Germany Will Likely Legalize Adult-Use Cannabis In 2024
The German coalition government is finalizing details for long-awaited cannabis legalization, including dates for cannabis cultivation and the establishment of cannabis clubs.
Germany's new agency, Deutsche Presse-Agentur (DPA), revealed further details yesterday regarding Germany's cannabis policy.
The so-called Traffic Light coalition, made of the Social Democratic Party, the Free Democratic Party, and The Greens, has finally reached an agreement on establishing the rules for the regulation of cannabis in Germany.
The legalization of cannabis possession and cultivation will take effect on April 1, 2024, while the establishment of cannabis social clubs is expected to become possible from July 1, as reported by several local news media outlets.
The coalition government in Germany has adjusted the rules concerning the possession and consumption of cannabis, aiming to make them less stringent than initially intended.
According to a post on X by Kirsten Kappert-Gonther, member of the Bundestag, the German federal parliament, and chairwoman of the Health Committee, the quantity of dried cannabis allowed for home cultivation is set to be doubled, increasing from 25 to 50 grams.
The proposed penal consequences will be softened to avoid facing immediate criminal charges.
While initially there were plans for criminal liability for amounts exceeding 25 grams, now, quantities ranging from 25 to 30 grams of cannabis in public spaces and 50 to 60 grams in private spaces will be considered an administrative offense. Criminal offenses apply only to possession beyond these limits.
Additionally, potential fines are expected to decrease from a maximum of €100,000 to a maximum of €30,000 ($109,572 to $32,871) for the sake of proportionality.
Furthermore, the exclusion zone for cannabis consumption near daycare centers, playgrounds, and schools is slated to be reduced from 200 to 100 meters.
Several regulations still need clarification, including those related to cannabis-related driving impairment. The Federal Ministry of Transport is anticipated to suggest a THC limit by the end of March. The existing outright prohibition of driving under the influence of cannabis is likely to be replaced by a rule specifying a THC limit in the blood.
The draft law had its initial discussion in the Bundestag at the end of October, but its final adoption is still pending.
The next phase for the draft law involves a decision in the Bundestag. The coalition is expected to advance the draft law through the Bundestag in the upcoming week of the session.
After that vote, there will be several months of hiatus before the bill is expected to be considered in the Bundesrat, the legislative body representing the sixteen Länder of Germany.
In September, members of the Bundesrat attempted to hinder the proposed reform but were unsuccessful. Additionally, the Bundestag had previously postponed the final vote on the legislation, which took place early this month.
The initially proposed timeline for the legalization of cannabis in Germany was set for the beginning of the new year. However, Health Minister Karl Lauterbach recently acknowledged that this timeline is no longer feasible. The current goal is for the law to take effect in the spring.
The legalization of cannabis was included in the coalition's political agenda following its victory in the September 2021 election.
The draft bill has been under consideration for a while. The coalition has decided to postpone the original plan of selling cannabis in licensed shops due to several legal hurdles with international and European laws.
Instead, the second phase of legalization will focus on establishing controlled cannabis sales for experimentation, similar to practices in Switzerland and the Netherlands.