German lawmakers have officially begun consideration of a bill that would legalize cannabis nationwide. The country’s parliament, called the Bundestag, held the first debate on the legislation on Wednesday after delaying the meeting last week due to the conflict in Israel and Palestine.

The legalization measure, spearheaded by Health Minister Karl Lauterbach, would allow adults to legally possess cannabis and cultivate a maximum of three plants for personal use. It would also create social clubs that could distribute cannabis to members. Officials have said a forthcoming second phase of legalization will eventually launch a pilot program for regulated commercial sales of cannabis.

The country’s prohibition on cannabis has failed, Bundestag member Carmen Wegge of the Social Democratic Party (SPD) said during the brief 45-minute debate. Illegal cannabis “is often contaminated,” she said, and profits can support organized crime. Meanwhile, youth have access to cannabis in the unregulated market.

“This is an unacceptable situation,” Wegge said. “With this bill, we are describing a new path, a courageous path, a path that stands on the side of those who consume it. We have decided against state oppression and for a progressive drug policy that educates and grants freedom.”

Kristine Lütke, a member of the Bundestag in the Free Democratic Party (FDP), acknowledged that the current draft bill is not final but said it includes essential provisions such as the minimum distance that grow facilities could be from public schools and other sensitive areas.

Read the entire article at Marijuana Moment