Federal Minister of Health in Germany, Karl Lauterbach, a member of the Social Democratic Party (SPD), remains resolute in his commitment to the legalisation of cannabis despite resistance within the Ampel Coalition. Lauterbach confidently anticipates the approval of the Cannabis Act in the Bundestag during the week of February 19th to 23rd, with the law slated to take effect on April 1st. The ongoing discussions surrounding this legislative change are might be promising, even in the face of concerns coming from some SPD members.
Legalisation plans and timeline
The Ampel Coalition, composed of the SPD, Free Democratic Party (FDP), and the Greens, reached an agreement in late November to remove cannabis from the list of prohibited substances in the Narcotics Act. The proposed legislation aims to permit the cultivation and possession of specified quantities of cannabis for adults aged 18 and above, starting from April 1, 2024.
Additionally, as of July 1, 2024, provisions are set to allow the establishment of clubs for collective cannabis cultivation. This move towards legalisation aligns with the commitments outlined in the Ampel Coalition agreement.
Minister Lauterbach’s confidence
Minister Lauterbach has remained undeterred by internal opposition and has expressed confidence in adhering to the agreed-upon timeline for the Cannabis Act. In an interview with the “Welt am Sonntag,” Lauterbach stated:
“I continue to assume that the Cannabis Act will be passed in the Bundestag during the week of February 19th to 23rd and can then take effect from April 1. The discussions are progressing promisingly.”
This statement underscores the Minister’s determination to see the legalisation process through, despite reservations voiced by certain SPD members, particularly those in the realm of internal politics.
Challenges within the SPD
Notably, some SPD domestic policy politicians have expressed concerns regarding the proposed cannabis legalisation. These reservations, however, have not swayed Minister Lauterbach from his course. The Minister’s steadfast approach is reflective of the broader commitment within the Ampel Coalition to fulfil the promises made in their coalition agreement.
Germany builds the way towards cannabis legalisation. Thus, Minister Lauterbach’s unwavering determination to uphold the agreed-upon timeline reflects a commitment to advancing the legislative agenda of the Ampel Coalition. The proposed Cannabis Act, with its provisions for cultivation, possession, and collective cultivation clubs, will bring significant changes to Germany’s approach to cannabis. The success of this legislative endeavour could mark a historic milestone in the country’s drug policy, aligning with the evolving perspectives on cannabis use and its potential benefits.