(Berlin) Germany has revamped its plan to legalize cannabis for recreational use in the face of reservations from the European Union, giving up the sale of this psychoactive plant in specialized stores in the short term.
Berlin presented a roadmap in October to introduce some of the most liberal cannabis legislation in Europe.
The German government published on Wednesday a new watered down version of this reform which will allow adults to possess small amounts of cannabis.
“The initial objectives have not changed […]: more safety in consumption, curbing the black market, better protection of young people”, enumerated the Minister of Health Social Democrat Karl Lauterbach during a press conference .
The first part of the plan authorizes the creation of non-profit associations whose adult members, limited to 500, will be able to cultivate the plant for their sole consumption, under the supervision of the public authorities.
The creation of these “cannabis clubs” must be the subject of a bill as early as April, which will have to be adopted by the deputies.
Individuals will be allowed to possess up to 25 grams of cannabis for personal use, and will be able to grow three plants per adult.
“Consumption could thus be legalized as early as this year,” said Agriculture Minister Cem Özdemir (Greens) during the same press conference.
It will always remain categorically prohibited for minors.
The second part will consist of testing, in certain regions still to be chosen and for five years, production and trade in specialized stores under licenses granted by the public authorities.
Such retail across Germany, envisaged in the first draft of the plan, was not possible under European law, according to Berlin.
This will “allow for scientific examination of the effects of a commercial supply chain on youth and health protection and on the black market,” according to the proposals.
The experiment, if successful, will serve as a model at European level and could lead to a change in the law, explained Mr. Lauterbach, adding that he had had encouraging discussions with certain countries, without wanting to name them.
A bill on these test regions is expected after the summer break.
Overall, the aim of the reform is to replace a repressive policy that has “failed” in the context of increased consumption of this plant.
Social Democrat Olaf Scholz’s coalition with the Greens and Liberals has made its legalization one of the flagship projects of his term.
The conservatives remain headwind against the project, even diluted. “The creation of ‘drug clubs’ does not solve any problems, but creates new ones”, reacted the head of Bavaria Markus Söder on his Twitter account, without specifying further.
“We categorically reject” the new version of the draft, which does not address the issue of the protection of minors, General Secretary of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) Mario Czaja told the Redaktionsnetzwerk Deutschland (RND) newspaper group. .
The police union (GdP) said it doubted the reform’s ability to curb the illegal cannabis trade. “And this also applies to the dangerous consumption of cannabis by minors”, judged one of its leaders Alexander Poitz.