By German Cannabis Lawyer Kai-Friedrich Niermann and Burkhard Blienert, Political Advisor, former German MP and former drug policy spokesman of the SPD Bundestag’s group.
LATER this month Germany has a unique opportunity to set a ground-breaking new course in European cannabis.
On September 26, the federal elections take place – these will not only result in a new federal government, but also a new Chancellor.
The last cannabis policy reform took place in 1996, when German farmers were again allowed to grow hemp in their fields.
Previous Proposals Shelved Four Years Ago
In 2017, a medical cannabis program was introduced, which now supplies up to 90,000 patients with corresponding medicines.
Also in 2017, regulated cannabis distribution was negotiated in the coalition talks after the election, when the Green Party agreed to form a joint government with the Conservatives and the Liberals.
However, the Liberals pulled out of these negotiations at the time, resulting in a new grand coalition and another four years of stalemate on cannabis policy in Germany.
Nevertheless, four years down the line the situation is fundamentally different.
All-Party Support For Reform
All of the parties now represented in the Bundestag are in favour of some kind of cannabis policy reform. Even the resistance of the conservative CDU/CSU now crumbling with senior party figures recently floating the idea of a post-election recreational trial.
International developments in the USA, Canada, Uruguay, Mexico, Liechtenstein and Israel have made it clear that legalising cannabis has exclusively positive effects on society.
The Netherlands, once the world’s liberal pioneer in cannabis, is now also considering legalising recreational use in a pilot project.
Only through regulated distribution and controlled quality can consumer protection be ensured, youth protection guaranteed, tax revenues generated and jobs created.
The black market in the countries that have decided to legalise has been pushed back bit-by-bit, with no country witnessing an increase in consumption.
On the contrary, consumption among young people decreased, and new, older groups of consumers, who had no connection to cannabis before, were added while alcohol consumption has decreased simultaneously.
Industry and investors must therefore prepare for a new regulatory environment in Germany that will offer many opportunities and open up new investment possibilities.
However, the process will not take place overnight; it will, unfortunately be characterised by lengthy debates, hearings and votes.
For all parties with an interest in securing a well-regulated German recreational market it will be necessary to get involved at an early stage.
The report describes in detail the positions of the individual parties, the course of the coalition negotiations after the elections in October, and shows a possible time scenario for legalisation in Germany.
It encompasses an overview of the existing black market and, using the Cannabis Control Law mooted by the Greens as a template, explores areas of employee training, the protection of minors, products and product quality, and the number, and minimum distances, for specialist cannabis stores.
It examines the issues around the right to private possession and cultivation and the potential of a revenue-raising cannabis tax.
The course of a possible legislative process, and the possibilities for the industry to actively participate in these processes are also explained in detail, alongside the international obligations from the Single Convention – which Germany must redesign.
For businesses it also speculates on the timeframe and prerequisites that must be met for participation in a future, regulated German cannabis market.
For further information on the Recreational THC Report 2021 for Germany