Cannabis legalisation in Germany progresses: Ministries coordinate key point paper

German news agency RedaktionsNetzwerk Deutschland has published new details on the upcoming law on legalisation of cannabis for recreational purposes in Germany.

The agency’s latest news relies on a draft key issues paper by the Ministry of Health to which it claims exclusive access. The paper is currently being coordinated between several relevant ministries.

According to the key issues paper, cannabis will, as a rule, no longer be legally classified as a narcotic. The purchase and possession of 20 grams of cannabis will be allowed for consumers above the age of 18. The cultivation of up to two cannabis plants will be permitted for private purposes. However, there will be a general THC limit of 15 percent and an even stricter limit of 10 percent for young consumers between the ages of 18 and 21. The sale of synthetically produced cannabinoids will not be permitted. 

Further, there will be a general ban on advertising for cannabis. The products will be sold in neutral packaging without promotional design.

Future distribution paths for recreational cannabis are still in discussion. As per the current draft by the Ministry of Health, there will be licensed shops selling cannabis products. In addition, the policymakers are considering allowing the sale in pharmacies to ensure sufficient supply in rural areas of Germany. Another option under examination is the distribution via the Internet.

The draft key issues paper does not appear to address the legal requirements for cannabis under EU and international law. In this regard, the paper only determines that the demand for cannabis must be covered by cultivation in Germany since importation is excluded under current EU and international law. “Under a preliminary assessment, an international trade of cannabis for recreational purposes is not possible on the basis of or in compliance with the current international frame-work” the analysis in the paper states. This result is likely derived from the simple fact that the trading of cannabis is currently still prohibited in most countries around the world. However, it is unlikely that this will also apply to the trade with countries allowing the distribution of recreational cannabis under conditions equivalent to the future regulation in Germany.

In any case, it is very positive to see that the Ministry of Health – contrary to the misleading claims of some critics – accepts that the legalisation of recreational cannabis within German borders is possible under the current legal framework. This is in line with our assessment of European and international law.


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