German Cabinet Approves Legalization Plan

Stephen Andrews
22 Aug 2023

Germany’s cannabis legalization bill has been much in the focus over the last couple of months. There was some back and forth development with the legislation. But finally, last week, the country’s federal Cabinet approved a plan to liberalize the rules on marijuana possession and retail. Next on the move now are Bundestag lawmakers who need to officially enact the reform.

Germany’s cannabis legalization plan has received significant attention thus far. Principally because it concerns the making of the largest legal cannabis market in Europe. The initial German plan for legalization was scaled-back after it underwent a review with European Union officials. And even now, before the Cabinet’s vote, it had some minor tweaks, which advocates describe as “nonsensical.”

The cabinet-approved bill has been sent to the Bundestag, the country’s national legislature, where lawmakers are expected to officially enact the reform sometime in autumn, or latest by the year’s end. 

The Bill Paves the Way Toward Decriminalization

Under the new rules, German residents will be allowed to possess a limited amount of weed on their person. The bill also supports the opening of “cannabis clubs” in selected regions around Germany where members can supply flower for their personal, recreational use. 

The country’s federal Cabinet approved the legislation on Wednesday, Aug. 16, completing an important milestone. The legislation, the first step in a two-part plan, still awaits approval by parliament. 

“I can already say this much: parallel to the legislation, we will run a major campaign to draw attention to the risks of cannabis consumption,” Health Minister Karl Lauterbach told reporters days before the bill was considered by the Cabinet. 

“Cannabis is particularly harmful to the still growing brain. The brain is still being remodeled up to the age of 25. Anyone who consumes in this age is particularly harmful,” Lauterbach said. “My goal is that we reduce cannabis use among young people and make it safer for those who want to use it,” he added.

The bill seeks to legalize the possession of up to 25 grams of marijuana (around an ounce) for recreational purposes, and to allow individuals growing up to three plants at home. 

German residents 18-year-old and above would be able to join nonprofit “cannabis clubs” with a maximum of 500 members each. The clubs can cultivate marijuana only for their members.

There Are Some Strange Rules

The draft bill was revisited several times, including ahead of last week’s vote. After the latest, mostly small, interventions, the legislation now says that people who receive home-grown marijuana as a gift, they cannot immediately consume the gift while still at the home of the person who shared it. It also adds that people are barred from consuming marijuana at social clubs, or within 250 meters (820 feet) from the facilities. 

Other rules, not touched with the latest revisions, clarify that users would be able to purchase up to 25 grams per day, and a maximum of 50 grams per month. For those under the age of 21, the monthly limit is 30 grams. A person can have a membership in only one club, not multiple memberships. The costs for running the clubs would be covered by membership fees, which would depend again on users and how much marijuana they want to purchase from the club. 

Advertising and sponsoring cannabis is probably going to be banned by the government. Consumption won’t be allowed at the clubs, neither within 200 meters (650 feet) of schools, playgrounds, and sport facilities. 

Officials hope that the legalization plan will protect marijuana consumers from contaminated flower and that it will help decrease drug crimes.

Lauterbach also said that he expects the system to generate “very competitive” prices, “so we think that we can push back the black market well with these rules.” 

Currently, “we have rising consumption, problematic consumption,” the minister said. “It simply couldn’t have carried on like this.”

Agriculture Minister Cem Özdemir also commented on the plan, saying that “cannabis legalization is coming” and that it hopefully stands for “cannabis clubs instead of drug clans, for legal self-cultivation instead of overtime for the police.” 

“I am looking forward for the parliamentary deliberations in autumn,” he said. 

More news on Soft Secrets about this:

- Germany's Cannabis Legalization Plans (The First Version)

- Germany Scales Back Plans for Cannabis Reform

- Czechia to Align with Germany's Legalization Plan

Stephen Andrews