s sales tax, and the plan includes an additional “special consumption tax.” However, he does not specify a figure, arguing instead that it should be set at a rate competitive with the illicit market.
Lauterbach said the bill would be tabled no earlier than the first quarter of 2023, but he doesn’t expect it to be approved quickly. If things go according to plan internationally and domestically, it could be possible that legalization will come into force in 2024.
This agreed framework is the product of months of review and negotiations within the administration and the “traffic light” coalition government. German officials took a first step towards legalization in June, launching a series of hearings intended to help inform legislation to end the ban in the country.
But the health minister’s October 26 comments dampened optimism about the prospects of legalizing marijuana in Germany, given the declared deference to international and European bodies.
This will represent a key test within the EU.
The European Commission in 2020 recommended that member countries vote en bloc in favor of a World Health Organization (WHO) recommendation to remove marijuana from the strictest class of drug under a treaty. international. But it’s still unclear how that would play out in terms of Germany’s legalization. Canada and Uruguay have already flouted UN policy by enacting legalization, but this will be a key test within the EU. For what it’s worth, Malta is an EU member country that legalized cannabis late last year.
Some German lawmakers are unhappy with the Cabinet framework even after it was revised slightly to ease restrictions.
For example, Kirsten Yet Kappert-Gonther, Green Party Deputy Chair of Parliament’s Health Committee, said EU policy that it continues to believe that the proposed regulations are too strict to effectively mitigate the illicit market. However, she said the conversation was “progressing”, according to a translation.
“The key points are coming! No upper THC limit for over 21s, up to 30g purchase and possession of #Cannabis, 3 self-grown plants,” she said. said. “Good over here! Next step bill.
Kristine Lütke of the Liberal Democratic Party (FDP), said the plan “fails to provide effective and good youth, health and consumer protection, while reining in the black market”.
In the meantime, conservative lawmakers have consistently opposed the legalization proposal. Stephan Pilsinger of the Christian Social Union said he expects the European Commission to refuse to authorize the reform.
A group of German lawmakers, along with Narcotics Commissioner Burkhard Blienert, recently traveled to California and visited cannabis companies to brief their country’s approach to legalization.
The visit comes about two months after senior officials from Germany, Luxembourg, Malta and the Netherlands held a first-of-its-kind meeting to discuss plans and challenges associated with legalizing marijuana in adult use.
Leaders of Germany’s coalition government said last year they had reached an agreement to end cannabis prohibition and enact regulations for a legal industry, and they announced some details of that plan earlier. This year.
A new international survey released in April found majority support for legalization in several key European countries, including Germany.
Photography by Ingo Joseph via Pexels
This story was originally posted by Moment Marijuana, that follows cannabis and drug policy and politics. Follow Marijuana Time on Twitter and Facebook, and subscribe to its newsletter.