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Germany Unveils Draft Bill To Legalize Cannabis

Germany’s government is taking steps toward the legalization of cannabis by publishing the draft bill for the first pillar of a two-pillar model designed to dismantle prohibition policies.

German’s Ministry of Health published on July 5 the long-waited draft bill to regulate the use of cannabis for personal use, home growing, and the establishment of cannabis growers’ associations designed similarly to the cannabis social clubs’ model.

The proposed legislation aims to address the first pillar of a comprehensive two-pillar model that will put an end to cannabis prohibition in the European country.

Under the draft bill, adults aged 18 and above will be allowed to possess up to 25 grams of cannabis for personal use and cultivate a maximum of three plants. However, the consumption of cannabis in the “immediate vicinity” of individuals under 18, within a 200-meter radius of schools, children’s and youth facilities, playgrounds, publicly accessible sports facilities, and pedestrian zones between 7 am and 8 pm, will remain prohibited. It’s important to note that fines and criminal charges will continue to be imposed for specific unlawful activities.

The draft bill also laid the foundations for the establishment of cannabis growers’ associations (Anbauvereinigungen).

The proposed legislation allows an association to accept up to 500 members. Each member belonging to the association is eligible to receive either 25 grams per day or 50 grams per month for personal use. Additionally, associations have the authority to supply each member with a maximum of seven seeds per month, which can be imported, or five cuttings per month.

The consumption of cannabis will be prohibited inside associations and within a 200-meter distance from their entrance. Additionally, associations are prohibited from engaging in any form of advertising or sponsoring their activities.

Germany’s state governments have the authority to regulate the number of associations permitted in a district or urban area by issuing ordinances with a maximum limit of one association per 6,000 inhabitants.

But what is a real game-changer for Germany is the removal of cannabis from the Narcotics Drugs Act (Betäubungsmittelgesetz, BtMG) and other related laws. This move grants the medical cannabis industry more flexibility, although it should be noted that the proposed legislation does not alter the existing medical cannabis industry substantially. Instead, it primarily focuses on improving access to medical cannabis by allowing patients to obtain a regular cannabis prescription rather than a specialized narcotic prescription for their medication.

The draft bill related to the second pillar of Germany’s legalization model will be published in the second half of 2023 after being reviewed by the European Commission, and it will be about regional pilot projects with commercial supply chains, likely following the model in Switzerland and the Netherlands.

Overall, the two-pillar model planned by the German government to legalize cannabis for personal use in the country aims to address public health protection, prevention, and education about the use of cannabis, curb the illicit market, and strengthen child and youth protection.

Source : F

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