Deutsche Version erschienen auf Krautinvest
When you have been dealing with cannabis since your studies, from a legal point of view and personal interest, and then after 18 years it finally happens, where so many people have been fighting for, because too many people have suffered from it, then this is really a very emotional moment! I congratulate all the supporters, pioneers and the new government for this determined step for a new drug policy: Germany legalizes cannabis!
What to do next
In Germany we have about 285,000 criminal proceedings per year because of cannabis, 2/3 of them against users. In the meantime, several thousand proceedings have been added because of commercial hemp and CBD. The new government must decide on a comprehensive decriminalisation of cannabis in the first 100 days and ensure the marketability of commercial hemp products. This is to be achieved by allowing possession, self-cultivation and by deleting the term „misuse for intoxicating purposes“ in annex 1 of the narcotic law in regard to hemp.
The working groups, and the Health Committee of the Bundestag (where the bill will most likely be assigned), now need to find each other and define all the open questions regarding the implementation of the Cannabis Control Act. Many issues are still unclear, such as:
- what role does social responsibility, the basic idea of the Cannabis Control Act, play (the blueprint draft of legalisation by the Green Party)? How extensively must social concepts be formulated, how much minimum distance from a school is sensible, should the Länder actually be empowered to limit the number of specialist shops?
Who is to provide the training for the employees of the specialist shops to acquire the „responsible selling“ certificate? Can so much training industry be activated at all, in the short time? What should the content of the education should look like? Maybe even a separate professional code for „budtenders“?
- Equally urgent: how can the demand be met? At the level of international law, it is perfectly possible to establish international trade relations immediately. But probably only with Uruguay and Canada, a player that is already big enough? Does a cultivation of 400-600 t in Germany make any sense at all? Is it possible to regulate it ecologically? In any case, cultivation companies that are licensed here would have to present a zero-energy concept so that the goals of the new climate government are not thwarted. So, it would be better to import from regions with better climatic conditions? But only if fair conditions are guaranteed in the country of cultivation?
- Is it permitted to consume in the specialist shops? May there be a gastronomic offer? Do we want to allow an inner-city culture of specialist shops, or banish everything to the outside area?
The ball is in the industry’s court
The industry must prepare for these issues and develop its own proposals to engage in the hearings and debates that will develop throughout 2022. Only with the industry will it be ensured that the distribution model through licensed dispensaries will be successful. The choice of specialist shops was made deliberately because the industry is easier to regulate and control than private associations or social clubs.
The Bundesrat (Federal Council) plays only a subordinate role in this respect. Criminal law is concurrent legislation, and the Government has exercised its right to regulate narcotics law exclusively. The Bundesrat must be involved in individual issues, but it will not be able to prevent today’s decision of the incoming government on the legalisation of cannabis in general.
The debate in recent years has still been about if cannabis shall be legalised, and not how. Not even among the Greens. The next months will be exciting and will decide the future of the dispensing model in Germany!