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Germany’s New Cannabis Legalization – Key Facts You Should Know

Midnight in Germany March 31st turned into April 1st, the nation officially enacted its new adult-use cannabis legalization policy. Adults aged 18 and above can now enjoy the freedoms granted by the first pillar of the CanG law.

Kai-Friedrich Niermann, a prominent attorney at KFN+ Law Office, emphasized the need for a paradigm shift in drug policy, putting an end to the ineffective prohibition approach of the past century.

While Germany isn’t the pioneer in national adult-use cannabis legalization, its policy change marks the most significant shift since the initiation of global cannabis prohibition many years ago. Here are the key provisions of Germany’s new cannabis law that both consumers and patients should be aware of.

Key Highlights of Germany’s Cannabis Law:

Narcotics De-listing

Germany has implemented the new law, it is removing cannabis from its Narcotics List, marking a significant policy change. This shift holds immense importance. This change will eliminate certain hurdles in the medical cannabis supply chain and streamline processes for pharmacies. It will also facilitate easier pursuit of cannabis research. With hopes that academic institutions will start receiving national and/or EU-provided funds for specific research projects.

In the past, the cultivation of medical cannabis in Germany followed a licensing procedure overseen. By the nation’s Federal Office for Drugs and Medical Devices which made final determinations on the quantity and price of domestically produced medical cannabis. Imports did not undergo the same process, granting a significant advantage to companies located outside of Germany. The new adult-use cannabis law in Germany is expected to provide a substantial boost to the domestic medical industry.

Personal Cultivation

In Germany, adults can now legally cultivate cannabis in their homes for personal use. The new law allows adults to grow up to three plants privately. This practice is common in other regions where it’s permitted and offers consumers an additional way to access cannabis besides traditional storefronts.

With this change, a surge in opportunities is expected for companies specializing in cultivation-related products and services. From seeds and grow lights to harvesting equipment and odor control, the market is set to expand rapidly. Additionally, cannabis seeds and clones are now legal in Germany for both citizens and non-citizens alike.

Personal Possession

Germany now allows adults to possess up to 25 grams of cannabis for personal use, with penalties for exceeding the limit considered administrative violations. A 2021 study by Heinrich Heine University Dusseldorf estimates annual savings of 1.05 billion euros from ending cannabis prohibition, including 313 million euros in judicial savings. This change reflects a global trend towards more lenient cannabis regulations.

Noncommercial Cannabis Clubs

Germany’s new law includes the provision for noncommercial cannabis clubs to operate, with an expected start date of July 1, 2024. These membership-based clubs will legally provide adult consumers with cannabis, subject to specific regulations. It is anticipated that seeds and clones will primarily come from these clubs once they are established.

The implementation of noncommercial clubs was a significant point of contention leading up to the final coalition agreement. As part of the compromise, the launch date for these clubs will be staggered. Following their introduction, noncommercial clubs are likely to become widespread across most of Germany.

Future Policy Modernizations

Germany recently marked a significant milestone in its legalization journey by passing the initial phase of cannabis legalization, commonly known as ‘the first pillar.’ The next phase, ‘the second pillar,’ will focus on launching expansive regional programs for adult cannabis use, akin to existing models in the Netherlands and Switzerland but on a larger scale. Advocates anticipate a heightened effort in the upcoming months to guarantee a smooth rollout of Germany’s legalization framework.

The practical implementation of the law and its potential amendments post-enforcement to align with governmental commitments pose intriguing questions. The evolving landscape in the following weeks holds particular importance for cultivation groups, prompting potential adjustments in their operational structures. As highlighted by Peter Homberg from Dentons, monitoring these developments closely is imperative for stakeholders.

Despite these advancements, achieving complete destigmatization and equitable legalization remains a distant goal. Stakeholders, encompassing consumers, activists, and industry players, must sustain their momentum towards this objective. Kai Friedrich Niermann from KFN+ Law Office emphasized the ongoing necessity for collective dedication to realizing a successful path towards destigmatization and fairness in legalization efforts.

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