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German Federal Council issues first statement on the planned German cannabis law



On September 29, 2023, the German Federal Council (Bundesrat) officially commented on the German Federal Government’s (Bundesregierung) cannabis legalization plans for the first time.

The draft Cannabis Law (Cannabisgesetz, “CanG”) provides for the removal of cannabis from the Narcotics Act. For adults, possession of 25 grams of dried product and private cultivation of a maximum of three plants would be permitted. Collective, noncommercial self-cultivation is to be allowed in cultivation associations. Such associations will also be permitted to carry out controlled distribution of the cannabis it cultivates.

Although the Federal Council has called for improvements in some areas, it has not fundamentally rejected the draft law, despite the efforts of individual federal state representatives and other critics. In particular, the opinion that the CanG requires approval in the Federal Council did not find a majority in the Federal Council’s vote.

The German states’ criticisms relate to their responsibilities under the CanG for supervision and enforcement. According to the Federal Council’s statement these responsibilities should be regulated so that no additional personnel or financial requirements arise. The statement further notes areas in need of improvement—for example, traffic accident prevention, closing criminal liability gaps, setting minimum standards for securing cultivation facilities and the need for legally mandated standards for the development of a general plan to protect youth and health. In particular, as the CanG moves through the legislative process, regulations relevant to youth protection will be reviewed for their practicality and feasibility.

The CanG is scheduled to come into force at the beginning of 2024. The Federal Council’s statement now goes to the Federal Government, which will prepare a counterstatement and submit it to the German Parliament (Bundestag). If the Bundestag passes the CanG, it goes back to the Federal Council for another review and decision.

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