cannabis

Germany – Cannabis consumption legal from April 1st

Read Time:4 Minute, 25 Second

The Federal Council has passed the federal government’s cannabis law. The decriminalization of the drug can come into force as planned on April 1st. Saxony voted inconsistently in the Bundesrat, which is why the vote was declared invalid.

  • The path is clear for the partial legalization of cannabis . The Federal Council did not stop the law.
  • The government offered the states the prospect of improvements to the law .
  • Dispute in Saxony and criticism from Saxony-Anhalt.
  • The Union continues to formulate massive criticism .

The cannabis decriminalization law can come into force on April 1st. The Federal Council decided this at its meeting on Friday. In advance, the CDU and CSU had stormed against the regulation passed in the Bundestag . State politicians and health ministers from the SPD were also critical. However, the vote did not result in a majority in favor of calling the Mediation Committee. A mediation process between the federal and state governments would have delayed the law’s entry into force.

The traffic light coalition’s law allows adults to consume and, in limited quantities, possess and grow the drug. With partial legalization, the federal government wants to initiate a change in drug policy. In the future, adults aged 18 and over will be allowed to carry up to 25 grams of cannabis for their own consumption and store up to 50 grams at home. Three plants are allowed for home cultivation. From July, cannabis clubs will be allowed to grow and purchase the drug on a limited basis. Public consumption is permitted on a limited basis. It is not permitted within sight of children’s and youth facilities or sports facilities. Smoking weed is allowed in pedestrian zones from 8 p.m. Cannabis remains prohibited for minors.

Government announces improvements

Before the vote, Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD) promoted the law, which was an opportunity to protect the young generation in particular from consumption and the black market through decriminalization and better education. The federal government also addressed some points of criticism in advance in order to avert a mediation process. In a statement that was recorded in the Federal Council, she promised more support for education and prevention, especially for children and young people, as well as more flexible implementation rules. To achieve this, some subsequent changes to the law are to be implemented before July 1st.

Dispute in Saxony and criticism from Saxony-Anhalt

Speakers from several countries nevertheless warned against legalization. Saxony’s Prime Minister Michael Kretschmer (CDU) said after the vote in the Bundesrat that the consequences would concern the country for decades. The law cannot be about party politics. This question is so central and so personal, “that it was clear to me that I would not agree to the legalization of drugs under any circumstances, even if it caused trouble in my Saxon coalition.”

Daniel Günther (lr, CDU), Prime Minister of Schleswig-Holstein, Hendrik Wüst (CDU), Prime Minister of North Rhine-Westphalia, Karl Lauterbach (SPD), Federal Minister of Health, and Judith Gerlach (CSU), State Minister for Health, Care and Prevention in Bavaria, talk before the start of the 1042nd plenary session of the German Federal Council.  In its second meeting in 2024, the state chamber will deal with over 60 items on the agenda, including the Cannabis Act, the Growth Opportunities Act, the Clinic Atlas on Treatment Quality, the Act on Higher Ticket Taxes and the End of Agricultural Diesel.
Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (2nd from right) in the Federal Council on Friday.Image rights: picture alliance/dpa | Bernd von Jutrczenka

While Kretschmer was in favor of calling the mediation committee, the coalition partners SPD and Greens spoke out against it. Deputy Prime Minister Martin Dulig (SPD) also expressed his opposition to calling the mediation committee. Saxony then voted inconsistently in the vote and the vote was therefore declared invalid. The Greens accuse Kretschmer of violating the coalition agreement. You now want to call the coalition committee.Saxony-Anhalt’s Prime Minister Reiner Haseloff also made critical comments in the plenary session. He said: “I feel obliged to express my concern and that of many other people that this law opens the door to a fundamentally new drug policy.” Saxony-Anhalt announced in advance that it would abstain from the vote because the co-governing Social Democrats and Liberals wanted to vote for the law.

It was said from Thuringia that they would probably not vote in favor of calling the mediation committee.

Further possible resistance

Before the vote, the Bavarian Interior Minister Joachim Herrmann (CSU) also brought up a possible lawsuit against the law. It remained unclear which court should be appealed to. Bavaria’s Health Minister Judith Gerlach (also CSU) said that since the law does not require approval from the Federal Council, it cannot come before the Federal Constitutional Court. It is assumed that there is EU illegality. But the states are not directly “authorized to submit”.

The Union interior ministers expect that crime will increase as a result of the partial decriminalization of the drug. “The black market is expected to expand, as the number of consumers will increase due to the legalization of cannabis,” said Saxony’s Interior Minister Armin Schuster. The CDU politician also said that even the UN Drug Control Council had warned against a violation of international agreements.

Above all, the Union considers the planned possession and delivery quantities to be “oversized”. They also criticize that the aspect of road safety has not been taken into account enough and that there is a fear that driving under the influence of drugs will increase.

According to the Federal Council’s Legal Affairs Committee, it is also impossible for the judiciary in the federal states to implement the retroactive remission of sentences in the short term. Tens of thousands of judgments would have to be reviewed individually. And it is also doubted whether the subsequent remission of punishment is even legal.

Happy
Happy
0 %
Sad
Sad
0 %
Excited
Excited
0 %
Sleepy
Sleepy
0 %
Angry
Angry
0 %
Surprise
Surprise
0 %