In an effort to put public health and youth protection first, the government in Germany is making significant improvements in its proposed cannabis legislation, as reported on July 28, 2023. Despite current prohibition laws, recent developments have revealed a significant rise in non-medical cannabis use, particularly among young people. The government released their strategy for ensuring the well-being of the younger generation in the face of this expanding trend in response to a Minor Interpellation (Kleine Anfrage) from the Union faction.
Background of recent publications
The obvious health risks that come along with using cannabis purchased on the illegal market are one of the main issues. Users may accidentally take higher doses of this euphoric substance because the THC content is unclear. The risks could also be increased by the presence of harmful chemicals, contaminants, and synthetic cannabinoids.
The government is preparing comprehensive procedures for the controlled distribution of cannabis. They are being prepared with a focus on increasing youth protection in order to solve these challenges.
What is Germany going to do?
According to the government’s reaction cannabis will only be provided to adult members within chosen cultivation associations. It will be available only for personal consumption, strictly subject to age verification.
The measure also calls for mandatory packaging warnings regarding the health dangers linked with cannabis usage. There will also be a ban on cannabis advertising and sponsorship of agricultural associations. The cultivating associations will need development of a health and youth protection concept, along with the appointment of a relevant officer.
The proposed legislation’s restriction on the distance between cultivation associations and facilities for children and adolescents is an important component. In Germany, no permits will be issued to cannabis cultivation associations that are situated within 200 metres (as the crow flies) of playgrounds, youth infrastructure, or school entrances. With this strategy, the availability and exposure to cannabis to vulnerable young groups will be reduced.
The government also plans to set restrictions on the amount of cannabis provided to young adults between the ages of 18 and 21 as well as the THC concentration of that cannabis. The maximum THC level will be 10%, and the monthly supply given to this age group will not be more than 30 grams.
Finding a balance in new cannabis legislations
Proposed legislation may protect young people from any risks that might be connected to cannabis use. The government attempts to find a balance between damage reduction and individual freedom. It is also placing a priority on public health and the wellbeing of the country’s youth.
This legislation represents a considerable step forward. However, it also raises issues and disputes about the protection of adolescents and drug policies generally. Critics worry whether these protections would have unexpected repercussions. This may be furthering the illicit market or affecting individual freedoms. But, supporters claim that they will reduce any potential harm from cannabis usage. Stakeholders from various sectors, such as health professionals, educators, law enforcement, and advocacy groups, are having discussions as the government advances the legislation process ahead in order to ensure an informed and balanced approach.
The initiatives taken by Germany may act as a useful model for other countries dealing with comparable issues. Comprehensive youth protection measures and evidence-based policies are crucial in ensuring the next generation with a healthier and safer future.
German Bundestag has been working on cannabis legalisation for a long time, including scientific services cooperation. The scientific service of the Bundestag has also expressed scepticism about the proposal’s compliance with European law. The government of Germany is taking into account all possible drawbacks.