Germany has become a leader in some aspects of cannabis policy, such as providing insurance coverage for medical cannabis through pharmacies, but is lagging in other areas of the law. The European powerhouse is still working through the process of licensing domestic cultivators and you won’t see any cannabis clubs or coffeeshops like those in Barcelona and Amsterdam. However, the German Hemp Association (Deutscher Hanfverband), led by longtime activist Georg Wurth, is working hard to end cannabis prohibition for all adults. You can see Wurth at the International Cannabis Business Conference in Berlin this March 31st to April 2nd, where he’ll describe the current lay of the land and what he thinks the future holds for the German cannabis community. Ahead of the ICBC, Wurth discussed DHV’s plans, the cannabis laws currently being debated by the German Parliament, how Canada is violating international law, and much more with Mia Thomsin of Civilized:
Since Germany has such a big influence on the situation of the European Union, could you tell us a bit about possible scenarios for political developments?
The German Federal Parliament (Bundestag) currently debates about two topics: A significant decriminalization of the consumer is one of them. Owning a small amount of cannabis would then no longer be a criminal offence but a minor breach of the law. The other option is releasing local model projects under scientific watch with cannabis being available in some German cities. Both of these options could possibly come into action during the course of this year. We are approaching the necessary majorities in the parliament.
Canada is ignoring international law?
Yes. The Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs is the basis of global prohibition. It states that non-scientific and non-medical use is forbidden. It is binding for all UN member states that signed it in 1961. A certain level of decriminalization is possible without breaking the convention, but legalization isn’t. The UN are not amused about Canada’s legalization. Nevertheless, to change the international contracts would need a UN majority – and that could easily take ages with regards to recreational use. And there are no severe consequences for ignoring the conventions.
Definitely read the entire interview with Civilized as it describes the past, present, and future actions of Wurth and the DHV, providing great examples for how dedicated advocates can help create positive cannabis law reforms. I look forward to hearing from Wurth once again in Berlin at the ICBC as positive reforms in Germany reverberate across Europe and the world.