Germany to legalize marijuana by April, top official says

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Germany’s health minister believes marijuana legalization will become a reality in the country this spring.

Health Minister Karl Lauterbach has set a target for the Bundestag, the national parliament, to approve the nation’s long-awaited cannabis law in February.

Germany would then in April become the first country to legalize cannabis in Europe, according to German news reports.

“I am continuing to assume that the Cannabis Act will be passed by the Bundestag in the week between Feb. 19 and 23 and will go into force from April 1,” Lauterbach told the newspaper Die Welt, broadcaster Deutsche Welle reported.

Germany’s current ruling coalition came into power promising legalization but has yet to pass a law.

A parliamentary vote, expected to occur in late 2023, was delayed in December.

The latest plan calls for:

  • Decriminalization of cannabis.
  • Home cultivation and possession starting April 1, 2024.
  • “Cultivation clubs” that would launch potentially in July.

However, some of Germany’s 16 federal states oppose legalization.

The southern state of Bavaria, which is governed by the conservative Christian Social Union, wants the law blocked, even though the latest version of the measure is a major step back from the original plan of full legalization.

Regional pilot projects with commercial supply chains are not included in the draft law, severely limiting commercial opportunities in the envisioned adult-use industry.