By / December 5, 2023

German Bundestag Delays Vote on Cannabis Legalization Bill to 2024

In Germany, the Bundestag debate over the legalization of cannabis continues to spark heated discussions. The recently planned vote on a bill legalizing cannabis has been cancelled, causing concern among the leaders of Germany’s Social Democratic Party (SPD). It has been decided that final actions on this matter will be postponed until next year.

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Bundestag Postpones the Vote: Reasons Behind the Decision

According to Dirk Heidenblut, a Bundestag member from the SPD responsible for cannabis policy in Germany, any decision must ultimately be accepted by parliamentary groups. Concerns raised by the SPD faction leader have resulted in a temporary halt to the process.

Despite the delay, Heidenblut expressed hope that if the vote can be conducted by the end of January, the introduction of legalization will not be significantly delayed.

If German lawmakers pass the bill, the early stages of reform, including home cultivation for personal use, decriminalization of possession of 25g of cannabis, and the launch of cannabis clubs, could begin as early as April.

This development is the latest in a series of delays that have slowed the bill’s progress through the Bundestag. Lawmakers originally delayed their first debate on the bill, which took place in October, allegedly due to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Recent Amendments to the German Bill

Recently, several changes have been made to the bill to ease restrictions, which have met opposition from supporters and sympathizers in the Bundestag. These changes included increasing the maximum home possession limits and removing the possibility of imprisonment for possessing slightly more than the allowed limit.

Health Minister’s Response to Opposition

Lately, German Health Minister Karl Lauterbach has countered arguments from some MPs against legalization, who suggested that it might send a wrong message to young people and lead to increased consumption among minors. Lauterbach emphasized that protecting children and youth is achieved through education, and sales to children and young people remain prohibited in Germany.

Planned Further Actions by Bundestag

Plans are also underway to introduce a second supplementary bill, which will establish pilot programs for commercial sales in German cities across the country. This bill is to be presented after being submitted to the European Commission for review.

The German news portal LTO reports that it is unclear whether the SPD faction leadership has a problem with the content of the bill or if focusing on cannabis issues “during a budgetary crisis just before Christmas seems inappropriate to them.”

The Bundestag may now take up the bill as early as January 18 or 19, or only in February.

Despite the delays and controversies, SPD representatives in the Bundestag have expressed confidence that the bill will be quickly voted on in the new year. Regardless of the current challenges, there is hope for progress towards the legalization of cannabis in Germany.

(Featured image by hoch3media via Unsplash)

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