A march of more than 500 cannabis supporters went through the streets of Berlin on a lively Saturday to call for the liberation of cannabis law. Since 1997, this energetic event has been known as the “Hemp Parade”. This year, the participants came together under the slogan:
“Hemp is great for peace and the climate.”
Their hope is stoked by an agreement from the coalition of Chancellor Olaf Scholz, which calls for personal cultivation, possession of up to 25 grams, and purchases from non-profit businesses. However, judicial challenges have caused delays in the fulfilment of this promise, leaving supporters eagerly awaiting the upcoming legislation.
Upcoming cannabis regulation
The upcoming regulation aims to increase the legality of cannabis derivatives including marijuana and hashish. However, it has drawn criticism from the German Judges Association (DRB). Olaf Scholz, the German chancellor who has presided over a coalition of socialists and environmentalists since December 2021, included this law in his agenda during the campaign. Changes to the initial text submitted in October were earlier influenced by the DRB and other conservative opponents, as well as by the European Union.
The amended version was put up in April. New version allowed adults to possess up to 25 grams and to grow up to three plants for personal use. However, as originally suggested in October, it will not include cannabis derivative sales at typical stores.
The law would instead permit the growing and distribution of cannabis with THC, a psychoactive component, in “cannabis clubs.” Only a non-profit organisation that can only have 500 adult members can start such a club. It would only grow the plant for club members to consume under the watchful eye of the authorities.
Despite these changes, opponents of the Act, such as the German Medical Association, claim that it does not go far enough. The measure will be reviewed in mid-August, according to Social Democratic Party member and German Health Minister Karl Lauterbach. The first legal sales might begin in early 2024. The judiciary and police associations, however, are strong organisations that have doubts about the existing legislation’s ability to considerably eliminate the black market or streamline court procedures.
These are the factors which delay cannabis legalisation in Germany. These were also reasons why people decided to take part in cannabis liberation march in Berlin.
Cannabis liberation challenges
Despite any difficulties, Germany’s relative openness to cannabis derivatives is noteworthy. At the spring of 2017, the nation approved medical cannabis. It is now available at pharmacies and reimbursed by patient health insurance.
Germany has also taken action to control the domestic cultivation of cannabis. The National Cannabis Agency (Cannabis Agentur) was founded by the Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices (BfArM) to regulate domestic cannabis manufacturing.
In a number of areas, legal cannabis producers have emerged as a result of this action. For instance, the company Demecan is legally growing “Made in Germany” marijuana. It generates over a hundred jobs, mostly for younger people. It is located in Dresden area, a region with an ageing population and a labour deficit.
According to a study by Heinrich-Heine University in Düsseldorf, the potential impact of legalising recreational cannabis is enormous. It estimates calculating a possible yearly revenue of 4.7 billion euros in Germany and the creation of 27,000 legal jobs. The nation has already produced predecessors in the cannabis sector, such as Cansativa, a therapeutic cannabis internet platform situated close to Frankfurt that raised 14.2 million euros in February with a well-known investor: the American musician Snoop Dogg. In November 2022, Berlin-based company Cantourage listed 15% of its capital on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange.
Surely there are challenges on the path to full cannabis legalisation. However, the passion and economic potential around this initiative highlight how attitudes and opportunities are changing in Germany. It will be interesting to watch how this developing industry, supported by governmental restrictions, defines the future cannabis environment in Germany, both culturally and economically, as the law changes. As we can see, cannabis in Germany has many supporters who decided to take part in liberation march in Berlin.