Germany’s plan to legalize recreational marijuana hits potential hurdle

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The health minister of Germany’s largest state is asking a key European Union official to block Germany’s plan to regulate recreational marijuana production and sales.

Bavaria’s health minister, Klaus Holetschek, met in Brussels this week with Monique Pariat, the EU’s director-general for migration and home affairs, to make the request, according to the Associated Press.

Holetschek is a member of the center-right Union bloc, an opposition party.

According to the AP, Holetschek strongly opposes the blueprint by German Chancellor Olaf Scholz to legalize cannabis in Europe’s largest economy.

In October, the German government published key details of its plan to legalize and regulate recreational cannabis, including what Health Minister Karl Lauterbach described as “complete” cultivation within the country.

Some international businesses had been hoping Germany would allow imports, possibly from other European Union countries, even though that would breach international drug-control treaties.

As part of that outline, Germany’s blueprint of the law is being sent to the European Commission, the EU’s executive branch, for approval to ensure it is compatible with EU and global drug laws.

Germany’s government said the legislative process, including actually drafting a law, will continue only if the plan is approved by the EU.

According to the AP, Holetschek told the EU’s Pariat that “the German government’s planned cannabis legalization doesn’t just endanger health, but I am convinced that it also violates European law.”

If approved by the European Commission, and then ultimately by German lawmakers, the blueprint could serve as a basis for broader cannabis reform in countries across the European Union seeking to follow Germany’s example.