Weed is being legalized all over the world. It should come as no surprise that a bill was introduced for Germany to legalize weed. This could mean big changes for the European market.
The Bill for Germany to Legalize Weed
According to sources, Germany could be weeks away from introducing a bill to legalize weed which would allow the consumption and sale of cannabis in Europe’s largest economy.
German Health Minister Karl Lauterbach said plans to introduce the bill for Germany to legalize weed has received “very good feedback” from the European Commission, the EU’s executive arm. He predicts the bill will be announced by the end of March or early April.
“We will soon present a proposal that works, that is, that conforms to European law,” Lauterbach said.
After months of talks with Brussels, the government published draft proposals for the legalization of adult-use cannabis in October. They feel it will be beneficial to public health. Lauterbach stated that it would only progress to the Bundestag, Germany’s federal parliament if its initiatives are compatible with EU law.
The bill for Germany to legalize weed would declassify cannabis as a narcotic. It would allow citizens over 18 to carry up to 30 grams of the drug for personal use. Pharmacies and licensed stores would be able to sell cannabis products and consumers would be able to grow up to three plants at home.
If the bill for Germany to legalize weed is approved, it will be implemented in phases between now and mid-2024. It would make Germany the largest regulated market in the world. It would also be the first country in the EU to permit the commercial sale of cannabis which is likely to encourage other nations in the bloc to follow suit.
Big Changes for Germany
CBD is already legal in Germany. The non-psychoactive cannabis constituent can be sold in Germany as long as its THC level is under .2%. The sale of other weed products is prohibited.
But things look good for Germany to legalize weed.
“The government right now is most open about this topic. The chances for us as a German company are the highest they’ve been in a decade,” said Martin Chodoroski, account manager at Berlin CBD retailer Tom Hemp. His company has been hoping for a more stable framework for users and suppliers for some time.
In addition to improving wellness, the bill for Germany to legalize weed would create 27,000 new jobs and bring an additional 4.7 billion euros per year into the country in tax revenue, social security contributions, and criminal prosecution savings.
Steffan Geyer, director of the Hanf Museum, a Berlin-based hemp museum described as “the heart of the German legalization movement for the past 30 years makes a good point. “This is the most boring revolution you will ever recognize. People are just trying to be normal. These jobs are already done today, but without paying taxes, without paying social security,” he says.
EU Regulatory Challenges
While things look good for the Germany to legalize weed bill moving forward, the government is facing challenges in producing legislation that adheres to EU law, international drug treaties, and public health concerns.
The bill is incompatible with past conservative approaches throughout Europe which state that the sale of cannabis and other illegal drugs is “punishable by effective, proportionate, and dissuasive criminal penalties.”
It also goes against international treaties such as the UN’s Single Convention on Narcotics which controls the cultivation, production, supply, trade, and transport of narcotic drugs and enforces a system regarding licensing, treatment, and research.
The Health Ministry did not confirm details of the bill for Germany to legalize weed. But preliminary documents suggest that the government would issue a declaration to demonstrate that cannabis legalization will help protect youth and combat drug trafficking.”
Europe’s border-check-free Schengen zone, of which Germany is a member, also prohibits illegal drugs moving across European borders. This means that Germany would need to show that it can produce enough of a domestic supply without undermining its neighbor’s drug policies.
The Medical Market is Also an Issue
The bill for Germany to legalize weed is also presenting challenges to the medical market.
Medical cannabis has been permitted in Germany since 2016. But some people who are unable to afford medical marijuana may self-medicate with illegal cannabis. Legalizing the drug may make it impossible for these people to continue using cannabis for self-medicating purposes.
However, legalization can also present some advantages to medical marijuana users. It can de-stigmatize the drug which would increase public acceptance of its medical benefits. This would make it more accessible in an entirely different way.
The government is currently reviewing medical marijuana guidelines including how it’s prescribed and reimbursed under the country’s statutory health insurance program. This may help determine how to move forward while allowing medical marijuana patients to enjoy the benefits of the drug and keeping it affordable.
Will The Bill for Germany to Legalize Weed Produce a Domino Effect?
If weed is legalized in Germany, it’s likely to produce a domino effect in other EU countries.
Luxembourg and the Czech Republic have already proposed plans to legalize cannabis for adult use. It is no longer a criminal offense to possess small amounts of cannabis in Austria, Italy, and Spain.
Malta became the first EU country to legalize personal possession and to permit private cannabis clubs where members can go to use and share the drugs.
However, the EU is still looking to America to bring a significant change in EU legislation. “The whole illegal drug business will dissolve itself once the United States will change their mood on a federal level,” said Geyer.
“But we need examples like Germany, like Europe, to show that society will not collapse if you make it legal on a bigger scale. 80 million Germans is a good start, but it’s not the end of the story,” he added.