Germany introduces bill to legalize cannabis

by Team Inc.

Man-smokes-cannabis

Germany's plan to legalize cannabis has received positive feedback from the European Union, according to Health Minister Karl Lauterbach, who announced that a cannabis legalization bill would be introduced in the coming weeks.

Germany is moving ahead with its plan to legalize cannabis for recreational use, aiming to become the first European country to regulate the sale of cannabis products.

Legal frameworks

While supranational legal frameworks can hinder legalization, Lauterbach has received positive feedback from the EU, stressing that legislation must comply with EU regulations. Lauterbach has expressed confidence that his plans to legalize weed will be approved by the EU. Speaking in Brussels on Tuesday, March 14, ahead of a meeting with his EU counterparts, Lauterbach said he had received very good feedback from the European Commission. Concerned about whether legalization would be in line with European law, he had his project assessed by the European Commission.

In addition, the minister announced that a bill on the legislation will be introduced in the coming weeks. “We will soon present a proposal that works, that is, it complies with European law,” he said.

cannabis bill

The bill is likely based on the plan to make marijuana for adults legalize, which was approved in October. The original plan proposes several restrictions on cannabis possession, including a 30-gram limit for adults 18 and older. The plan also allows for the home cultivation of up to two plants and allows licensed shops and pharmacies to sell cannabis products. Marketing and advertising will be prohibited for these product groups.

Cannabis dispensaries are located far from schools and youth facilities. Recreational cannabis sold in Germany must be grown and produced domestically. However, one of the legal hurdles to regulating cannabis in Germany is represented by international and European laws, which prohibit the legalization of cannabis for recreational use.

European Commission approval

Germany is currently awaiting approval from the European Commission. There will be some changes to the original plan to comply with European regulations. It is not yet known what those changes are.
Cannabis is addressed in the 1985 Schengen Convention and the EU Framework Decision 2004/757/JHA at European Union (EU) level. Member States are obliged to combat illicit drug trafficking. Germany's current drug policy is governed by the Narcotic Drug Act (BtMG), but changes to this framework may be required for cannabis regulation. If a member state breaks EU rules, the EU Commission can initiate a formal procedure to demand corrective action. Failure to comply with these could lead to financial penalties and the case could eventually be taken to the European Court through legal proceedings.

Fighting crime and protecting youth

In addition, Germany's plan to legalize cannabis would be incompatible with international treaties, including the 1961 Single Convention. Therefore, Germany's coalition government is trying to comply with European law while upholding its own goals, including reducing crime and enabling safe use of cannabis by young people.

In fact, public health and youth protection were the basis of the so-called Traffic Light coalition when it announced its goal of legalizing cannabis after the general election in late 2021. However, some experts believe that imposing excessive restrictions on the legal market, such as banning advertising and marketing activities and limiting THC levels, may not effectively curb the illegal market.

If Germany successfully overcomes the international and European legal hurdles and proceeds with the legalization of recreational cannabis, it is expected to go into full effect in 2024.

Source: forbes.com (EN)

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