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Germany’s Adult-Use Cannabis Legalization Plan Is Leaked, Again

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If you have spent a considerable amount of time in politics then you know that a classic tactic to build public pressure during political negotiations is to leak details to the media. After all, it’s one thing to negotiate a measure out of public view, but often an entirely different matter when the public gets to weigh in.

International cannabis observers already got to see the tactic in action back in October 2022 when an alleged draft of German Minister Karl Lauterbach’s legalization plan was leaked to the media and it resulted in considerable public outcry against certain provisions of the plan. Later in the month when Minister Lauterbach made his historic presentation to Germany’s federal cabinet the plan had evolved for the better, and it’s a safe bet that public outcry had something to do with that.

After Minister Lauterbach’s presentation in October 2022, Minister Lauterbach started lobbying the European Union to try to gain its permission for Germany to proceed with adult-use legalization. Minister Lauterbach eventually held a press conference, joined by other members of Germany’s government, and provided details regarding negotiations with the European Union. As we all now know, some of the provisions of Minister Lauterbach’s initial plan were deemed acceptable by the EU and some were not.

Home cultivation, possession, noncommercial cannabis clubs, and eventually regional adult-use pilot programs were approved according to Minister Lauterbach, however, nationwide adult-use sales will have to wait. For now, policymakers in Germany need to craft laws, rules, and regulations for what is in scope for the first two phases of adult-use legalization. German lawmakers simply stating that noncommercial cannabis clubs are permitted is obviously not enough, and there’s a political process well underway in Germany to hammer out all of the necessary details.

In news that is not at all surprising to me, another leak has occurred in Germany and it is shedding some light as to where domestic negotiations currently stand. Much of what was leaked and reported on in Germany seems to surround noncommercial cannabis clubs, which will be strictly regulated and purely “cultivation associations.” According to domestic reporting, no┬ácannabis can be consumed “within the clubs and within a radius of 250 meters.” Below are additional provisions included in the draft that was acquired by the German Press Agency:

  • All club properties where cannabis is cultivated and/or stored have to be tightly secured
  • Every club has to have a ‘trained addiction and prevention officer’
  • Must comply with residue limits for pesticides and fertilizers
  • Must track cannabis from seed
  • Annual reporting of crop amounts, including cannabinoid percentage (THC and CBD)
  • Club members only
  • 50 grams per month limit for over 21 years old
  • 30 grams per month limit for 18-20 years old
  • THC percentage cap for 18-20 years old (ten percent THC)
  • Neutral packaging
  • Labeled with specific harvest information

In addition to club provisions, items pertaining to individuals were also reportedly included in the leaked draft. Consumption is prohibited “within a radius of 250 meters from schools, daycare centers, playgrounds, youth facilities or sports facilities.” Also, consumption “should also not be permitted in pedestrian zones between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m.”

Other provisions that were previously known appear to be unchanged in the recently leaked draft, including limiting consumers to one club membership at a time and permitting the cultivation of up to 3 plants. Pharmacies are not allowed to cultivate or sell adult-use cannabis under the leaked plan, and medical cannabis “is to be removed from the scope of the Narcotics Act.” In fact, medical cannabis reportedly has its own separate chapter in the draft law, which will hopefully provide a boost in safe access for patients, as well as help streamline cannabis research project approvals.

Some of the previously listed provisions seem to be drawing more outcry than others, however, it’s very important to recognize that the political process is far from over and that what was leaked was merely a draft. If people in Germany are fired up about a particular provision, or multiple provisions, now is the time to contact lawmakers and urge them to push for necessary amendments to the measure.