Last Friday, the plan to legalize cannabis in Germany was presented to the Bundesrat (or Federal Council), whose members represent the different German states. This chamber, where legislators insisted on the adoption of amendments, did not prevent the project from moving forward.
The federal government, which initiated the bill, will now respond to the Bundesrat’s comments, after which the legislation will be forwarded to the Bundestag for possible enactment.
What happened in the Bundesrat?
The motion by Bavaria’s representative in the Bundesrat to pause the bill was rejected, as was a measure that would have required formal consent from the Bundesrat before legalization could be enacted. Another proposed amendment to raise the age limit for legal possession of cannabis compared to the current draft, which provides for 18 years, was also rejected.
The majority of state government officials acknowledged that the legislation had a “structural enforcement deficit,” according to a translation. They want revisions to be made so that the federal government implements regulations in a way that does not result in administrative costs for states.
The Bundesrat committees made a total of 80 recommendations for revising the legalization proposal.
Also required are measures to prevent road accidents, the definition of standards for securing cultivation facilities and minimum standards imposed by law for the development of health and youth protection concepts.
The service, distribution and consumption of alcoholic beverages must also be prohibited in future Cannabis Clubs and the Länder also want the regulations relating to the protection of minors to be examined for their feasibility and implementation.
It was also asked to “fill the gaps in punishability”.
The chamber’s comments will now go to the federal cabinet, which drafted the legalization bill. He will be responsible for preparing a counter-statement, and then the bill will be sent to the main legislative chamber. If adopted by the Bundestag, the Bundesrat will be able to debate the proposal, but will not be able to prevent it from entering into force.
The law is expected to come into force in early 2024.
What’s in Germany’s legalization of cannabis?
The legalization measure was launched by Health Minister Karl Lauterbach. The proposal, which was unveiled in July, would allow adults to legally possess cannabis and cultivate up to three plants for personal use.
It also provides for the creation of social clubs that could distribute cannabis to their members, with purchase limits of 25 grams of cannabis per day for people aged over 21 (up to a total of 50 grams per month ) and a lower limit of 30 grams per month for people aged 18 to 21.
These facilities cannot be located within 200 meters of a school, and each city or district can only have one club per 6,000 residents, with a limit of 500 members per club. The permit to operate a social club would be valid for a maximum period of seven years, with the possibility of obtaining an extension after five years. According to the bill, club membership should last at least two months.
Secondly, the country will seek to establish a retail cannabis sales system.