Germany's Cannabis Legalization Plans

Stephen Andrews
28 Oct 2022

Germany, the biggest economy within the EU, plans to legalize the possession of up to 30 grams of Cannabis as well as sales for recreational purposes. If all goes well, legalization can take place as early as 2024, and it would benefit millions. Up to four million Germans used cannabis last year. A quarter of those aged between 18 and 24 reported they use Cannabis.

Germany's health minister unveiled the country's legalization plan on Wednesday, Oct. 26. The proposal suggests legalizing the possession of up to 30 grams of Cannabis on your person and launching adult-use sales in a controlled market. The plan has to be approved by the Cabinet first. 

The German government also wants to ensure that the country's cannabis law is compatible with the law of the European Union. Health Minister Karl Lauterbach emphasized that the bill will only proceed further if this is the case. 

By allowing cannabis sales for adults at licensed outlets, the law aims to combat organized crime and the black market, Lauterbach remarked. He added that the government seeks to introduce tight regulations for the market. 

The proposed legislation would further allow the homegrowing of up to three Cannabis plants for personal use. The coffee shop consumption option has also been considered, according to previously leaked documents. There also might be a 15 percent limit on THC levels and a 10 percent limit for cannabis sold to those aged 18 to 21. 

Nevertheless, the use of Cannabis would be limited to adults. Products, regardless of potency, will remain prohibited for anyone under the legal age of 18. Sales would take place in licensed stores and possibly also in pharmacies. The sale of medicinal products has been allowed in German pharmacies since 2016. 

The legalization of Cannabis possession and sales is one of a series of reforms announced by the last year's collation deal between Germany's three socially liberal parties that comprise Chancellor Olaf Scholz's government. 

The coalition vowed that it will ensure quality control while protecting young populations. It has also said it will assess the "social effects" of the new legislation after four years. 

Lauterbach mentioned that the reform is unlikely to take place before 2024. That time might be used to finetune the German legislation with the laws of the European Union. 

Once Germany introduces legal Cannabis, it will be a tremendous moment for Europe, and there will be a huge window of opportunities for the North American cannabis industry, too. 

"This would be, on the one hand, the most liberal cannabis liberalization in Europe, and, on the other hand, it would also be the most tightly regulated market," said Lauterbach, adding that the reform might turn out to be "a model" for Europe. 

Stephen Andrews