Postponed for a few days in view of events in Israel and Palestine, the first reading of the project to legalize cannabis in Germany was held on Wednesday October 18 in the Bundestag, the German parliament.
The bill would currently allow adults to possess cannabis and cultivate up to 3 plants. It would also allow the creation of Cannabis Clubs, cultivation associations which would distribute the harvest of their plants among members of the association. A second phase, not on the agenda, will eventually allow the retail sale of cannabis in specialized stores.
“With this bill, we are describing a new path, a courageous path, a path that places itself on the side of those who consume it. We have spoken out against state oppression and in favor of a progressive drug policy, which educates and grants freedom,” declared in the preamble Carmen Wegge, of the Social Democratic Party (SPD), after reminded that cannabis prohibition has failed.
Green Party member Kirsten Kappert-Gonther said banning cannabis made it even more dangerous. “Prohibiting the black market increases the risk,” she said, noting that illicit sellers do not provide verified information about the product’s ingredients or potency.
“Legalization would also better prevent child access through identity screening requirements,” she added.
“Instead of a thriving illegal market, we are now creating legal alternatives that adults can consume,” said the Green MP.
Free Democratic Party (FDP) MP Kristine Lütke acknowledged that the current bill was not final, but said it included key provisions such as the minimum distance between cultivation facilities and public schools and other sensitive areas.
Lütke said she hoped lawmakers could refine the bill during the legislative process.
“I know the topic is very emotional, but I think we can now get back to the factual level,” she said, noting that key points of the proposal were unveiled almost a year ago. and that the Cannabis Bill is now available.”
Opposition political parties tabled two motions ahead of Wednesday’s debate. The first, filed by the Union (CDU/CSU), calls on lawmakers to end the legalization of cannabis, which it says is taking the country “in the wrong direction” and will lead to an increase in cannabis use .
“The Federal Ministry of Health is working on the law to legalize cannabis while warning of the dangers of consumption. Instead of the planned legalization, it is necessary to strengthen prevention and education about the dangers that can arise from the consumption of cannabis. »
On social media on Wednesday, Mr Lauterbach, the Minister of Health, responded to the opposition of the CDU/CSU. In response to the party’s assertion that “young people up to the age of 25 are particularly at risk because their brain development is not yet complete”, Mr Lauterbach noted that consumption of cannabis among young adults has been “increasing for years” due to the current ban on adults.
“At the same time, toxic concentrations of THC are increasing and there are more additives,” he writes, suggesting that legal sources of cannabis would be safer for consumers than unregulated sources. “Should we complain about the problem and do nothing?” »
Der Konsum „bis zu 25“ nimmt seit Jahren zu. Gleichzeitig steigen Drogenkriminalität, toxic THC Konzentrationen und es gibt mehr Beimengungen. Sollen wir auch hier, wie bei eteren Themen, das Problem beklagen und nichts tun? Wenn Cannabis, dann sicher und ohne Dealer https://t.co/9xMNHprXPg
– Teacher. Karl Lauterbach (@Karl_Lauterbach) October 18, 2023
Another motion, from the Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, says lawmakers should instead focus on cannabis, which it says “enjoys a good reputation among the population.” The party argues that the Bundestag should abandon legalization of adult use and instead draft a new law to integrate medical cannabis into a national health care law, which would better address the “benefits and harms risks in an open manner” and could reduce costs for patients.
The text of the law will then be examined in committee. The Health Committee is scheduled to consider the proposal on Nov. 6, when lawmakers are expected to take expert testimony on the proposal.
A second and third (final) reading are scheduled for November 16.