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Germany’s official plans for cannabis legalisation a ‘victory’ for consumers

Germany has published official draft proposals for the legalisation of adult-use cannabis.



Germany's plans cannabis legalisation
Photo: Maheshkumar Painam/ Unsplash

Germany has published official draft proposals for the legalisation of adult-use cannabis, with some key changes which have been described as a ‘victory’ for consumers.

Germany’s official plans for the legalisation of adult-use cannabis have been published, following a high-profile leak to the press last week.

Minister of Health Karl Lauterbach (SPD) yesterday (Wednesday 26 October) presented the 12 key points of regulation to the country’s Federal Cabinet, with a number of key changes from what was initially reported.

Under the proposals, cannabis will no longer be classed as a narcotic and citizens over the age of 18 will be free to carry up to 30g of cannabis for personal use, with consumption in public spaces permitted after 8pm.

This is significantly higher than the 20g limit reported last week. 

Consumers will also be permitted to grow up to three plants per person at home, more than previously thought and the proposed THC caps of 15% and 10% for under 21s will not go ahead.

However, the new proposals continue to take a public health approach, stating that an upper limit for THC for adults under 21 ‘is being examined’ because of potential health risks.

The document also proposes that intervention programmes for young people will be introduced as well as a focus on cannabis-related education. 

A form of pardon for those with criminal records for cannabis-related offences is also expected in future. According to the document, investigations and criminal proceedings for ‘actions that are no longer criminal’ will be cancelled as soon as the new regulation comes into force.

Reaction to the news 

Connor O’Brien, industry and data analyst at Prohibition Partners, described the developments as a ‘real victory’ for consumers. 

“The details surrounding the plan for adult-use legalisation in Germany would be a real victory for patients and consumers alike if passed into law,” he commented.

“In 2020, 188,000 offences for possession of cannabis in Germany were recorded, representing 188,000 times patients and consumers faced unnecessary criminalisation for consuming a product which poses little risk to themselves or others and has therapeutic benefits. It will be a great advancement in justice when these unnecessary offences are discontinued.”

Elsewhere, Steve Rolles, senior policy analyst for the Transform Drug Policy Foundation, who spoke to Cannabis Health last week about the proposed plans, also welcomed the changes, sharing on Twitter that the legalisation plan has ‘evolved positively’. 

The impact on medical access 

While Germany already has a well-established medical cannabis market, with patients numbers thought to be in the tens of thousands, there are still a number of barriers to access including cost.

Some have suggested that the roll-out of full recreational legalisation would ‘ease the bottleneck’ caused by a lack of doctors willing to prescribe, as well as reducing stigma and the fear of being stopped by police. 

O’Brien continued: “Medical cannabis in Germany has made legal products accessible to tens of thousands of patients, but still leaves the majority out because of bureaucracy and high prices.

“The government is explicit in that they don’t plan on changing the laws regarding medical cannabis but these proposals certainly have the potential to benefit all medical cannabis patients in the country; by reducing the stigma around cannabis use, reducing the risk of being stopped and searched by police and increasing access through allowing home-cultivation by patients and their caregivers without a lot of red-tape.”

Speaking last week, Anna-Sophia Kouparanis, co-founder of Germany’s largest cannabis company, Bloomwell Group, commented: “We welcome that cannabis will no longer be considered a narcotic in the future. This historic step will also significantly ease the administrative burden of medical cannabis therapy and may finally lead to more chronically ill people benefiting from cannabinoid-based therapy. 

“After all, access to doctors who are willing and able to support patients in cannabinoid-based therapy is still a bottleneck that our industry faces.”

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Sarah Sinclair is a respected cannabis journalist writing on subjects related to science, medicine, research, health and wellness. She is managing editor of Cannabis Health, the UK’s leading title covering medical cannabis and CBD, and sister titles, Cannabis Wealth and Psychedelic Health. Sarah has an NCTJ journalism qualification and an MA in Journalism from the University of Sunderland. Sarah has over six years experience working on newspapers, magazines and digital-first titles, the last two of which have been in the cannabis sector. She has also completed training through the Medical Cannabis Clinicians Society securing a certificate in Medical Cannabis Explained. She is a member of PLEA’s (Patient-Led Engagement for Access) advisory board, has hosted several webinars on cannabis and women's health and has moderated at industry events such as Cannabis Europa. Sarah Sinclair is the editor of Cannabis Health. Got a story? Email / Follow us on Twitter: @CannabisHNews / Instagram: @cannabishealthmag


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