Germany will release a draft of its cannabis legalization bill immediately after Easter, according to a health ministry official. The bill was originally scheduled for the end of Q1 2023, but was delayed for revisions. The new proposal is expected to include nationwide legalization, although reports suggest a lighter approach to reform with a pilot test for cannabis sales in some areas.
Germany to Publish Cannabis Legalization Draft Immediately After Easter
While many doubts remain about the content of cannabis legalization in Germany, and the latest news was that it would be legalized lightly, a German health ministry official said the bill will be introduced by the government “immediately after Easter.”
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Is Full Legalization in Germany Still Possible?
The legislation on cannabis in Germany was originally scheduled to be released at the end of the first quarter of 2023, but that deadline was extended “for timing reasons” as officials reportedly worked to revise it to avoid a potential conflict with international laws.
German Health Minister Karl Lauterbach said Wednesday that the goal was still to legalize cannabis nationwide and that he was “firmly convinced that we will present the new proposal immediately after Easter” next week.
German Cannabis Bill Revisions
Last month, reports surfaced that the bill was being revised from the government’s previously released framework for Germany, with details indicating that officials planned to take a lighter approach to cannabis reform in Germany in 2 stages.
First, the measure was said to have been modified to allow growers to organize and distribute cannabis in “cannabis clubs,” similar to those in Spain.
Second, there could be some “cannabis sales” in the form of a pilot test in some parts of the country, similar to Switzerland.
The health minister, however, did not confirm this information and said Wednesday that “legalization is planned throughout Germany,” meaning that national commercial legalization could still be possible in the short term.
Lawmakers Criticize Germany for Scaling Back Project
Lawmakers from the governing coalition, meanwhile, criticized the decision to scale back the project.
“We need Germany-wide legalization because the black market can only be pushed back if quality-guaranteed recreational cannabis can be sold in certified stores throughout Germany,” Kristine Lütke of the FDP told Zeit Online. “If quality cannabis can only be legally purchased in a few cities, the black market will survive.
“Even if it is difficult to create a legally secure solution [according to international rules], we must do everything in our power to implement the points agreed in the coalition agreement,” she added.
Early Possession and Taxation Details Released
In the first elements released, adults 18 and older could buy and possess 20 to 30 grams of cannabis at federally licensed stores and possibly pharmacies in Germany.
They could also grow up to three plants for personal use, with rules about fencing off access by youth.
All ongoing criminal proceedings related to offenses made legal by the Germany reform would be suspended and closed upon its implementation.
Cannabis sales in Germany would be subject to VAT, and the plan calls for an additional “special consumption tax.” However, it does not specify the amount of this tax, believing that it should be set at a rate competitive with the illicit market.
(Featured image by Angelo Abear via Unsplash)
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