Will 2024 Be An Active Year For German Cannabis Reform?
With 2024 now in full swing, the eyes of the international cannabis community remain fixed on Germany where lawmakers continue to work to pass the nation’s adult-use CanG cannabis law, an effort that has seemingly languished since it started back in 2021.
Last year was full of ups and downs in Germany, with a Bundestag vote expected, just to then be unceremoniously dashed, multiple times during 2023. According to Deutscher Hanfverband (DHV), a Bundestag vote is still expected later this month:
Nach diesem Leak berät die @spdbt diese Woche über das #CanG!
Heute und morgen tagt der Geschäftsführende Vorstand und Donnerstag/Freitag der Fraktionsvorstand.
In dieser Vorlage für diese Sitzungen wird Januar24 für die Entscheidung über das #CanG im Bundestag vorgeschlagen! https://t.co/WCuav2Tdbe
— Hanfverband (@hanfverband) January 9, 2024
DHV reached out to factions from Germany’s coalition government earlier this month, and while members of the Greens and FDP responded, members of the SPD parliamentary group did not. The SPD parliamentary group has received considerable blame for ongoing legalization delays.
“Due to the postponement of the CanG from the Bundestag agenda and the ongoing debates in the SPD parliamentary group, we asked all traffic light factions about the status of things. The Greens and FDP responded, the SPD parliamentary group did not.” DHV stated.
“In a joint press release on November 27th, 2023, the traffic light factions announced that they had “agreed in the negotiations on a paradigm shift in cannabis policy”. (https://www.gruene-bundestag.de/presse/pressemitigungen/ampel-ein-sich-auf-cannabis-gesetz). The subsequent reporting was accurate and the agreement stands. The substantive negotiations have been completed. Since then, no other negotiations, including at a higher level, have taken place between the traffic light factions. The changes must now be decided by the Health Committee and the law must be passed in an amended version by the Bundestag. This can take place within one week of the meeting. We Greens are striving for a timely adoption.” Green Party’s spokesperson Kirsten Kappert-Gonther told DHV.
“It is a common goal of our coalition to pass the cannabis law in the German Bundestag as quickly as possible. Thoroughness is more important than speed. A practical and sensible law is more important to us than a hasty law. In the negotiations between the political groups, we are always careful to take all interests into account. On the one hand, the protection of minors and health, security and criminal prosecution must be ensured; on the other hand, social realities and the right to self-determination must not be neglected. Despite internal coordination problems within the SPD parliamentary group, we are extremely confident that we will be able to complete the legislative process with our coalition partners in the near future. Our aim is to enable responsible and legal use of cannabis.” Christine Aschenberg-Dugnus, Parliamentary Managing Director of the Free Democrats Group told DHV.
Bundestag member Dr. Rolf Mützenich (SPD) was previously asked by a constituent in recent weeks, “Dear Mr. Mützenich, are you worried about the citizens’ severe loss of trust in the SPD due to the repeated postponement of the vote on the CanG or does it not matter to you?”
Dr. Mützenich replied publicly with, “The SPD parliamentary group continues to support the bill to decriminalize cannabis. It is regrettable that other reports spread a false impression – perhaps deliberately. The SPD has long campaigned for a liberal drug policy and failed to do so due to the Union under Chancellor Merkel.”
“We are now committed to ensuring that the law will, above all, take health protection into account; final discussions are still being held on this matter. The law is scheduled to be passed at the beginning of next year and, we intend, to come into force in April 2024 as planned.” Dr. Mützenich also stated.
Further changes to CanG appear to be on the way, although it remains unclear what those changes are. Still, the timeline for approval appears to be on pace:
4) Die Arbeitsgruppe Gesundheit der @spdbt hat mehrheitlich entschieden, der Fraktion das nun geänderte #CanG zur Annahme zu empfehlen. Diese Debatte in der Gesamtfraktion steht für das nun neue Jahr an.
— Dr. Christos Pantazis MdB (@Dr_Pantazis) January 2, 2024
Meanwhile, adult-use cannabis or not, members of Germany’s established medical cannabis industry are calling for wider regulatory reform in the nation’s medical sector. All of it is adding to what will likely be a very busy year for cannabis policy modernization efforts in Germany in 2024.