Your latest cannabis business info from Europe

Your latest cannabis business info from Europe

2024-07-03

Cannabis Social Clubs in Germany can apply for permits

Cannabis Social Clubs in Germany can apply for permits

Starting July 1, Cannabis Clubs are able to apply for permission to cultivate cannabis. However, it may take some time before they can begin operations commercially.

The regulations are stringent, vary from country to country, or, as in Berlin, are still pending. In North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW), however, the state will control CSCs. On July 1, 2024, the planned and developing cannabis cultivation associations are expected to submit their applications and start operations. While up to 300 so-called Cannabis Social Clubs (CSCs) are expected to be approved in NRW soon, Berlin is still grappling with the necessary legal regulations, which may cause delays there.

Another approach presents NRW, where it has been decided that not the municipalities but the appropriate state institutions will be responsible for overseeing the local CSCs. The district governments, the State Agency for Nature, Environment and Consumer Protection (Lanuv), and the agricultural chambers have been selected to ensure compliance with the rules.

NRW: the responsibilities of the chosen institutions

Even before the start of the upcoming cultivation associations, the municipalities refused to be responsible for the control of the CSCs. In response to this request, a draft regulation was developed for the Health Committee, which now places the responsibility for controls with Lanuv, the agricultural chambers, and the district governments. The three institutions share the work and are each responsible for different areas.

As reported by the Rheinische Post, the district governments are tasked with ensuring that children and adolescents cannot access cannabis and hemp seeds through the associations. Lanuv will review the “substantive requirements of the cannabis and propagation material present in the cultivation associations.” This includes checking the use of fertilizers and pesticides and the materials used for packaging the distributed goods. The agricultural chambers, on the other hand, are responsible for other aspects of cultivation, such as hygienic conditions, proper drying of harvested cannabis, storage, and the water content of the cultivated cannabis or its propagation material.

Relieved municipalities

Christof Sommer is a Chief Executive of the NRW Association of Cities and Municipalities. He expressed relief that the state, rather than the municipalities, will take over the inspection of CSCs. From the municipalities’ perspective, it is a positive development that the state is assuming control of the cannabis clubs’ inspections. This was always their demand, as implementing the regulations requires personnel and expertise that cities and towns could scarcely provide.

According to Sommer, the public order authorities already have enough additional work with public space inspections following the enactment of the Cannabis Act (CanG). Now that the district governments and the state will take over the inspection of cultivation associations, this prevents further burdening of municipalities due to the cannabis law, confirms Helmut Dedy, Managing Director of the NRW City Council. The cities had always insisted that they should not have to take on this additional work. Thus, the decision is good news for the cities.

Who does not like the new approach?

Just as Vasili Franco, the Berlin Greens’ spokesperson for internal affairs, strongly criticizes the delays in Berlin, seeing a breach of the law by the state of Berlin on July 1, similar sentiments are echoed in NRW regarding the “delayed regulation.” Moreover, according to rp-online, additional positions must first be created in NRW to process the approval procedures for up to 3,000 clubs. These new employees are to be paid from the fees of the clubs, according to the local health ministry.

However, there is good news for future cultivation associations from Brandenburg, where an application to establish a cannabis club can be submitted to the responsible State Office for Occupational Safety, Consumer Protection, and Health (LAVG) starting July 1. On June 18, the Brandenburg cabinet in Potsdam decided that this authority would be responsible for implementing the cannabis law and controlling the CSCs.

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