Bundesrat Votes in Favor of Cannabis Legalization

Stephen Andrews
22 Mar 2024

There was one more step on the way to clear the new German law on cannabis. On Friday, Mar. 22, the legislation was discussed during a meeting of the Federal Council, a governing body which is part of the German parliament. There was a slight chance that the council might delay the enactment of the cannabis law, but since everything went well, consumption and possession of weed in limited amounts will be legal in Germany from April 1.

There are no more obstacles for Germany’s partial legalization plan for cannabis. The German Bundesrat passed the law in a meeting Friday, Mar. 22., thus the “controversial” legislation can be officially enacted on April 1. 

The German Bundesrat is part of the parliament in Germany. It’s a legislative body that represents the sixteen German states. At its Friday congregation, the chamber looked at the cannabis law, which has received harsh criticism by some senators. 

The Bundesrat did not secure a majority to call a mediation committee, a step which might have delayed the implementation of legalization for at least six months. Since the mediation committee was not called, the Bundesrat allowed the legislation to pass and proceed as planned. 

Weed in Limited Amounts Legal in Germany from April 1

The Bundesrat approved the law previously approved by the Bundestag, which seeks to permit limited possession and cultivation of marijuana for recreational use. Once signed by German president Frank-Walter Steinmeier, the law will go active on Easter Monday. 

Despite facing strict opposition from some senators, there was no majority in the Bundesrat to send the law to the mediation committee with parliament and thus put the brakes on it for the time being. Nevertheless, the federal government had recently promised to amend parts of the regulation in order to avert a failure. 

Not everyone is happy about the legalization of cannabis in Germany anyway. Brandenburg was one of the sixteen states that voted in favor of invoking the mediation committee

Brandenburg’s justice representative, Susane Hoffmann, spoke of “anger and disappointment” as the legislation was once again approved. 

Hoffmann criticized the law during the council debate. She said that the law will not achieve its goal of subduing the black market. “The opposite will be the case,” said Hoffmann. 

She said that the legalization plan is “completely unrealistic” and that cannabis clubs would not meet cannabis demand, as from the very start the clubs will be subject to severe restrictions. In Hoffmann’s view, the increase in cannabis demand that would follow legalization would primarily benefit illegal street dealers.  

Hoffmann also called to repeal certain provisions for cannabis convicts. She said that under the current amnesty plan, “around 100,000 cases” would go back to the courts nationwide for revisions of sentences that would no longer be applicable in the future. 

Berlin Senator for Justice, Felor Badenberg was also critical about the law. She expressed doubt about some of the rules and said that resolving amnesty cases won’t make things any better. 

Badenberg questioned the planned distance rules to daycare centers and sports venues and asked whether the public prosecutor’s office should soon “send the police out with measuring tapes” to check the distance rules. 

As a matter of fact, Berlin has already strengthened the public prosecutor’s office agencies to combat organized crime. The office can use enforcement to measure cannabis exclusion zones. 

Berlin abstained in the vote whether a mediation committee should be called. Although, this decision was announced in advance, and is the usual protocol when there is no unanimous opinion in the council.  

Also read on Soft Secrets:

German Parliament Approves Cannabis Legalization Bill

Will Germany Get a Celebrity Boost for Cannabis?

Czechia Unveils Draft Law on Cannabis

Stephen Andrews