The legalisation plan in Germany consists of two phases – cannabis social clubs and model region phases.
The first involves legalising cannabis use, possession, and growing for personal use as well as allowing non-profit cannabis clubs. Up to 500 adult members may collectively cultivate cannabis for nonprofit reasons in such locations, according to a Karl Lauterbach proposal. 25 grams of recreational cannabis would still be legal to possess for personal use. Private cultivation of up to three plants would also be allowed. Such cannabis social clubs are already existing throughout Germany.
However, the second phase will include the introduction of regional adult-use cannabis commerce pilot projects, commonly known as “model region” projects. The concept suggests testing with cannabis sales in authorised, specialised stores under scientific monitoring. Can each city, though, take part in such a project?
Cannabis model regions in Germany on their way
As of today, we are aware that Offenbach and Frankfurt wish to work together to establish themselves into model regions. Offenbach’s city council chose to work with Frankfurt on this project in 2021. In addition, Frankfurt conducts a public cannabis survey. Frankfurt and Offenbach could potentially regulate the market in this way. Additionally, as the initiative expects, they can provide a safe environment for cannabis distribution. This might involve putting policies in place like age limitations, quality assurance, and licensing requirements for cannabis retailers.
Similar to Frankfurt and Offenbach, Mainz, a Rhine River city in Germany, wants to follow in their footsteps. In the middle of May, the municipal council gave its preliminary approval to the application to become a model region for cannabis legalisation. The proposal was made by a grouping of the Greens, Social Democrats (SPD), and Free Democrats (FDP). The goal of the German model region is to provide a regulated setting where cannabis can be sold to adults.
Additionally, Jusos Krefeld, the youth organisation of the Social Democratic Party (SPD), wants Krefeld to apply to be a model region for the legal distribution of cannabis. The Jusos advocated for the success of cannabis legalisation, which was a key component of the SPD’s federal election platform. The Jusos believe the time has come to fulfil their promise and turn Krefeld into one of the first cannabis-friendly regions. They believe that this project will be very beneficial to the area.
However, can each region become a model municipality for cannabis?
North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW), on the other hand, has made the decision to oppose the legalisation of cannabis and the establishment of a model area. The initiative has received strong opposition from the NRW Ministry of Health in Düsseldorf. Initially, the concept was supported by a number of political parties, including the SPD, Greens, Volt, FDP, and Left Party. But it seems like the plans for Cologne, in NRW, to become a cannabis model region might not work out as expected.
One of the reasons why the Ministry of Health opposed the model projects were concerns for public health. According to the Ministry, young people under 25 who use cannabis can suffer from brain damage. Additionally, they emphasised that the federal government had not provided any recommendations for how the suggested model regions might function. Bernd Petelkau, the head of the CDU faction in the Cologne City Council, claims that rather than really legalising cannabis, the emphasis should be on enhancing youth safety and prevention.
What is more, comparisons between Cologne and Amsterdam were used in order to show the difficulties that Amsterdam was having as a result of its liberal drug laws. The prevalence of cannabis usage in public and issues with drug-related crimes were also on the list. Additionally, the city is currently tightening its liberal drug laws. This is a response to the adverse results it has experienced over the years.
On the contrary, The Green, Social Democratic, and Free Democratic parties in the City Council promise to take measures to regulate and teach young people about cannabis use. However, specific ideas and strategies won’t be tested in the model experiment until they are established.
Model regions discussion
Others raise concerns about the health hazards, lack of control, and the negative effects of legalising, while some argue in favour of the initiative, highlighting the potential advantages and prospects. Model regions in Germany can offer insightful information by carefully analysing the project’s experiences and results.
However, not all municipalities are willing to test out the ideas. According to critics, the regions should concentrate on other issues like the environment, the labour market, and economic challenges. But how can the legalisation process move forward without the required research?