In the future, adults are to be allowed to grow cannabis in certain quantities privately or in non-profit associations, as well as to obtain it in licensed specialist stores as part of a regional model project. This was agreed by the German government following talks with the EU Commission on the key points paper dated October 26, 2022. The aim remains to control quality, prevent the transfer of contaminated substances, ensure the best possible protection of minors and health for consumers, and curb the black market.
In a first step, cultivation in non-profit associations and private self-cultivation are to be made possible nationwide. In a second step, the distribution in specialized stores will be implemented as a scientifically designed, regionally limited and time-limited model project. In the pilot project, the effects of a commercial supply chain on health and youth protection as well as the black market can be scientifically examined in more detail.
"Cannabis is a widely used stimulant. It is often offered and used illegally in Germany. As a result, it often endangers health. Young people in particular are impaired in their social and cognitive development by cannabis. Nevertheless, more and more young people are consuming the drug. The black market goods are often contaminated and create additional health hazards. We can no longer accept this. That's why we are daring to allow the controlled distribution of cannabis to adults within clear limits and are pushing back the black market, flanked by prevention measures for young people. Health protection is at the forefront of this. The previous cannabis policy has failed. Now we have to break new ground," says Federal Minister of Health Prof. Karl Lauterbach.
Federal Minister of Justice Marco Buschmann adds: "The previous restrictive approach to cannabis in Germany has failed. The prohibition of cannabis criminalizes countless people, pushes them into criminal structures and ties up immense resources at the law enforcement agencies. It's time for a new approach that allows more personal responsibility, pushes back the black market and relieves the police and prosecutors. We trust people to do more - without downplaying the dangers that can come from cannabis use."
Federal Minister of Agriculture Cem Özdemir says: "The use of cannabis is a social reality. A decades-long prohibition policy has turned a blind eye to this and thus caused problems above all: to the detriment of our children and young people, the health of users and law enforcement agencies. Now we are creating a coherent and pragmatic cannabis policy, from cultivation to consumption. No one should have to buy from dealers anymore without knowing what they are getting into. We strengthen youth and health protection through controlled cultivation and dispensing within the framework of cannabis clubs. And we are taking it out of the hands of organized crime, which does not even shy away from selling to children. With a regional model project, we are also exploring the possibilities of a commercial supply chain."
The cornerstones of the 2-pillar model (Club Cultivation & Regional Model/ CARe) were drawn up by the Federal Ministry of Health as lead partner and the Federal Ministry of the Interior, the Federal Ministry of Justice, the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, the Federal Ministry of Economics and the Federal Foreign Office in accordance with their respective areas of responsibility. The boundaries of EU and international law were taken into account. On the basis of the key issues paper, the German government will now submit a draft bill in the short term.
Non-profit associations are allowed to collectively cultivate cannabis for pleasure purposes and distribute it to members for personal consumption under a narrow, clearly defined legal framework. Members should be as active as possible in the association. The involvement of employees of the associations in cultivation is permissible, but the commissioning of third parties with cultivation is excluded.
The number of members per association is limited to a maximum of 500 with a minimum age of 18 years and residence or habitual abode in Germany.
In the next step on the way to a nationwide regulation, the second pillar implements the further approaches from the cornerstone paper of October 26, 2022, including an evaluation as a scientifically designed, regionally and temporally limited model: companies are enabled to produce, distribute and dispense in specialized stores of pleasure cannabis to adults in a licensed and state-controlled framework. With this pillar, the impact of a commercial supply chain on health and youth protection and the black market can be scientifically studied. The project duration is 5 years from the established supply chain.
Both pillars feed into specific draft legislation, with the working draft on Pillar 1 to be presented in April 2023, followed by the draft legislation on Pillar 2.
To read the full announcement (in German), go to www.bundesgesundheitsministerium.de