“Our previous cannabis control policy has failed” Lauterbach said today at a federal press conference. Its aim was to present the new key points of the cannabis legalization act in Germany with the Minister of Agriculture Cem Özdemir. We can expect the relevant bill in April. However, we had known that we could hear about first suggestions right after Easter. “We are releasing cannabis and strengthening the protection of children and young people,” added Özdemir.
What do we know about the current plans for cannabis in Germany?
We already know that legalization will happen in two steps. As we can hear in the important points, “Restrictions resulting from EU and international law have been taken into account.” Therefore, legalization has a smaller impact than originally thought.
First, there should be no penalties for having up to 25 grams of cannabis in your hands or growing no more than three plants. Possession of up to 25 grams of cannabis in public places will not have any consequences. On request, prior convictions for up to three plants or 25 grams of possession or self-cultivation may be removed from the Federal Central Register. Cannabis use by minors will be punishable by attendance at intervention and prevention programs.
The federal government also intends to let grow and sell hemp in designated associations. An individual can grow maximum of three “female flowering plants”. Also, they have to keeep the plants out of the reach of kids and teenagers. Additionally, “non-profit” organizations with up to 500 members may cultivate marijuana jointly for recreational use and sell it to members only for personal use. The age requirement for admission and membership will be 18 years old. Membership fees should cover the cost of cultivation. However if not, the clubs can expect extra fee per gram. Clubs cannot make advertising and must employ Youth Protection, Substance Abuse, and Prevention Officers. People cannot have multiple club membership. The population density could also be a constraint on the number of associations.
For the time being, there will be no planned specialty cannabis shops. This is to be tested only in the second stage and only in a few model regions, with scientific support. The government agreed to this after talks with the European Commission.
What restrictions can we expect regarding cannabis use?
New law will prohibit both serving alcohol and eating meals in the club rooms. We can also expect a minimum distance between clubs and kindergartens and schools. Additionally, it will be illegal to consume in public areas close to kindergartens and schools. People will not be allowed to consume cannabis until 20:00 in pedestrian areas. The conference did not make it clear whether or when and where people can start smoking.
In addition, limit values in road, sea and air traffic are to be checked with the participation of relevant specialist committees. The regulations regarding “the permissibility of driving while under the influence of marijuana are based solely on road safety requirements,” we read.
The future of cannabis in Germany
The cannabis industry has long hoped to boom with possible legalization in Germany. The case is legally difficult: there were fears from the beginning that the project might fail or slow down by international and EU law.
Ministers have justified the measures, saying that their major objective is to fight back against the illegal market and drug-related criminality. “No one should buy from dealers without knowing what they are buying,” zdemir remarked. According to Lauterbach, adult marijuana use should be “within clear bounds, surrounded by preventive measures for youth.”