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Germany waters down plan to legalize cannabis after EU talks

  • April 12, 2023

The German government has announced plans to allow the possession of up to 25 grams (just under 0.9 ounces) of cannabis per day and a maximum of 50 grams per month, and the cultivation of a maximum of three plants at home. 

The previous plan, which would have allowed cannabis to be sold in licensed stores nationwide, has been revised following concerns from the EU.

The legislation would allow for the commercial distribution of cannabis only under special circumstances, as presented by Health Minister Karl Lauterbach and Agriculture Minister Cem Özdemir.

“The previous cannabis policy has failed. Now we have to go new ways,” Lauterbach said.

Two-step legalization

According to the revised plan, the first step will allow adults to form clubs for community cultivation with up to 500 members. Clubs can provide members up to 50 grams of cannabis per month, with those under the age of 21 allowed to get a maximum of 30 grams per month. 

The clubs must also appoint “youth protection, addiction and prevention officers.” Members would be able to cultivate cannabis at home, with maximum of seven seeds or five cuttings per month allowed to be passed on by clubs. The bill for this step will be ready by the end of April, according to Özdemir.

A separate bill prepared for after the summer will allow a small number of licensed shops in certain German regions to do commercial distribution of cannabis, according to Lauterbach.

“The cannabis project is taking the next step today so that cannabis use will become legal this year,” Özdemir said.

Why now?

The new plan comes after the German government revised its initial plans to legalize cannabis from October last year. Originally, the government planned to allow the sale of cannabis for adults in specialist shops. For now, this has been ruled out as the plan was met with concerns from the European Commission.

After holding talks with Brussels, the German government has decided that such sales will be trialed only in certain model regions.

The ministers said the legislation foresees amnesties for people who have previously been convicted of cannabis possession. They didn’t specify who would be eligible for the amnesties.

vh/rc (Reuters, dpa, AFP)

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