By / February 6, 2024

German Politicians Reach Agreement on Cannabis Legalization Bill

In Germany, leaders of the Social Democratic Party (SPD), the Free Democratic Party (FDP), and the Greens have announced a final agreement on a bill aimed at legalizing cannabis.

This resolution comes after lengthy discussions and revisions that have paved the way for a crucial vote on the bill in the last week of February, with the law expected to come into effect in April.

The proposed regulation is hailed as a significant step in modern drug policy, focusing on prevention, health improvement, and the protection of children and youth.

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The Upcoming Legalization of Cannabis in Germany

The legalization initiative, launched last year by Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach, has undergone considerable adjustments to address concerns from various political parties, particularly those of the SPD: easing restrictions, increasing home possession limits, and eliminating prison sentences for possession of a slightly higher quantity than the allowed limit.

Mr. Lauterbach has consistently emphasized the urgency of combating the black market, decriminalizing cannabis, and strengthening the protection of minors, calling this initiative a “new start” for drug policy in Germany.

The proposed legislation already included a study on youth-related trends following legalization, with a report due four years after the law’s enactment. The recent agreement goes further by requiring an evaluation of the reform’s impact on the illicit market.

Kristine Lütke, of the Free Democratic Party, stated: “We are paving the way for a completely different approach to cannabis and the recognition of life’s realities.”

German Legislators Agree to Phased Implementation Strategy

Legislators have strategically staggered the implementation of the reform. Possession and home cultivation are expected to become legal for adults in April, followed by the opening of Cannabis Clubs that can distribute cannabis to their members starting in July.

A complementary second phase is being developed and is expected to allow pilot programs for regulated cannabis sales in German cities. This part is set to be unveiled after being reviewed by the European Commission.

Final Reading to Mark Significant Milestone

The final reading of the bill in the Bundestag will mark a significant milestone, leading to the Bundesrat, where representatives of the German states will vote. It is noteworthy that attempts to block the proposed reform by Bundesrat members in September were unsuccessful.

Germany’s adoption of full cannabis legalization marks a paradigm shift in drug policy, with a more nuanced, preventive, and health-focused approach that could set a precedent in Europe.

(Featured image by Ansgar Scheffold via Unsplash)

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