Germany recreational cannabis legalization bill clears last hurdle

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Germany’s landmark recreational cannabis law will go into effect on April 1 after clearing the final regulatory hurdle on Friday.

The Bundesrat, the upper house of the German Parliament, failed to reach a majority to convene the Mediation Committee, clearing the last potential delay to approval, ABC News reported.

The law, approved a month ago in the Bundestag by a 407-226 vote,  generally decriminalizes cannabis, allows for home grows and lays the legal framework for so-called “cultivation social clubs” – nonprofit organizations where members can acquire marijuana for recreational use.

However, the law stops short of establishing a regulated retail and distribution system for adult-use products, akin to more than 20 American states.

Parameters of the new law include:

  • Allowing adults to purchase up to 25 grams per day, or 50 grams per month. For those younger than 21, the monthly limit is 30 grams.
  • Prohibiting membership to multiple clubs.
  • Funding club costs through membership fees that correspond to individual cannabis usage.

Also beginning April 1, medical cannabis will no longer be classified as a narcotic in Germany and will be treated as a standard prescription.

That change will have resounding economic implications, according to Niklas Kouparanis, CEO and co-founder of Frankfurt-based medical cannabis company Bloomwell Group.

“This reclassification significantly reduces costs and other administrative burdens to access, from cultivation to further processing and distribution, to storage and dispensing in the pharmacy,” he said in a statement sent to MJBizDaily.

Kouparanis expects reclassification to increase the number of estimated medical patients – 200,000-300,000 – to skyrocket sevenfold to tenfold.

“Medical cannabis treatment will be less expensive, more accessible, and completely digital,” he added.

Several other cannabis companies around the globe are hailing the development in Germany.

“We celebrate Germany’s landmark decision to legalize adult-use cannabis,” David Klein, CEO of Canadian operator Canopy Growth Corp., said in a statement.

“We are thrilled to be at the forefront of this progressive change in Germany, setting a strong precedent for cannabis reform across Europe.”

New York-based multistate operator Curaleaf Holdings has been expanding operations across Europe through acquisitions and internal growth.

“As a company deeply invested in the European cannabis landscape, we are excited about the opportunities this legislation brings, starting with meeting the anticipated increased demand in Germany’s medical program,” Curaleaf Executive Chair Boris Jordan told MJBizDaily via email.

“We look forward to seeing other European countries follow Germany’s lead and we plan to continue activating our first mover advantage to shape the future of cannabis throughout the continent.”

In 2022, the most recent full year of data, Germany imported roughly 25,000 kilograms (27.6 tons) of cannabis for medical or scientific purposes, an increase of 19% over the 20,769 kilograms the country imported in 2021.

Chris Casacchia can be reached at chris.casacchia@mjbizdaily.com.