Germany Finally Legalizing Cannabis

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Germany Finally Legalizing Cannabis

Law To Pass This Week And Take Effect In April.

In a first step toward a broader legalization of cannabis, and after long delays due to strong opposition from lawmakers in the ruling coalition, Germany is set to approve the decriminalizing of cannabis for recreational use by parliament on Friday, paving the way to take effect on April 1 (and not an April Fool’s Day joke).

The law, according to Health Minister Karl Lauterbach, will allow adults to cultivate as many as three plants for private consumption and carry up to 25 grams of the herb.

It also regulates the cultivation and consumption of marijuana at nonprofit cannabis social clubs limited to 500 members that would start in July. These associations will be allowed collective. non-commercial self-cultivation and to carry out controlled distribution of the cultivated cannabis among its members.

Not for minors

For those under 18, cannabis consumption will continue to be forbidden, while cannabis club members between 18 and 21 years old will only be allowed to purchase weed with a maximum THC content of 10% and only up to 30 grams per month.

Lauterbach, who has been leading the effort to pass the plan, explained during a radio interview on Tuesday that the government hopes that legalization will curb the black market, tackle drug-related crime and protect users against contaminated products.

Criminal dealers target children and young people “to get them addicted and then try to convert the users into other drugs,” he added. ‘We are taking an important step away from a failed cannabis policy.”

He used Canada’s example and cited studies to argue that the law will effectively remove two-thirds of the illegal market for cannabis and help to prevent toxic products being sold by dealers: “The likelihood that the black market for cannabis will significantly shrink is very high.”

The opposition counters that decriminalizing weed will be harmful to young people and increase the burden on police.

Legal for medicinal use

Currently, marijuana in Germany is legal in limited medical contexts and illegal for recreational use, although the possession of minor amounts is not always prosecuted.

Germany has one of the largest indoor cannabis farms in Europe, housed at a former slaughterhouse in the eastern countryside near Dresden. The German startup Demecan “is one of only a handful in Germany to have a license for the production of this ‘green gold’, which has been legal in Germany for medicinal use since 2017,” reports France 24.

Demecan's massive complex covers 120,000 square meters (1.3 million square feet) and produces one ton of cannabis a year. It has yet to reach full production capacity.

Long awaited

According to a study by the Heinrich Heine University in Duesseldorf, the recreational cannabis market in Germany could reach as high as €4 billion, or $4.2 billion.

AFP reports that as the new legislation is expected to progress, fundraising for businesses in the sector is growing and, among other initiatives, mentions that “Berlin startup Cantourage, a manufacturer of cannabis-based medicines, floated 15% of its shares on the Frankfurt stock exchange and Cansativa, the only online platform for the sale of therapeutic cannabis products in Germany, raised $15 million with the help of U.S. rapper Snoop Dogg.”

Watered-down legalization

Germany’s marijuana partial legalization follows that of neighbouring Luxembourg that last year passed a law permitting the growth of up to four cannabis plants per household but restricted consumption to the place where it was grown.

The sale of cannabis in that Grand Duchy, though, remains illegal as well as using weed outside the home. Meanwhile, penalties for that offense have been reduced from €2,500 before the law to €145 for those caught with up to three grams of cannabis. The offense will not result in criminal prosecution.

Carrying larger quantities may result in a higher penalties or prison sentences.

Both German and Luxembourgish cannabis laws are watered-down versions of fuller legalization initially sought that foresaw state-monitored production and sales. Those initiatives, however, triggered international criticism and disapproval within the European Union.

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Region: Germany

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