Germany scales back cannabis legalization plans to focus on home cultivation

BERLIN – German cannabis users will have to rely on home cultivation and cannabis social clubs for their supply rather than licensed shops or pharmacies, according to a scaled-back cannabis legalization plan presented by German Health Minister Karl Lauterbach on Wednesday.

The announcement follows months-long discussions with the European Commission on the feasibility of Germany preliminary plan to legalize cannabis, The results had long been awaited by politicians, businesses and users, who were eager to hear how much the Commission would tolerate Germany̵7;s ambitions.

After talking to the commission, “we came to the conclusion that the draft [legalization plan] At that time no one else would lead us in the pursuit of our goals, Lauterbach said at a press conference in Berlin.

Under the scaled-back plan seen by POLITICO, Adults will be able to grow up to three cannabis plants at home and buy weed in clubs of up to 500 members, which don’t have to be profit-oriented. Cannabis clubs already exist in Spain and Malta.

Also, possession of cannabis up to 25 grams is to be made legal. However, there will be a ban on advertising of the drug to children under the age of 21, limits on THC (tetrahydrocannabinol, a psychoactive substance in cannabis) and consumption will be limited to specific regions.

Lauterbach said home cultivation and cannabis clubs are the first of two pillars for legalization in Germany.

“Our goal with a pillar is that we do not need to inform Brussels [to check that national laws don’t violate EU laws]German Agriculture Minister Cem Özdemir said. A draft law on legalization will be presented in April, he said.

The second pillar is regional model projects for building commercial supply chains, which will take five years and will be continuously evaluated.

“It will take a concerted effort by the German government to find supporters in Europe for this progressive, prevention-oriented cannabis policy,” Lauterbach said.

A government spokesman told POLITICO that German Chancellor Olaf Scholz welcomed progress in implementing the coalition agreement.

But in response to the revised plan, German lawmaker Christine Lütke from the business-friendly Free Democrats said she rejects “stricter THC ceilings in cannabis clubs” for young adults “because they drive consumers into the black market.”

Tino Sorge from the opposition centre-right CDU said today’s announcement was “nothing more than an acknowledgment that [Lauterbach’s] Major points older than the fall were not possible.”

However, Carmen Weg of Lauterbach’s Social Democratic Party defended the plan, saying that “the German government is choosing the path that is safer in the context of European law.”