According to Politico, details of Germany’s current cannabis legalization plan were leaked on October 19 by the RND (RedaktionsNetzwerk Deutschland) newspaper group. The draft currently includes a plan to decriminalize sales and possession of cannabis, as well as allowing cannabis to be sold in licensed shops and pharmacies.
This approach to reform has been pending since German officials announced their intentions to approach reform back in June, led by Health Minister Karl Lauterbach. According to the current draft, sales of up to 20 grams would become legal for those 18 and older, which would include a maximum of 15% THC for adults over 21, and a maximum of 10% for adults 18-21 years of age. Residents would be allowed to grow two cannabis plants at home, but advertising for consumption would be banned.
Early opinions of this draft believe it is too limiting, as described by Free Democratic Party member Kristine Lütke. “Key issues paper on #cannabis legalization from the @BMG_Bund is unnecessarily restrictive! #THC upper limit, possession limit of 20g & stricter regulation up to 21 years will drive consumers to the #black market – a catastrophe for youth, health & consumer protection,” Lütke wrote on social media.
Likewise, Dr. Kirsten Kappert-Gonther, the Alliance 90/The Greens deputy chairwoman, voiced her concern over how these restrictions could lead to an increase in black market sales. “What is known so far about key points #legalization #cannabis is too restrictive! For youth and health protection, the #legal market must be more attractive than the #black market . The #THCO cap does not contribute to this,” Kappert-Gonther wrote on Twitter.
Similar opinions have surfaced, such as from German Budestag Head of Nursing Simone Borchardt, who provided RND in a statement. “It seems that the federal government wants to legalize cannabis as soon as possible and completely forgets about the protection of children and young people,” Borchardt said. “Instead of relying on effective education and prevention, Lauterbach gets lost in a tangle of distance rules and upper and lower limits of THC levels for certain age groups.”
The German Health Ministry told Politico that the government has “not yet agreed a common proposal for cannabis reform.” Changes are expected in the near future.
German officials announced their effort to approach legalization back in June by organizing hearings, according to German Commissioner for Addiction and Drug Issues Burkhard Blienert. “We are starting the preparatory phase of legislation,” Burkhard said. “Being able to finally announce this is a special, gratifying moment for me personally. Like many others, I have been working for years to ensure that we in Germany finally stop criminalizing cannabis users and start a modern and health-oriented cannabis policy.”
Blienert visited Northern California in September, along with many other health ministry officials, to explore dispensaries and speak with key players in the cannabis space, such as Oaksterdam Chancellor Dale Sky Jones, cannabis lawyer Robert Raich, Ananda Strategy Founder Hirsh Jain, and SC Labs President and co-founder Josh Wurzer.
A recent report from BDSA showed that the global cannabis industry could increase in value up to $57 billion by 2026. While it reviews many examples of growth within the U.S., but also mentions how eventual legislation in other countries could lead to a shift in who dominates sales across the globe. “Though mature legal cannabis markets in the U.S. saw sales soften in 2022, the cannabis market is still forecast to see topline growth in 2022, driven by strong sales in new and emerging markets, such as the populous states of New Jersey and New York,” BDSA CEO Roy Bingham said. “The U.S. will continue to dominate global sales over the next few years, but we see potential from emerging global markets such as Germany and Mexico.”