German Health Minister Karl Lauterbach presented a cornerstone paper on planned legislation to federally legalize adult-use cannabis to Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s cabinet Oct. 26 after the plans leaked to the media last week.
Lauterbach included in his presentation a survey estimating that roughly 4 million adults already use cannabis in Germany, suggesting a thriving illicit market in the country, according to a DW report.
The current drug policy, Lauterbach said, must be revised since Germany’s current laws have not limited consumption and have instead led to cannabis consumers “falling into an undertow of crime,” the news outlet reported. Lauterbach added that legalization will result in better health policies and increased protections for minors, according to DW.
Lauterbach said the legalization plan is “the most liberal legalization of cannabis in Europe,” and that it would set up “the most regulated market” in the EU, the news outlet reported.
The proposal would allow adults to purchase and possess up to 20 to 30 grams of cannabis for personal use, according to DW, as well as legalize the production, supply and distribution of cannabis within a regulated, state-controlled framework.
Adults would be allowed to grow up to three plants at home, the news outlet reported, and specialized shops and pharmacies would be licensed to sell cannabis products.
The Green Party, which governs Germany in coalition with the Social Democrats (SPD) and the Free Democrats (FPD), has long advocated for adult-use cannabis legalization and supports the plans for draft legislation, according to DW.
Finance Minister Christian Lindner indicated last month that Germany could potentially legalize cannabis by 2023, the news outlet reported, although federal Drug and Addiction Commissioner Burkhard Blienert has stated that a law may not be implemented until 2024.
The German government must submit its legalization plans to the European Commission for approval before a formal bill can be introduced and considered in German Parliament, called the Bundestag.