17 April 2023
This briefing is an update on Dr Daniel Tietjen’s assessment of the first white paper on the decriminalisation of cannabis consumption.
After the Coalition Agreement included the plans of the new German government for controlled cannabis decriminalisation, the country has been waiting for the long-discussed legalisation of cannabis possession. As a result of the first white paper presented by Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach last year, the plan was adapted after discussions within the governing coalition and criticism from experts.
What regulations are envisaged in the updated white paper?
With the present draft, Karl Lauterbach has clearly moved towards the widely expressed demands of some cabinet colleagues (in particular Food and Agriculture Minister Cem Özdemir, who helped draft the updated white paper) and those of associations and the public.
The focus has now shifted from a state levy. Instead, private cannabis consumption and possession in particular is to be declared exempt from punishment under certain circumstances - the so-called decriminalisation.
The establishment of cannabis clubs, which are allowed to distribute certain quantities of ready-to-consume cannabis, plant seeds and cuttings to their members, is very reminiscent of other European regulations.
By focusing on decriminalisation, Lauterbach and Özdemir take the wind out of the sails of the critics who, with regard to the once state-planned cannabis levy, insisted in particular on compliance with EU law and international treaties. The envisaged Pillar 2, namely the state levy, is to be tested in model regions for the time being and scientifically supervised. Any resulting findings are to be compiled together with the EU.
The timetable remains ambitious. Since the draft bill for decriminalisation has been announced for the beginning of April, we can expect it anytime soon.
by Dr. Daniel Tietjen and Sherin Sayed