Leaked Document Hints at Adult-Use Cannabis Legalization in Germany

The framework creates limits on possession amounts and product potency.

Germany might be moving closer to legalized adult-use cannabis, according to a leaked report that lays out a proposed framework for such an industry.

The document, obtained by RedaktionsNetwerk Deutschland (RND), reportedly includes recommendations from Germany’s Health Minister Karl Lauterbach on how such an industry should be structured. RND noted that the rules were “being coordinated between the ministries involved,” indicating that they are not final.

If adult-use cannabis is approved in Germany, it would become the largest federally legal cannabis market in the world, with an adult population of nearly 70 million.

Industry participants applauded the news but cautioned against wholesale acceptance of the report.

“It is important to note that this leaked copy is not the final version, rather unofficial information that should be treated with caution,” said Niklas Kouparanis, CEO of German cannabis company Bloomwell Group.

“With these reservations in mind, we are pleased that the federal government is aiming for a nationwide supply at prices analogous to the illegal market in order to curb illicit operations and thus ensure more protection of minors, and quality control with the health of the consumer in mind,” he continued.

Key details of the draft framework

While the detail are subject to change, RND reported that the health ministry recommended:

  • Allowing adults to purchase and possess up to 20 grams of cannabis.
  • Limiting the maximum THC content of cannabis to 15% (10% for individuals aged 18-21).
  • Permitting home cultivation of up to two plants.
  • Requiring “plain packaging” and banning advertising for cannabis.
  • Creating zoning restrictions for shops that sell cannabis.
  • Prohibiting synthetic cannabis.

The draft rules also laid out the possibility for consumption lounges, but they did not specify a framework around what that would look like, according to RND.

The Ministry of Health would not confirm the details to RND, but noted that discussions are underway between the departments of health, justice, economy, nutrition, and the Federal Foreign Office. Previously Lauterbach had said a draft law was expected by the end of the year.

Industry Reaction

“Even if the paper were final, there’s still a long road ahead, as the first bill still needs to be drafted and introduced to Parliament where the legislative process is expected to start early next year,” cannabis analyst Alfredo Pascual, vice president of investment analysis at SEED Innovations Ltd., said on Twitter. “And Parliament has the final word.”

Kouparanis went on to say, “On the positive side, the development of a comprehensive sales infrastructure is also being made a top priority in rural regions. However, it remains questionable whether a final selling price of a maximum of 10 euros can be achieved analogous to the illegal market. We should therefore refrain from strict GMP standards and look for ways to allow imported cannabis as soon as possible. This already exists for the medical market.”

He added, “The planned ‘cannabis tax’ must also be adapted to current challenges along the entire value chain. Among other things, energy prices will also have an impact on domestic cultivation. Many U.S. states and Canada’s market are cautionary examples of how difficult it can be to push back the illegal market.”

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