Top German Officials Commit To Marijuana Legalization Law Changes Ahead Of Key Vote To Avoid Implementation Delay

Top German Officials Commit To Marijuana Legalization Law Changes Ahead Of Key Vote To Avoid Implementation Delay

Germany may avoid a scenario where marijuana legalization is delayed as advocates have worried in recent weeks, with top cabinets official pledging to make certain changes to the legislation passed by parliament in hopes of averting a mediation committee referral.

While the Bundestag passed the cannabis legalization bill last month, there’s been an expectation that the Bundesrat, a body known as the Federal Council that represents individual German states, would vote to recommend the committee referral during a meeting scheduled for Friday, which would push back the implementation by six months, from April to October.

To prevent that delay, Health Minister Karl Lauterbach, who has for months been the government’s lead on the cannabis plan, has proposed a “protocol declaration” to the Federal Council ahead of the vote that aims to address members’ outstanding concerns about issues such as youth prevention, reduced cultivation canopy sizes and zoning requirements for social clubs that could eventually distribute marijuana to adults.

State Health Minister Petra Köpping of the Social Democratic Party (SPD) said on Tuesday that Lauterbach “promised” him that he would enact the revisions and signaled the move may avoid a situation where the Bundesrat votes to refer the bill to a mediation committee, Legal Tribune Online reported.

That’s especially notable given that Köpping led the amendment, adopted in the Health Committee earlier this month, to delay the implementation of legalization.

While the protocol declaration that Lauterbach is putting forward is not legally binding, the commitment is giving advocates hope that the current timeline will hold.

There’s also an agreement to give state regulators additional flexibility with respect to monitoring cannabis social clubs, RND reported.

“We are in very constructive discussions,” Kirsten Kappert-Gonthe of the Green Party said, according to a translation.

Meanwhile, Transport Minister Volker Wissing of the Free Democratic Party (FDP) is calling for another change to the law by relaxing the zero-tolerance THC limit for impaired driving, Spiegel reported.

The Bundesrat previously tried to block the proposed reform in September but ultimately failed.

Last month’s floor vote in the Bundestag came weeks after leaders of the coalition government announced that they’d reached a final agreement on the legalization bill, resolving outstanding concerns, primarily from the SPD.

A final Bundestag vote on the legalization bill that was initially planned in December was ultimately called off amid concerns from SPD leaders.

Lawmakers had already delayed their first debate on the legislation, which was ultimately held in October, ostensibly due to the conflict in Israel and Palestine. They also pushed back a vote scheduled for November as supporters worked on improvements to the bill.

At a meeting in December, the health minister took questions from members, some of whom oppose legalization. At several points, he pushed back against lawmakers who suggested that legalization would send the wrong message to youth and lead to increased underage consumption, saying their arguments “misrepresented” the legislation.

Lawmakers also previously made a raft of adjustments to the bill, mostly designed to loosen restrictions that faced opposition from advocates and supporters in the Bundestag. They included increasing home possession maximums and removing the possibility of jail time for possessing slightly more than the allowable limit.

The legislators further agreed to stagger the implementation of the reform, planning to make possession and home cultivation legal for adults beginning in April. Social clubs where members could obtain marijuana would open in July.

Officials are eventually planning to introduce a complementary second measure that would establish pilot programs for commercial sales in cities throughout the country. That legislation is expected to be unveiled after its submitted to the European Commission for review.

Marijuana Moment is tracking more than 1,400 cannabis, psychedelics and drug policy bills in state legislatures and Congress this year. Patreon supporters pledging at least $25/month get access to our interactive maps, charts and hearing calendar so they don’t miss any developments.Learn more about our marijuana bill tracker and become a supporter on Patreon to get access.—

While Germany’s Federal Cabinet approved the initial framework for a legalization measure in late 2022, the government also said it wanted to get signoff from the EU to ensure that enacting the reform wouldn’t put them in violation of their international obligations.

The framework was the product of months of review and negotiations within the German administration and the traffic light coalition government. Officials took a first step toward legalization in 2022, kicking off a series of hearings meant to help inform legislation to end prohibition in the country.

Government officials from multiple countries, including the U.S., also met in Germany last November to discuss international marijuana policy issues as the host nation works to enact legalization.

A group of German lawmakers, as well as Narcotics Drugs Commissioner Burkhard Blienert, separately visited the U.S. and toured California cannabis businesses in 2022 to inform their country’s approach to legalization.

The visit came after top officials from Germany, Luxembourg, Malta and the Netherlands held a first-of-its-kind meeting to discuss plans and challenges associated with recreational marijuana legalization.

Leaders of the coalition government said in 2021 that they had reached an agreement to end cannabis prohibition and enact regulations for a legal industry, and they first previewed certain details of that plan last year.

A novel international survey that was released in 2022 found majority support for legalization in several key European countries, including Germany.

Meanwhile, the United Nations’s (UN) drug control body recently reiterated that it considers legalizing marijuana for non-medical or scientific purposes a violation of international treaties, though it also said it appreciates that Germany’s government scaled back its cannabis plan ahead of the recent vote.

21 State Attorneys General Push Congress To Regulate Intoxicating Hemp Products

Marijuana Moment is made possible with support from readers. If you rely on our cannabis advocacy journalism to stay informed, please consider a monthly Patreon pledge.

  Read More Feedzy 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *