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German Officials Circulate Draft Adult-Use Cannabis Legalization Bill

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The push to legalize cannabis for adult use in Germany is far from a new thing. To some extent, activists inside and outside of Germany have fought to end prohibition in Germany since the start of prohibition. However, a major milestone in the nation’s legalization efforts came in mid-2021 when a new governing coalition was elected in Germany.

Members of the new coalition made it clear that they would be pursuing adult-use legalization, and since that time the world has waited on pins and needles waiting for any movement on the formal introduction of a measure.

In October 2022, Germany’s Health Minister Karl Lauterbach provided an update to the federal cabinet, followed by a press conference earlier this year providing yet another update. Both times Minister Lauterbach hinted at the future introduction of a measure, yet provided no specific dates.

At long last, it appears that Minister Lauterbach has finally introduced a measure, albeit a scaled-back version of what was initially touted back in 2021. According to domestic reporting, the draft measure was submitted and ‘has now been sent to the other ministries for inspection and examination.’

Draft laws are not made public at this juncture, however, if it’s what Minister Karl Lauterbach described in his press conference last month, then quite a few components of the legalization plan are already out there. What Lauterbach previously described involves what ultimately amounts to a three-pronged legalization strategy.

The first phase is legalization as it pertains to individual freedoms, including possession of up to 25 grams, cultivation of up to three plants, and the launch of noncommercial cannabis clubs. The second phase involves the launch of regional adult-use commerce pilot projects.

A third phase, which was not expressly stated as such in Minister Lauterbach’s recent press conference, involves Minister Lauterbach continuing to lobby the European Union to gain its permission for Germany to launch national sales to anyone of legal age.

While the lobbying effort is not officially recognized as a third phase by lawmakers in Germany, effectively, it serves as a third iron in the German legalization fire and will take longer to make into a reality compared to the other two.

For many months I have described Minister Lauterbach as being a political pinball and bouncing back and forth between the EU and Germany. The process is now moving forward domestically, albeit slowly, and that is an exciting thing to think about as Europe’s largest economy inches ever closer to legalization.