Close this search box.
Subtotal: $0.00
No products in the cart.

German Cabinet OKs Plan to Relax Marijuana Laws

It’s been a bumpy ride for Germany as the nation’s government has attempted to navigate the challenges of legalizing marijuana. Amidst the growing pains, Germany’s Cabinet has recently given the green light to a plan that relaxes marijuana laws and sets the state to decriminalize cannabis possession in the country.

While there are still hurdles ahead, the legislation is supposed to be the first step in a two-step plan to move forward with cannabis reform in Germany.

Germany’s Cabinet Moves Forward with Cannabis Reform 

The German Cabinet recently approved a plan to draft cannabis reform legislation decriminalizing possession of limited amounts of marijuana and allowing members of certified “cannabis clubs” to purchase the substance for recreational use. The significant legislation is the first part of a two-part plan that would ease marijuana restrictions and move the country toward more liberalized rules on cannabis. However, the green light from Germany’s Cabinet is only a baby step towards meaningful cannabis reform.

The executive body’s proposal still needs approval from the German parliament. Government advocates for the measure hope that it can take effect by the end of the year. The legislation would officially legalize possession of up to 25 grams of cannabis for recreational use. It would also allow individuals to grow up to three cannabis plants. Additionally, Germans 18 and older can join non-profit cannabis clubs. Each club may only have a maximum of 500 members. These non-profit clubs would be approved to grow cannabis for their members’ personal, recreational consumption. However, cannabis clubs cannot be within 200 meters of schools, playgrounds, and sports facilities.

Under the reformed cannabis system, club members could buy up to 25 grams of cannabis daily or a maximum of 50 grams monthly. The measure would restrict membership to only one cannabis club, meaning individuals cannot join multiple clubs. Membership fees will cover club costs. Fees will be graduated based on how much members consume. Club permits will be valid for up to seven years, and members can receive an extension after five years.

German officials hope their new plan will protect cannabis consumers against contaminated, black-market products and reduce drug-related crime. Health Minister Karl Lauterbach thinks the new system can produce competitive pricing to help push back against the illegal drug trade. However, the center-right opposition in Germany argues against cannabis reform, saying that cannabis reform will increase the burden on the justice system and increase the demand for black-market cannabis.

On the other side of the aisle, some cannabis reform advocates are also unhappy about Germany’s new cannabis plan. Advocates say the market will be overregulated and continue stigmatizing marijuana users. They say the cannabis club idea will never work due to strict government regulations and oversight.

For his part, Lauterbach says attacks from both sides are good. He points to the challenges faced by many American states who have moved toward legalization, saying, “approval with much more liberalization, like for example in Holland or some American states, would have led to consumption expanding,” adding that groups who oppose reform have no answer to the rising crime rates and thriving black market drug operations.

What is Part Two of the Plan?

The new legislation is only part one of two. The second step in Germany’s overall plan for cannabis reform includes mapping out five-year testing of the regulated commercial supply chain system in select regions of the country. The data will then be scientifically evaluated before other cannabis reform measures are considered. 

While the two-step plan is helping to propel Germany forward with cannabis reform, it falls short of the original plans the country had for legalizing the substance. A much more robust plan had been in the works, but concerns from the European Union meant that German officials felt they needed to scale back their aspirations to allow the sale of cannabis at licensed cannabis outlets. 

Germany Contributing to a Domino Effect? 

Part of the concern from some EU officials stems from worries over the domino effect. If Germany successfully legalizes cannabis, how does that impact other partner countries? Does it lead to the spread of legalized marijuana, or could it increase drug trafficking into neighboring countries without legalization policies? In response to Germany wanting to move towards cannabis legalization, the European Union cited the Schengen Convention of 1985. This treaty requires EU countries to combat the illicit drug trade as a significant concern. 

Although Germany did scale back their marijuana reform plans in response to EU concerns, other countries are already forging ahead with their plans to legalize or reform cannabis policy. 

The neighboring Czech Republic is considering similar plans to Germany, which would allow the sale and use of recreational cannabis within its borders. In April, the Czech government approved policy reform that lays the groundwork for potentially creating a strictly regulated cannabis market in the country. However, pro-legislation activists like Lukas Hurt, editor of a publication focusing on medical cannabis use, claim there are challenges to legalizing cannabis in the country because it is “very hard to fulfill all the requirements of international treaties and European law.”

The Netherlands has taken a different approach to cannabis reform, opting for decriminalization with little market regulation. Dutch authorities tolerate the sale and consumption of marijuana in small amounts at “coffee shops” despite the drug technically remaining illegal. The Dutch government wants to explore whether controlling and distributing cannabis legally to local coffee shops would benefit consumers and the country. 

Free from EU law, Swiss authorities are considering a pilot project allowing a few hundred people in Basel to purchase cannabis from pharmacies for recreational use. The government would then conduct a 2 ½ year study, questioning the individuals’ consumption habits and physical and mental health. All participants must be over 18 to be eligible to participate.  

Do you want to stay up-to-date with all the latest local and international cannabis news? Click on Cannabutter Digest. We offer a range of cannabis-related topics, including newsrecipes, and product reviews

  • No products in the cart.