Germany One Step Closer To Legalize Recreational Cannabis

Summary: The German government has taken significant steps towards the legalization of recreational marijuana use. The proposed legislation would permit adults to purchase and possess small quantities of cannabis and also allow the establishment of nonprofit social clubs for cannabis cultivation and purchase. This will make Germany the first major European country to legalize recreational cannabis.

German Cabinet Endorses Plan to Legalize Recreational Cannabis Use

The German government has made a significant stride towards the legalization of recreational cannabis use. A recently approved plan by the government would allow adults to legally buy and possess small amounts of cannabis. This move could position Germany as the first major European country to legalize marijuana.

The proposed legislation, which still awaits parliamentary approval, would permit adults to purchase and possess up to 25 grams of recreational cannabis for personal use. Additionally, adults would have the opportunity to join non-profit “cannabis clubs” with up to 500 members. Within these clubs, marijuana can be legally cultivated and purchased.

And in the US the DEA rethink the legally of Delta-8 and other hemp-derived THC’s

Karl Lauterbach, Germany’s health minister, described the legislation as “a concept of controlled legalization.” He believes that this approach would counteract the black market, reduce drug-related crime, and enable safer marijuana consumption. The legislation also emphasizes the prohibition of drug use by minors and plans to launch a campaign highlighting the health risks, especially for young people.

The proposed legislation has faced challenges. An earlier version of the plan, introduced by Mr. Lauterbach, would have allowed marijuana distribution through commercial stores. However, this idea was abandoned after facing resistance from the European Union’s governing body, the European Commission.

Despite its potential benefits, the draft law has faced opposition from various quarters, including conservative politicians, doctors, and law enforcement officials. Concerns have been raised about the potential increase in cannabis consumption among young people and the added bureaucratic stress on the judicial system.

Source: Cannabis Business Executive & Medical Xpress

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Week In Review: Missouri Cannabis Sales Exceed $1B; SAFE Banking Act in the Senate

In this week’s cannabis news round-up, SAFE Baking Act read in the Senate; Missouri cannabis sales pass $2 billion; iconic NorCal event the Emerald Cup announces its 2023 honorary award winners and the EU continues to stall on legalization.

Missouri Capitol building. PHOTO Henryk Sadura

Missouri’s Combined Cannabis Sales Exceed $1 Billion

The combined sales of legally regulated medical and adult-use cannabis in Missouri have exceeded $1 billion since the state legalized both medical and recreational markets. This significant sales milestone was achieved on May 2, according to the Missouri Division of Cannabis Regulation.

State government records show that April witnessed $30.1 million in medical marijuana sales and $91 million in adult-use cannabis sales, amounting to a total of $121.1 million. Comparatively, March recorded $126.2 million in legal cannabis sales. Projections indicate that Missouri’s cannabis market could reach a value of up to $505 million in 2023.

Since the launch of the state’s regulated adult-use market in February 2023, it has encountered some expected early challenges seen in other new recreational markets, such as supply shortages and high prices. Missouri’s medical marijuana market, on the other hand, commenced in October 2020 and has been in operation for a longer duration.

PHOTO rrodrickbeiler

SAFE Banking Act Read to Senate Banking Committee

The US Senate Banking Committee met on May 11 to discuss the SAFE Banking Act, a crucial legislation that would make it easier for the cannabis industry to access banking services.

The meeting, “Examining Cannabis Banking Challenges of Small Businesses and Workers,” heard testimony from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, including Sens. Jeff Merkley, D-OR., and Steve Daines, R-MT., who reintroduced the standalone bill last week. The committee will also hear from witnesses, including the Cannabis Regulators of Color Coalition, Drug Policy Alliance and the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union.

Morgan Paxhia, managing partner at Poseidon Investment Management, called the day “historic” and an “important step” towards banking access. “The industry was well represented with a professional and honest discussion about the need for SAFE Banking to be done and done promptly,” he said. “The various groups have inputs that may help to further clarify the bill with a focus on a clean initiative. Opposition seems to continue with the same drug war era rhetoric that was largely refuted by members of the Senate along with industry representation. Anarchy doesn’t reign when cannabis is legalized, obvious to the majority of Americans currently living in legal cannabis states. Today was an important step and we look to the Senate to run, not walk, with the additional steps needed to get to a vote.”

If the bill advances through the committee stage, it would be voted by the Senate for the first time. The bill has been passed by the House of Representatives seven times in the past four years since it was first introduced. Industry insiders are cautiously optimistic that the bill, which has bipartisan support, will be signed into law this time.

Mila the Hash Queen
Mila Jansen, winner of the Willie Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award. PHOTO Maria Cavali

Emerald Cup Announces 2023 Honorary Awards

The 19th Annual Emerald Cup Awards are being held on Saturday, May 13, lighting up the Bay Area in a celebration of this year’s winners and tomorrow’s tastemakers. The annual event celebrates and recognizes excellence in the cannabis industry, specifically focusing on organic and sun-grown cannabis, while honoring the heritage of Northern California’s cannabis culture.

The Willie Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award: Mila Jansen

Visionary Award: Amber E. Senter

Social Justice Award: Weldon Angelos

Trailblazer Award: Alex Aquino

Additionally, renowned cannabis breeder Soma, creator of such beloved cultivars as NYC Diesel and Amnesia Haze, will be inducted into the Breeder’s Hall of Fame.

PHOTO Andrey Kuzmin

EU Continues to Push Back on Legalization

Europe is witnessing a mounting wave of calls for cannabis legalization, as an increasing number of countries aim to emulate the progressive steps taken by Canada and certain parts of the US. However, resistance from the European Union (EU) has resulted in many governments grappling with the challenge of formulating legislation that aligns with EU laws, international drug treaties and public health considerations. The sticking point is that the commercial legalization of cannabis contradicts international treaties, including the United Nations’ 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs.

Among the countries spearheading cannabis legalization reform in Europe reforms is the Czech Republic, who revealed its commitment to drafting a bill last year, with the aim of legalizing cannabis for adult use. This significant move represents the country’s most notable stride since the decriminalization of personal possession in 2010.

Germany has also joined the ranks by presenting proposals in October to legalize the consumption and sale of cannabis, a development that, if approved, would establish the world’s largest regulated national marijuana market.

Luxembourg has taken a step forward by enacting a law permitting residents to cultivate for personal use. Similarly, Malta has authorized private “cannabis clubs,” while Switzerland, despite not being an EU member, has granted approval for a trial period involving the sale and consumption of the drug in Zurich.

Even the Netherlands, where the cultivation and sale of cannabis remain technically criminalized but tolerated, has plans to initiate a pilot program by the end of this year to explore the legal sale of cannabis.

The post Week In Review: Missouri Cannabis Sales Exceed $1B; SAFE Banking Act in the Senate appeared first on Cannabis Now.

Czechia Trends Toward Adult-Use Cannabis Legalization

Government leadership in the Czech Republic has approved a new national drugs strategy that, if approved by the nation’s parliament and signed into law by its president, would allow for adult-use cannabis commerce to some degree. The plan, which was first announced by the Prime Minister of Czechia, Petr Fiala, would reportedly serve as the foundation for the nation’s approach to drug policy through the end of 2025.

Currently, cannabis that contains less than 1% THC (“cannabis light”) is permitted in the Czech Republic, and possession of up to ten grams of higher-THC cannabis and the cultivation of up to five plants is decriminalized. It’s estimated that roughly 20,000 Czechs are fined under the nation’s cannabis decriminalization law every year. However, if the new proposal becomes law, such activity will be completely legal rather than result in a fine.

National Anti-Drug Coordinator Promotes Legalization

Typically, when someone has a title like “national anti-drug coordinator” they are more likely to be leading the charge against adult-use cannabis legalization, and not leading the charge in support of legalization. However, that’s exactly the case in the Czech Republic where Jindřich Vobořil, that nation’s anti-drug coordinator, is pushing hard for legalization under the premise that it’s better for public health outcomes compared to prohibition.

“At the moment, there’s a political consensus for me to create this proposal for the regulation of cannabis, a substance which is illegal. We want to regulate it with the help of the market, and we believe that this regulation will be more effective than the current ban.” Vobořil said at a press briefing back in October 2022.

Later in the fall of 2022, after Germany’s Health Minister Karl Lauterbach made a presentation to his country’s federal cabinet in which he promoted cannabis legalization as a better alternative to prohibition, Jindřich Vobořil weighed in via social media and indicated that the Czech Republic would legalize in tandem with Germany.

“Germany and the Czech Republic go to a regulated market at the same time,” Jindřich Vobořil stated on his Facebook page last fall.

“Today, Germany announced through the mouth of its Minister of Health that it is launching the legislative process. It won’t be quite the free market, as some would expect. For example, colleagues from Germany talk about the allowed amount, they do not have cannabis clubs that we are supposed to. I’m pretty sure I want to hold on to cannabis clubs until my last breath. I find this model very useful, at least for the first years.” Vobořil went on to write in his post.

A Continental Movement

Lauterbach and Vobořil are both making a similar point in support of adult-use cannabis legalization, basing their arguments on public health outcomes under prohibition versus regulation. According to the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction, roughly 30% of Czech adults have tried cannabis at least once in their lifetime, and between 8% and 9% report using it regularly.

What’s being proposed in the Czech Republic doesn’t include many details as of now. As the nation’s top drug policy leader indicated last fall, the country’s legalization model will likely be built around cannabis clubs. It’s a model that was already approved in Malta in late 2021 and is likely to be implemented in Germany to some degree soon. Ultimately, per the recently announced plan by Czechia’s government, a group of experts will craft something in the coming weeks/months, with the goal of providing it to lawmakers for consideration and approval.

In the meantime, people are going to consume cannabis whether it’s legal to purchase it in Czechia or not, and under a cannabis prohibition model, 0% of cannabis sales involve regulated products. How many of the products are tainted with pesticides, fungicides, heavy metals and other harmful substances is anyone’s guess considering products aren’t tested and production facilities aren’t inspected under prohibition.

It’s undeniably better from an overall public health outcome perspective to have consumers purchasing tested cannabis products from regulated outlets rather than forcing them to unregulated sources. Obviously, there is a lot that goes into standing up and maintaining a regulatory system for an industry as popular as the cannabis industry. However, Rome wasn’t built in a day, and the same is true for adult-use cannabis regulation in the Czech Republic. Fortunately, the European country is trending in the right direction and meaningful steps are being taken by the nation’s government to make legalization a reality.

The post Czechia Trends Toward Adult-Use Cannabis Legalization appeared first on Cannabis Now.

Germany Bows to E.U. Pressure

Germany has bowed to European Union (E.U.) pressure to scale back their cannabis legalization plans. Their revised legalization plan came after a meeting with the E.U.’s executive commission. Germany’s agriculture minister is still adamant that the country is “pushing” for legalization. However, Germany’s health minister has said that the government would only legalize if it got the green light from the E.U. That said, the minister told the media that “consumption will become legal this year.” Germany Bows to E.U. […]

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Germany Waters Down Cannabis Liberalization After EU Meeting

Germany‘s cannabis liberalization plans will not be as comprehensive as folks hoped. At least for now, Amsterdam-style coffee shops may be a pipe dream after talks with the EU. Instead, the Associated Press reports that the watered-down plan will use state-controlled non-profit social clubs. If you’re a German resident at least 18 years old, you can join one and purchase up to 25 grams per day (or up to 50 grams per month). However, if you’re in the 18-21 age bracket, that figure is limited to 30 grams for adults under age 21. 

Germany has allowed the sale of cannabis for medical patients since 2017. The cannabis liberalization plan is one of many social reform projects proposed by socially liberal German Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s three-party governing coalition planned to instate when taking office in December 2021.

Additionally, these cannabis clubs have a set maximum of 500 members each. The clubs can grow their own cannabis for their members to enjoy. Individuals can also grow, but it is limited to three plants per person. You’re only allowed to join one club, and authorities can limit the number of clubs that exist. The clubs’ expenses will be covered by membership fees, on a sliding scale, depending on how much cannabis the members use.

German officials also plan to set up regional test projects to sell cannabis through “commercial supply chains,” Health Minister Karl Lauterbach said. The finished proposal is a watered-down one that was initially proposed in October, which would allow the sale of cannabis to adults all across the country at licensed ships.

German ministers say that the scaled-back plan for liberalization results from restrictions established by the EU. Not everyone is ready to embrace the brave new world of cannabis legalization. Just as it is across the pond in the U.S., Conservative politicians oppose cannabis liberalization, saying loosening restrictions is dangerous, the BBC reports. For example, the Bavarian Premier Markus Söder tweeted that legalizing drugs was “simply the wrong path to go down,” adding that “drug clubs” did not solve any problems but created new ones. As a result, in a relatable outcome, Germany had to compromise. 

While Germany’s new cannabis plan is not a pro-cannabis advocate’s ideal outcome, it’s still a big step in the right direction. Twenty-five grams is nearly an ounce of cannabis. The intention of liberalizing Germany’s cannabis laws is to try and stop the black market. However, the country would be advised to look at places such as California, where the illegal market continues to flourish due to government red tape and high entry barriers into the legal market. If any country or state truly wants to eliminate illicit weed, it would be best served to create a realistic plan that meets consumers’ desires. 

The scaled-back plan comes after meetings with the European Union’s (EU) executive commission. The Associated Press reports that Agriculture Minister Cem Özdemir said EU law “sets us limits we must respect, but that I will also say we are pushing.” Özdemir also noted that the draft of the legislation will be finalized this month and that “consumption will become legal this year already.” The next step is to implement five-year tests of regulated commercial supply chains in select regions which remain to be chosen. 

The plans still need to obtain the approval of the German parliament’s lower house (officials said an endorsement is unnecessary from the upper house). That chamber represents Germany’s 16 state governments, including the country’s primary and more conservative center-right opposition bloc, which opposes liberalizing cannabis laws. However, the health minister argued that Germany’s existing policies have failed and added that their goal is to create safer products. “We are not creating a problem,” Lauterbach said. “We are trying to solve a problem.”

The post Germany Waters Down Cannabis Liberalization After EU Meeting appeared first on High Times.

ICBC Barcelona 2023 Connected Cannabis Businesses From Around the World

Thousands of cannabis business leaders from around the world gathered together on March 9, 2023, to put in a full day of work at the International Cannabis Business Conference in Barcelona, Europe’s premiere business-to-business cannabis event.

Despite the Spanish city’s tendency to keep people out until the wee hours of the morning, the bustling L’Auditori de Cornellà was packed with people from the very beginning of the day. Two floors of exhibitors kept attendees moving, hoping to connect with everyone from hardware manufacturers to seed banks and everyone in between before the day was done.

International Cannabis Business Conference—also known as ICBC— originated in the US nearly a decade ago and has made its mark on several countries, including Canada, Switzerland, and Croatia, with its flagship shows occurring annually in Barcelona and Berlin. Focusing on high-impact education and strictly business-to-business networking, ICB creates a professional landscape perfect for deal flow.

“The cool thing about what we do here at ICBC Barcelona is we create the b2b element,” said Alex Rogers, founder and CEO of ICBC. “We’re getting everybody coming together to talk and do business—we’ve become the b2b meeting point here in Barcelona for Spannabis week.”

The professional environment ICBC provides is crucial for many cannabis industry entrepreneurs and thought leaders who come to Barcelona every year to celebrate Spannabis. Having a day solely focused on building relationships and advancing the global conversation around the plant ensures movement for the space, something that is not lost on the attendees, exhibitors, and sponsors.

“Our team always finds ICBC of the highest caliber in terms of all of the opportunities to connect with professionals that are truly doing amazing work and are excited about the future of the space,” said speaker Luna Stower, chief impact officer at Ispire. “It’s the premier networking space for those looking to do good business with good people—everything from the main conference to the after-party was well organized and run like a well-oiled machine.”

Alex Rogers, founder and CEO of ICBC.

The ICBC Barcelona 2023 agenda was jam-packed, with programming in Spanish and English covering topics such as comparing medical marijuana regulations across Europe, media and marketing, advances in cannabis technology, and the state of the international cannabis landscape, all featuring heavy hitters representing every side of the vertical—and every corner of the globe.

One of the most talked about panels was “Squaring the Circle of Industrial Hemp in Spain.” While it mainly focused on the country’s domestic hemp space, it raised important questions about the potential industrial hemp has around the globe. At a time when climate change is ravaging the planet, the myriad uses for hemp as an energy source, building material, and plastic alternative cannot be ignored any longer.

“Jack Herer used to tell me hemp can save the planet,” Rogers said when asked about the popularity of the panel. “I wasn’t sure if I believed him back then. But now I am a believer.”

All Eyes Are on Germany

While many of the conversations at ICBC Barcelona 2023 centered on Spain, the real buzz centered on Germany. German officials, who legalized medical cannabis in 2017, have been working diligently to introduce adult-use legalization—a first for the European Union. The plans are expected to be announced any day and were recently given the thumbs up from EU officials—a precedent that signals a significant shift for the region.

“This is the biggest news in cannabis right now—Germany is the big dog in the EU,” Rogers remarked. “Once Germany (legalizes), it basically gives permission for other countries in Europe to do it also.”

Ngaio Bealum, comedian, writer, and longtime master of ceremonies for ICBC, also predicted big things for Deutschland.

“I think Germany is really going to blow up. And it will also open it up for everybody else in Europe to see how it’s done; we can generally trust the Germans to be relatively efficient.”

Despite turmoil facing mature markets in the US, the booming international market led to a renewed sense of vigor among event participants.

“The ICBC Barcelona 2023 event was one of the best we have been to in the past couple of years; we felt we got a lot out of our main sponsor role,” Stower said of Ispire’s engagement. “Considering the news that just dropped in Germany and all the excitement around Europe in general, the energy was electric.”

Rogers echoed Stower’s sentiments, encouraging everyone to stay tuned for a very busy ICBC Berlin on June 27—and to think beyond the current market excitement, reminding us all that this is a global movement.

“Europe is the place right now,” Rogers quipped. “But the great thing about ICBC is all the people that come from all around the world, so it’s become a meeting point for the Eastern hemisphere and part of the Western hemisphere. So it is the most internationally diverse meeting point for cannabis in the world.”

The post ICBC Barcelona 2023 Connected Cannabis Businesses From Around the World appeared first on Cannabis Now.

Week in Review: Germany Likely to Legalization; Politics a Hot Topic at SXSW

Germany’s Health Minister Indicates That Legalization Will Proceed

The German health minister has indicated that adult-use legalization will move forward in the European country, reports Marijuana Moment. Minister Karl Lauterbach said on Tuesday that he has received “very good feedback” from the European Commission and expects his bill to be formally presented “in the next few weeks.” 

“We’ll soon present a proposal that works, that is, that conforms to European law,” Minister Lauterbach said. Throughout the lobbying process, the minister has indicated that his efforts aim to improve public health in Germany via regulating adult-use cannabis. In 2022, the Federal Cabinet of Germany adopted a preliminary outline for legalization legislation. Still, the government required EU approval to ensure that adopting the change wouldn’t violate their international duties.

Under the government’s soon-to-be-revised proposal, which is currently only a 12-page framework and not actual legislation, adults 18 and older would be permitted to purchase and possess up to 30 grams of cannabis from establishments with federal licenses, potentially including pharmacies. Moreover, they may raise up to three plants for their own use.

Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Andrew DeAngelo. Photo courtesy of SXSW

Legalization the Hot Topic at SXSW 2023

Global Cannabis Consultant and Strategic Advisor Andrew DeAngelo, Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Rep. Nancy Mace (R-SC) gathered onstage to discuss federal cannabis legalization at this year’s SXSW conference in Austin. The panel, called “Which Political Party Will Legalize Weed?” gave the two representatives an opportunity for a lively discussion on the end of federal cannabis prohibition. Moderator DeAngelo pushed the politicians on the lack of progress in the Capitol, according to Green Market Report.

Blumenauer is said to be “more optimistic” than last year, referencing President Biden’s pardoning of cannabis prisoners and the fact that Biden is also keeping the possibility of descheduling on the table after initiating a review of cannabis classification. However, he was said to be more critical of Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s (D-NY) inability to get a voting measure passed by the House, quoted as saying their desire for perfect legislation is behind the continued stalling but believes the two had “learned their lesson” and are more open to compromise.

Mace was reportedly less optimistic, saying if any change is going to happen, it needs to be done before June, as after that, “it’ll be about the presidential election,” she said. The South Carolina Republican also noted that President Biden could use it to his advantage to boost his reelection hopes.

Photo couresy of Death Row Cannabis

Snoop Extends Death Row Cannabis Product Offering 

 Following the sold-out first product drop of its debut offerings LA Runtz, Trop Cherry, Strawberry Garry and SFV OG, Death Row Cannabis has launched two new additions, True OG and Strawberry Gelato (Apple Fritter x Lemon Cherry Gelato hybrid), on March 10. Plus, fans of LA Runtz can be reassured that the popular strain also be returning. Like the first fire drop, these new cultivars were carefully by Death Row Cannabis’ Head of Operations, AK, a longtime West Coast legacy cultivator. 

“We’re very excited to introduce California consumers to Death Row Cannabis’s newest heavy hitter, Strawberry Gelato,” Travis “Shaggy” Marshall, head of product, said. “It has a loud, unique strawberry nose that’s tart and sharp on the front but sweet and creamy on the back. To me, it’s what I’d imagine a strawberry shortcake-flavored milkshake would taste like. Not only is it uniquely delicious, but testing at over 35% it also packs a punch for heavier smokers like me.” 

Arkansas Police: Medical Marijuana Causes Other Crimes

No Increase in Traffic-Related Hospitalizations Following Cannabis Legalization

The introduction of adult-use marijuana sales in Canada isn’t linked to a rise in hospitalizations for traffic-related injuries, according to data published in the journal Addiction, reports NORML. Researchers compared the national rates of hospital admissions and emergency room visits in the years before and immediately after legalization. 

 “Overall, there’s no clear evidence that RCL [recreational cannabis laws] had any effect on rates of ED visits and hospitalizations for either motor vehicle or pedestrian/cyclist injury across Canada,” the authors concluded.

The results align with an earlier Canadian study from 2021, which “found no evidence that the implementation of the Cannabis Act was associated with significant changes in post-legalization patterns of all drivers’ traffic-injury ED visits or, more specifically, youth-driver traffic-injury ED presentations.”

The post Week in Review: Germany Likely to Legalization; Politics a Hot Topic at SXSW appeared first on Cannabis Now.

Germany One Step Closer to Legalization

According to a top German official, Germany is one step closer to legalization. The coalition government plans to move forward with cannabis legalization after receiving “very good feedback” from the European Union (E.U.). German Health Minister Karl Lauterbach is confident Germany will introduce legalization legislation “in the next few weeks,” reports the German press. “We will soon present a proposal that works, that is, that conforms to European law,” said Lauterbach. Why Germany Needs the E.U.’s Support Germany took a […]

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What Will Germany’s Legalization Model Involve?

Germany is currently in the international cannabis community spotlight with a national adult-use legalization measure expected to be formally introduced at any moment. The measure will be the culmination of years of effort by activists and lawmakers in Germany, as well as a heavy dose of recent lobbying of the European Union on the part of Germany’s Health Minister Karl Lauterbach. While legalization appears inevitable in Germany, it remains to be seen exactly what the nation’s legalization model will entail.

The current political push in Germany was born out of the 2021 federal election from which a new governing coalition was elected. The “Traffic Light Coalition,” as it’s often referred to, was quick to establish its intent to pass a national adult-use measure and to launch a regulated recreational industry. Many members of the Traffic Light Coalition participated in a historic cannabis policy discussion at the International Cannabis Business Conference in Berlin in the weeks leading up to the federal election. At that time, they indicated that legalization would be part of an eventual governing coalition agreement.

German Health Minister Karl Lauterbach presented a proposal in October 2022 to the federal cabinet, providing the world with a first glimpse at what legalization may look like in Germany. However, what was presented last year was merely a proposal—not a formal measure—and it’s unclear how much of Lauterbach’s presentation will make it to the finish line.

Lobbying the European Union

During Minister Lauterbach’s October presentation, he made it abundantly clear that he would seek the European Union’s approval before  formally introducing any legalization measure. Since that time, Minister Lauterbach has participated in discussions with the European Union. Leaks and comments regarding how the process is going have generated several headlines. Cannabis observers around the globe have kept a close eye to watch for any movement, and a set of comments made by Minister Lauterbach in late January may be the most telling of anything that’s surfaced thus far.

According to reports out of Germany, Lauterbach is “certain” the European Union will grant its approval and that a formal introduction of the legalization measure will occur “in the first quarter of this year.” Minister Lauterbach added, according to the report, that he “has no reason to doubt this schedule.”

Those comments may provide hints regarding the timeline for a formal introduction of a legalization measure. However, they don’t shine any light on what components of legalization the European Union may be OK with, and what components it considers to be potential deal breakers.

The legalization model that Minister Lauterbach presented to the federal cabinet late last year was based on domestic production; home cultivation permitted in adult households (three plants); and the eventual legalization of adult-use sales. The Minister’s reasoning appears to be that treaties prevent Germany from importing cannabis for adult-use sales, but that Germany can legalize a domestically supplied adult-use cannabis industry to “improve public health outcomes.” Minister Lauterbach’s proposed legalization model also includes removing cannabis from Germany’s narcotics list.

A prior leaked version of Lauterbach’s proposal involved THC percentage limits on products, but Minister Lauterbach indicated in his October 2022 presentation that THC limits would need to be researched further. Some of these provisions may have evolved during discussions between Minister Lauterbach and the European Union, although no one other than the parties involved in the discussions know.

Two-Stepped Approach

The push for national legalization in Germany comes after a different European country, Malta, already passed a national adult-use legalization measure in late 2021. Malta was the first country in Europe to pass such a measure. Malta’s population and economy are tiny compared to Germany’s, yet the small island nation’s legalization model establishes various precedents that have undoubtedly benefitted Germany in its discussions with the European Union. This provides insight into what legalization could look like in Germany.

For starters, consumers in Malta of legal age can already possess up to seven grams of cannabis and cultivate up to four plants at their residence. Malta is also starting to accept license applications for nonprofit adult-use cannabis clubs. If Malta can proceed with implementing those legalization model components without the European Union stepping in to prevent it, then presumably Germany (and other European nations) can do the same.

Until a measure is formally introduced in Germany, there’s always the possibility that components of the measure could evolve. Components that were previously omitted in the October 2022 presentation could come back into the fray, such as THC percentage caps and social use licenses. Other components could be watered down a bit, such as the proposed 30-gram possession limit or the three plant cultivation limit being lowered.

It’s also quite possible that legalization in Germany could be rolled out in phases, with the first phase involving the removal of cannabis prohibition enforcement as it pertains to individuals, and the second phase involving the launch of a regulated industry. A two-phased approach certainly has its benefits: The first phase would be easy to implement and instantly save public resources in Germany, as well as prevent more lives from being harmed by prohibition. The second phase would involve the launch of a regulated industry—which is a much heavier public policy and regulatory lift—which could then proceed on its own timeline. As long as progress is being made on the industry launch effort, and there are no unreasonable delays, the two-phase approach could be viable.

The post What Will Germany’s Legalization Model Involve? appeared first on Cannabis Now.

German Opposition Leader Lobbies EU To Nix Country’s Cannabis Proposal

A leader of Germany’s main opposition party took aim at the country’s proposal to decriminalize marijuana on Wednesday, asking the European Union to step in and block the plan. 

Klaus Holetschek, the health minister for a conservative-led state government in Germany, “met the EU’s director-general for migration and home affairs in Brussels on Wednesday to urge an EU veto,” according to the Associated Press.

The proposal was offered up late last month by German Health Minister Karl Lauterbach. If it were implemented, the new law would “decriminalize the possession of up to 30 grams (about 1 ounce) of cannabis and to allow the sale of the substance to adults for recreational purposes in a controlled market,” the Associated Press reported

As the German broadcaster Deutsche Welle reported in June, “legalizing and regulating the cannabis market was one of the progressive reforms promised by Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s government when his [Social Democratic Party of Germany] signed a coalition agreement with the neoliberal Free Democrats (FDP) and the Green Party last year.”

Lauterbach, a member of the Social Democratic Party, said in June that he had “always been opposed to cannabis legalization,” but that he revised his “position about a year ago.” 

He stated “his desire to have a new set of cannabis laws to present to Germany’s parliament, the Bundestag, in the second half of the year,” Deutsche Welle reported at the time

But those plans hit a snag in September, when the coalition government of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), the Greens and the Free Democratic Party (FDP) expressed concern that the proposal they had prepared may not be approved by the European Union courts.

“There is a degree of caution about promises of a breakthrough before the end of the year,” a German government official said at the time. “The complexity of all is starting to sink in, and there’s a sharper awareness of the risks involved. We don’t want another autobahn toll debacle,” a reference to a plan to build a toll road that was abandoned when the European court of justice ruled it violated an anti-discrimination law because it would disproportionately affect foreign drivers.”

Last month, after unveiling his decriminalization proposal, Lauterbach said that the German government would “check with the European Union’s executive commission whether the plan approved by the German government is in line with EU laws and would proceed with legislation ‘on this basis’ only if it gets the green light,” the Associated Press reported at the time.

Under the proposal, cannabis could be “grown under license and sold to adults at licensed outlets to combat the black market,” according to the AP, while individuals “would be allowed to grow up to three plants, and to buy or possess 20 to 30 grams of marijuana.”

Holetschek blasted the coalition government’s proposal on Wednesday, and urged the European Union to block the measure.

Per the Associated Press, “Holetschek said he told the EU official, Monique Pariat, that ‘the German government’s planned cannabis legalization doesn’t just endanger health, but I am convinced that it also violates European law,’” and  he “argued that two EU agreements oblige Germany and other member countries to criminalize the production and sale of drugs such as cannabis.”

Although marijuana is decriminalized in a number of European countries, full-fledged legalization is still fairly rare across the continent. 

Last year, the tiny state of Malta became the first country in the European Union to legalize pot. The new law allows individuals to posses as many seven grams and to grow up to four plants in their residence. 

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