The adult-use legalization saga in Germany experienced new twists and turns this week, with reports surfacing that provide new details about Health Minister Karl Lauterbach’s pending legalization plan. In October 2022, German Health Minister Karl Lauterbach presented a long-awaited legalization plan to the federal cabinet. After the presentation, Minister Lauterbach started lobbying the European Union for its permission to proceed with a national legalization plan.
Since the 2021 federal election, the eyes of the international cannabis community have remained largely focused on Germany to monitor any developments coming out of the country, which is home to Europe’s largest economy. Legalization has yet to become a reality in Germany. However, the legalization process has experienced no shortage of metaphorical fireworks, including the most recent developments that made headlines at the end of this week.
Scaled back legalization?
Towards the end of December 2022, certain lawmakers in Germany were seemingly already growing tired of the legalization process’ pace, as demonstrated by the blocking of funding to Germany’s Health Ministry due to perceived delays in a measure being formally introduced. Even prior to Minister Lauterbach’s presentation in October 2022 to the federal cabinet, a version of a legalization plan was leaked to the media. The legalization plan was perceived as being too restrictive, generated considerable public outcry at the time, and ultimately resulted in a less-restrictive plan being presented to the federal cabinet mere days after the leak initially occurred.
Much like a political pinball, Minister Lauterbach has bounced between the European Union and the Bundestag since October, with his legalization plan seeming to evolve on a somewhat rolling basis. In January 2023, Minister Lauterbach indicated publicly that he was ‘certain’ that the European Union would grant its approval and that a formal introduction of a legalization measure would occur ‘in the first quarter of this year.’ Minister Lauterbach added, according to the report, that he had ‘no reason to doubt this schedule.’ As anyone with access to a calendar will quickly notice, the first quarter of 2023 has passed, and yet, there is still no legalization measure introduced.
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