German Health Minister Karl Lauterbauch recently attended a meeting in Brussels, Belgium with the Council of Ministers for Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumers on March 14. While in attendance, he spoke about the progress of his cannabis proposal and an estimated timeline of its release.
According to Europa Press, his proposal “has obtained a very good response from the Commission,” Lauterbach said.
He also spoke with news outlet NTV, explaining that his proposal will be presented in the “next few weeks.”
“We will soon present a proposal that works, that is, that conforms to European law,” Lauterbach said.
According to Europa Press, Lauterbach stated that it’s the responsibility of the German governing coalition to “comply with European legislation while maintaining their own objectives” in order to “[reduce] crime and to make cannabis use as safe as possible.”
He also added that there have been some concerns about cannabis legalization. “We have to address several issues. One of them has been presented by the Netherlands, which […] proposes a centralized care and focuse[s] on the recommendations of the experts,” Lauterbach said.
While Lauterbach’s formal proposal has yet to be released, a separate cannabis proposal was also held in a meeting with the German Bundestag Health Committee on March 15. “MEPs [Member of European Parliament] propose allowing adults to purchase and possess up to 30 grams of cannabis or cannabis resin,” the meeting description states. “The cultivation of up to three female cannabis plants for personal or community use should also be permitted. Keeping a year’s harvest of up to three plants should also be allowed. The draft law provides for administrative offenses and fines if the maximum permissible amounts are exceeded.”
Originally, a rough draft of Lauterbach’s proposal was leaked in October 2022 by RedaktionsNetzwerk Deutschland. One week after the leak, Lauterbach gave his proposal to German Chancellor Olaf Sholz.
Under that proposal text, cannabis possession between 20 to 30 grams for adults 18 and older would not result in a punishment. Product THC limits would be capped at 15%, with a 10% limit in place for young adults between 18 and 21 years of age. Sales and distribution would only be permitted for licensed businesses (and importing would be prohibited). Finally, residents would be allowed to cultivate three cannabis plants for personal use.
At the time, Lauterbach described his plan as “the most liberal legalization of cannabis in Europe, which will result in the most regulated market in the EU.” He also shared that an updated version of the plan would be presented as early as the beginning of 2023. “A formal introduction of the legalization measure will occur in the first quarter of this year,” he estimated.
Germany legalized medical cannabis in March 2017, but officials formally announced an interest in exploring recreational legalization in late 2021. Official interest began in June 2022 when it was announced that it would be holding five hearings to discuss the importance of public safety, youth prevention, supply chains, and more. “The hearings are intended to discuss which measures can be used to ensure the best protection for young people, health and consumers in the event of implementation,” said Federal Government Commissioner for Addiction and Drugs Burkhard Blienert. “Because one thing is clear: we want to protect children and young people in particular from possible risks.”
Officials from the delegation of the Health Committee of the Bundestag traveled to California in September 2022. They met with Oaksterdam University Chancellor Dale Sky Jones, CA NORML representatives, and many other advocates, and also toured cannabis dispensaries to assess the opportunities and risks of legalization. Finally, they explored Lowell Farms cultivation facility and discussed seed to sale, including energy and water conservation, as well as the inner workings of SC Labs in regards to lab testing and compliance.