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Germany Moves Closer to Cannabis Liberalization: Cabinet Aims to Decriminalize Possession and Foster “Cannabis Clubs”

Germany Moves Closer to Cannabis Liberalization

Germany Moves Closer to Cannabis Liberalization

Germany’s Cabinet is poised to take a significant stride toward cannabis liberalization, positioning the country as a potential trailblazer in the European Union. The move entails the decriminalization of possessing limited amounts of cannabis and granting individuals associated with “cannabis clubs” the ability to legally procure the substance for recreational use.

While the Cabinet’s anticipated approval marks an essential first step, the full realization of this policy change requires subsequent endorsement by the parliament. This development reflects Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s progressive vision, yet falls short of the government’s original expansive ambitions.

Cabinet’s Progressive Stance

Germany’s Cabinet is expected to grant its approval to a plan that envisions a more permissive stance on cannabis.

The tweet below verifies the news:

This marks a pivotal advancement for Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s socially liberal coalition and its reform initiatives. However, this proposal’s comprehensive legalization, originally envisioned by the government, is scaled down.

Health Minister’s Strategy

Health Minister Karl Lauterbach is set to provide comprehensive insights into the finalized legislation on upcoming Wednesday. The proposal envisions permitting the possession of up to 25 grams (approximately 1 ounce) of cannabis for recreational purposes and authorizing individuals to cultivate up to three cannabis plants.

The “Cannabis Club” Framework

Under the proposed plan, German residents aged 18 and above would be eligible to join non-profit “cannabis clubs.” These clubs, each limited to a maximum of 500 members, would be authorized to cultivate cannabis for personal consumption among its members.

Aim to Curb the Black Market and Ensure Safety

The envisaged policy changes are driven by the government’s intent to curtail black market activities, ensure consumer safety by mitigating risks associated with contaminated products, and reduce drug-related criminal activities.

Opposition and Advocacy

Despite the government’s intentions, the center-right opposition remains skeptical, arguing that the move risks legalizing a potentially hazardous substance despite European legal complexities and expert concerns. Additionally, even some advocates of cannabis legalization express discontent, perceiving the proposed framework as overly restrictive and stigmatizing.

Germany’s Unique Approach

Germany’s approach to cannabis liberalization seeks to set itself apart from neighboring countries like the Netherlands. While the Dutch tolerate cannabis sale and consumption in designated “coffee shops,” Germany aims for a regulated model that serves as an example for Europe.

Future Steps and Comparisons

Following the implementation of the first phase of legislation, Germany intends to embark on a five-year pilot testing of regulated commercial supply chains in selected regions. This approach contrasts with its earlier, more ambitious plans of countrywide cannabis sales, scaled down after discussions with the EU.

Diverse European Approaches

Cannabis policies in Europe vary widely. While Switzerland has piloted a project allowing limited cannabis sales from pharmacies, the Czech Republic has been formulating a plan similar to Germany’s. Denmark and France, on the other hand, have shown differing inclinations toward cannabis liberalization.

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