Germany would not fully legalize cannabis after all

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Health Minister Karl Lauterbach wanted to legalize cannabis as soon as possible. Now, the leadership of the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD) admits: this will probably not happen for some time, the obstacles in Brussels being apparently too great.

German authorities are therefore reportedly planning to proceed with a scaled-down version of cannabis legalization, having abandoned – at least for now – a more ambitious proposal that would have paved the way for the legal sale of cannabis across the country.

Light legalization of cannabis in Germany

” We are on the right path. We have revised the proposals a bit,” Lauterbach said in brief comments on Friday, according to the Zeit. He added that he would “soon” return to the European Union (EU) with a “good proposal” that protects the general health and safety of young people.

The new plan is a two-part model that appears to be an attempt by German officials to legalize cannabis as widely as possible without going against EU rules.

First, the policy change would allow limited cannabis sales in certain areas – akin to a local pilot program like in Switzerland or in some way the Netherlands – for a period of four years. This would allow officials to see the impact of the reform both in large cities and in more rural areas. If the program is considered a success, it could be extended to other regions of the country.

While this part of the proposal will be subject to scrutiny by the European Commission, Mr Lauterbach’s plan would also allow Germans to grow their own cannabis for personal use, confirming rumors that cannabis will soon be decriminalized in Germany. This change would not require the green light from the EU.

Details of the home cultivation rule have yet to be finalized, but reports indicate that consumers could be allowed to own 20 to 30 cannabis plants under the proposal. In addition, non-commercial growers could then organize and distribute cannabis among themselves through Cannabis Social Clubs as already exist in Spain.

Proponents of legalization in Germany said on Friday they were eager to hear more about Mr Lauterbach’s proposal.

” Finally ! Kristine Lütke, a member of the German parliament and spokesperson for the Free Democratic Party on drug addiction and drug policy, wrote on Twitter: “I am really looking forward to hearing more about Mr. Lauterbach’s proposal. “I’m really looking forward to knowing the exact details! »

A failure of legalization not yet recorded

All these measures are far from corresponding to the initial plan of the traffic light coalition, which was to completely legalize cannabis in the short term. For some time, there have been signs that this project would encounter obstacles in Brussels. With its decision, the SPD leadership now admits that these obstacles are probably too great and therefore no legalization is to be expected soon.

“Our goal remains full legalization which also covers cultivation and distribution in accordance with European law. We support the federal government in taking the necessary measures,” underlines the SPD. Minister Lauterbach actually wanted to present a law at the end of March for the legalization of cannabis throughout Germany, for which he had already presented basic information. The draft was then to be sent to the European Commission in Brussels for review.

With such regulations, the German government wanted to go beyond the simple decriminalization that other countries have introduced. However, it has always been considered uncertain whether the German project is compatible with an EU framework decision. This obliges EU member states to criminalize the illegal trade in drugs such as cannabis. After a visit to Brussels, Mr. Lauterbach recently reported very good feedback.

The Ministry of Health told the Spiegel that consultations on the planned bill had not yet been completed. Lauterbach wants to stick to “full legalization”.

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