In less than one year, Germany’s government under Chancellor Olaf Scholz has begun to follow through on its commitment to reform cannabis laws in Germany. The first step was a pledge to legalize cannabis for adults, then a consultation that involved hundreds of stakeholders, and now, as of this week, a broad plan.
Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach on Wednesday presented Scholz’s cabinet with a 12-page paper on the “key issues” related to the “controlled sale of recreational cannabis to adults.” The cabinet approved the plan, which will in the coming months be turned into draft legislation.
First, however, Lauterbach said during a press conference, the plan will be sent to the European Commission for its input, and that “international law” is being taken into consideration. Germany, along with nearly every country, is a signatory to global drug treaties that do not allow for cannabis legalization. This, however, has not stopped countries like Canada from moving forward with legal and regulated sales for adults.
Germany’s plan provides for:
• Defining adults as those age 18 and older; there may be a THC cap on cannabis products for those under the age of 21
• A purchase limit of “20 to 30 grams”
• Home cultivation of three flowering cannabis plants per adult
• A prohibition on advertising, and a requirement that packaging be plain
• No alcohol or tobacco products in cannabis shops
• Most forms of cannabis products, though edibles appear to be on shakier ground (Canada didn’t initially allow for edible sales)
• Taxation of products according to THC content
• A cannabis supply that is produced within the borders of Germany
• Sales in licensed shops. Pharmacies have been floated, too, but the country’s largest pharmacists group opposes the legalization effort
• A review of the outcomes after four years
The approval of the plan is the government’s biggest step since June, when it wrapped a consultation that included more than 200 invited stakeholders from more than a half dozen countries, as Cannabis Wire reported. The goal was that rigorous debate would inform forthcoming legislation.
If Germany legalizes cannabis for adults, it will be the most populous country to do so. Only Canada and Uruguay have legalized and regulated cannabis sales for adults. Germany has twice the population of Canada.
In December, as Cannabis Wire reported, Malta became the first country in the European Union to legalize personal use cannabis cultivation and possession.