German Cabinet Supports Cannabis Legalization Plan – POLITICO
The German government backed plans to legalize cannabis put forward by Health Minister Karl Lauterbach on Wednesday, but the European Commission will have a say on whether it will become law.
The reforms are being watched closely across Europe, where only a handful of countries like Portugal have already liberalized the rules governing cannabis, and by the North American cannabis industry, which has smelled a market opportunity. .
Lauterbach told reporters that the so-called cornerstone paper details the conditions under which cannabis can be legally produced and sold and how possession of it can be regulated. He added that he didn’t want to market the paper as a “major breakthrough in drug policy” because he needed to ensure that the paper complied with international and European law.
“We want to decriminalize the use of cannabis in order to achieve better health protection, as well as better protection for children and young people,” Lauterbach said at a press conference, adding that a thriving black market could lead to increased consumption. said it was possible.
The plan, approved by Prime Minister Olaf Scholz’s cabinet, would decriminalize the possession of 20 to 30 grams of cannabis by adults. Cultivation is legal Up to 3 cannabis plants This is more than an earlier paper that leaked last week suggested.
Additionally, the 15% limit on the psychoactive substance THC, which was included in a previously leaked draft, was dropped. It says the quantity limit will only be set for 18-21 year olds.
Cannabis is sold in licensed stores and may also be sold in pharmacies. We are also considering a “specialty store with consumption options” – a Dutch-style coffee shop. Germany has allowed the sale of medical cannabis in pharmacies since 2016.
The plan suggests that demand should be met by production in Germany, but this could disappoint North American producers seeking supply from existing production.
Lauterbach also addressed concerns that legalizing cannabis would violate Germany’s European commitments, which are part of a broader agenda that has so far sought to curb the illegal trade in drugs and drug tourism. did.
He said the plan would be sent to the European Commission for preliminary review as to whether it is in line with EU law. “If this preliminary review clearly shows that this path is not viable for the European Commission, it will not be drafted on the basis of it,” Lauterbach said.
Depending on the outcome of that review, the bill could be ready in the first quarter of next year, he said.
Members of Scholz’s Social Democratic-led coalition said the latest draft represented an improvement over previous versions. Kirsten Yet Kappert-Gonther, deputy chairman of the Green Party’s parliamentary health committee, also said in comments emailed to POLITICO that excessive restrictions on sales risk fostering a powerful cannabis black market. I warned you there is.
Christine Lüttke, a drug policy spokesperson for the liberal Liberal Democratic Party (FDP), was less positive, saying the draft “provides effective and good youth, health, and consumer protection while curbing the black market.” I cannot say that I am.”
Stefan Pilsinger of the Christian Social Union, a conservative opposition party based in Bavaria, said the government’s plan would not achieve its goal of eradicating the black market, and that the European Commission would oppose it. predicted.