Legislators in Germany have decided to revise a bill to legalize cannabis in the country, a week before they cast their final vote on it in parliament. The bill to legalize marijuana is being championed by Health Minister Karl Lauterbach, who first discussed details concerning the revised legalization measure in April 2022. In May of the same year, he presented the legislative text to cabinet officials.
When responding to early criticism of the measure from law enforcement and medical groups, Lauterbach emphasized that marijuana reform would be implemented together with a campaign to educate the public on the risks of using marijuana. Last week, Kirsten Kappert-Gonther of the Green Party stated that the resolution would be revised in ways that would make it better.
The amendments would relax some provisions that were challenged by advocates and supporters in the Bundestag. After the resolution is amended, individuals found possessing between 25–30 grams of marijuana won’t automatically be treated as criminal offenders but as administrative violators. The possession limit for home-grown cannabis will also be increased to 30 grams from 25 grams.
With regard to public consumption of marijuana, individuals will not be allowed to use marijuana within 100 meters distance of a school. Prior to the amendment, this figure stood at 200 meters. Legislators also agreed that social clubs that could distribute cannabis to members may begin launching in July 2024 while home cultivation and possession of marijuana legal for adults would begin in April of next year.
Kristine Lütke, a member of the Free Democratic Party in the Bundestag, added that these revisions could bring relief to consumers and make the bill even better. In addition, legislators plan to introduce a complementary resolution that would create pilot programs for commercial sales in different cities across Germany.
Currently, it is expected that once the Bundestag approves the legalization bill, the measure may be advanced to the Bundesrat. In September of this year, members of the Bundesrat had tried and failed to block the proposed measure.
While the Federal Cabinet approved the measure’s initial framework last year, the government thought it best to receive approval from the European Union before enacting it, so they were sure they wouldn’t be violating any global obligations.
In other news, government officials from some countries, including America, met in Germany this previous week to discuss global cannabis policy issues. Last year, Narcotics Drugs Commissioner Burkhard Blienert and a group of German legislators visited the United States and toured marijuana businesses in California to help inform their approach to legalization.
When the German cannabis market finally opens, there will be a chance for local companies grow to the levels seen by enterprises such as Verano Holdings Corp. (CSE: VRNO) (OTCQX: VRNOF) that are operating in mature marijuana markets.
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