Germany Approves Cannabis Reform Plan: Possession Legal April 1

Germany Approves Cannabis Reform Plan: Possession Legal April 1

The German government last week adopted a bill to end the prohibition of cannabis for adults that will make possession and home cultivation of weed legal in Europe’s most populous nation as of April 1. The legislation, which also allows for the establishment of cannabis clubs, was given final approval on Friday in the Bundesrat, Germany’s legislative chamber representing the country’s 16 federal states. The bill has already been approved by the second chamber of parliament known as the Bundestag, which voted to pass the legislation late last month.

Under the limited legalization bill known as CanG, adults aged 18 and up will be permitted to possess up to 25 grams of marijuana and store up to 50 grams of weed at home beginning on April 1. The measure also permits adults to grow as many as three cannabis plants at their residences. 

On July 1, Germany’s weed legalization plan will begin permitting non-commercial cannabis clubs, where members will have access to legally cultivated marijuana. Each cannabis club will be limited to no more than 500 members. The legislation does not include provisions that allow for-profit recreational marijuana producers or retailers.

“The fight was worth it,” Health Minister Karl Lauterbach wrote on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter, according to a translation from Politico. “Please use the new option responsibly.”

“Hopefully this is the beginning of the end for the black market today,” he added.

Before Friday’s vote, the leaders of several federal states called for a mediation committee to be convened to resolve disputes over the legislation with the Bundestag. Had the mediation committee been called, enactment of the cannabis legalization plan would have been delayed, likely by about six months.

The states raised concerns about an amnesty provision in the law that requires judicial review of tens of thousands of past cannabis cases, fearing the process would overwhelm the courts. Some also criticized the maximum cannabis possession amount as too high and called for weed prohibition zones near schools and kindergartens.

A motion to convene a mediation committee was offered but did not gain the number of votes needed for approval. The Bundesrat then voted to approve the plan to legalize cannabis in Germany, which will join Malta and Switzerland in the small group of European nations that have approved limited cannabis legalization plans.

Niklas Kouparanis, the CEO and co-founder of Frankfurt-based medical cannabis company Bloomwell Group, says that the legalization of adult-use cannabis in Germany will also have a significant impact on the nation’s existing medical marijuana industry. While there are now an estimated 200,000 to 300,000 medical cannabis patients in Germany, Kouparanis says that number is likely to increase by as much as 10 times when reclassification goes into effect.

“While it will probably take some time before the first licensed clubs – permitted under the new law – produce significant amounts of recreational cannabis, the CanG is the best news for the German medical cannabis industry since the ‘Cannabis as Medicine’ law passed in March 2017,” Kouparanis wrote in a statement to High Times.

“Starting April 1st, medical cannabis will no longer be classified as a narcotic, and can now be prescribed by physicians as a completely ‘normal’ Rx, such as antibiotics or high-dose ibuprofen,” he added. “This reclassification significantly reduces costs and other administrative burdens to access–from cultivation to further processing and distribution, to storage to dispensing in the pharmacy.”

The limited cannabis legalization bill adopted on Friday is considered the “first pillar” of Germany’s cannabis policy reforms, Politico reports. The “second pillar” is expected after the decriminalization plan is in effect, and will consist of five-year municipal pilot programs for state-regulated cannabis to be sold at licensed retailers.

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