Germany: Timetable for Legal Cannabis Confirmed

Stephen Andrews
28 Jan 2023

Germany moves a step ahead to formally launch its full-scale cannabis legalisation effort. The country's Health Minister, Karl Lauterbach, presented a legalisation plan for the recreational use of cannabis to the federal cabinet back in October. At the same time, the minister sought approval from the European Union to formally introduce the plan among German lawmakers. The latest reports suggest that the European Union has granted its permission.

The European Union has reportedly approved Germany's legalisation plan to move forward. A formal introduction of the measure is now expected to take place "in the first quarter of this year." Minister Lauterbach added in a statement that he "has no reason to doubt this schedule." 

If Minister Lauterbach's timetable proves accurate, then Germany's lawmakers could consider a national adult-use legalisation measure by the end of March 2023 or even sooner. And suppose Germany proceeds with a formal introduction of a legalisation measure with the blessings of the EU. In that case, it may trigger a domino effect within the union where other members do the same. Notably, Czech Republic has already given signals that it will align its timetable for legalisation with Germany. 

Initially, the German plan foresaw a limit of personal possession of up to 20 grams and a cultivation limit of up to 2 plants per adult household. In addition, a 10-15% THC percentage cap was considered depending on age. 

Following a public outcry when these details were leaked, the version of the plan brought to the cabinet saw the possession limit raised to 30 grams for personal use and a cultivation limit of up to three plants. The "evolved" version of the German model also suggested that there would be a "further examination" as to whether an age-tiered THC percentage cap would be applied as part of the regulations. 

Canada is currently the only country in the world that allows sales of non-THC-capped cannabis nationwide to anyone of legal age, including non-residents. Germany is a more populous country than Canada. If it adopts similar policies as Canada, it will quickly become a top destination for cannabis tourists worldwide. 

Significantly, Germany's plan foresees the launch of a national adult-use cannabis industry as part of its legalisation efforts. That also appears to be one of the European Union's requirements. That all cannabis products sold in Germany are produced in Germany. 

Needless to say, Germany's adult-use legalisation of cannabis is going to be a huge huge event, the event of the year, and it will forever change the cannabis sector in Europe. 

Stephen Andrews