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German Lawmakers Block Health Ministry Funding And Demand Legalization Measure

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As 2022 draws to a close and cannabis observers start to look ahead to 2023, Germany will continue to be the focal point of most people’s attention. Germany’s Health Minister Karl Lauterbach is currently lobbying the European Union for its approval of the general legalization plan that he presented to the federal cabinet back in October.

Various theories are swirling as to why European Union sign off is being sought prior to the introduction of a measure in Germany, with the leading theory seeming to be that approval would mitigate challenges from EU member nations seeking to prevent the spread of legalization.

A group of lawmakers in Germany is growing impatient with the delays related to the introduction of legalization, demanding that a measure be introduced immediately. They even recently followed through with a threat to withhold some of the Health Ministry’s funding due to the delay. Per RND:

It was an unusual process: During the budget deliberations for 2022, the budget politicians of the traffic light coalition put Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD) under heavy pressure: they decided to block an amount of one million euros for the ministry’s public relations work until Lauterbach presents a draft law for the legalization of cannabis agreed in the coalition agreement. The reason for this approach: the coalition partners had the impression that Lauterbach did not actually want the release and was therefore trying to delay the project.

Lauterbach actually thought he was on the right track, because at the end of October he presented very detailed key points for legalization. They stipulate that the acquisition and possession of up to 30 grams of cannabis should be exempt from punishment in the future. However, a concrete draft law is still missing.

There appears to be rumblings out of Germany that the components of the general legalization plan presented to the federal cabinet in October are not firm, and that it’s possible that some components could get watered down due to negative feedback from the EU during discussions.

Hopefully, a measure is officially introduced soon in Germany and the parameters are favorable, regardless of if there is EU sign off or not. It is unclear what will happen if/when EU approval is not granted.

Minister Lauterbach has previously indicated that he will not pursue legalization without prior EU approval, however, if it keeps resulting in lost funding perhaps it could change his tune. Meanwhile, we will all continue to wait and watch for any signs of movement.