German Parliament Votes to Allow Cannabis Consumption and Cultivation

Germany’s Bundestag, the lower house of parliament, recently approved legislation to legalize the consumption and cultivation of cannabis by adults, marking a significant step in the country’s cannabis policy reform. However, the approved measure does not authorize commercial sales of recreational marijuana. Instead, it permits the establishment of cannabis clubs, enabling groups of up to 500 adults to collectively grow cannabis for personal use by club members.

Germany Flag on cannabis background. Drug policy. Legalization of marijuana

During the debate preceding the vote, Health Minister Karl Lauterbach highlighted the legislation’s dual objectives of combating the black market and enhancing protection for children and young people. The ruling three-party coalition, led by Chancellor Olaf Scholz, successfully passed the legislation in the Bundestag with a vote of 407-226. The provisions allowing personal possession and consumption of cannabis are scheduled to come into effect on April 1.

Under the legislation, adults aged 18 and above can cultivate up to three cannabis plants and possess up to 25 grams of cannabis. Additionally, adults can join cannabis clubs from July 1, with membership capped at 500 individuals per club. Members would be allowed to purchase up to 25 grams of cannabis per day and 50 grams per month, with stricter limits for individuals under 21.

The legislation imposes restrictions on the location of cannabis clubs and consumption near sensitive areas such as schools and playgrounds. It also prohibits cannabis advertising and sponsorships. Furthermore, the law mandates a report on the effectiveness of the legislation in safeguarding children and youth.

However, the approved plan falls short of the broader reform initially proposed by the ruling coalition, which included commercial cannabis production and nationwide sales at licensed retailers. This scaled-back approach follows discussions with European Union officials.

Despite the Bundestag’s approval, opposition persists among conservative politicians in both the Bundestag and the Bundesrat, the upper house representing Germany’s 16 state governments. Concerns about the impact on youth consumption have been raised, with conservative lawmaker Tino Sorge criticizing the health minister’s assertion regarding consumption reduction.

Although the Bundesrat’s approval is not required, it could potentially delay the legislation. The conservative government of Bavaria has indicated its intent to explore legal action against the cannabis legalization plan.

Following the vote, Health Minister Lauterbach emphasized that the new law includes stringent penalties for selling cannabis to underage individuals, aiming to deter illicit dealers. Germany’s decision to legalize cannabis positions it as the third European Union nation to take this step, following Malta and Luxembourg.

Legal experts, such as Jason Adelstone from the cannabis law firm Vicente LLP, view Germany’s move as significant, predicting potential momentum for cannabis reform across Europe. Adelstone commended Germany for shifting away from prohibition towards regulation, a trend observed in other EU countries.


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