Additional details of Germany’s plans for a legal cannabis market have been publicised this morning, but no official press release as of the time of writing. The proposals leaked this morning cover a number of aspects of a legal market, in my opinion, it covers the most contentious aspects of the debate. Germany’s proposals seem to aim to draw a balance between both sides of the cannabis argument, no matter what side you are on we can all agree on public health, youth consumption and eliminating the illegal market are priorities.
As released this morning by Focus Online, Germany will permit personal possession of cannabis. Personal possession of cannabis will be limited to up to 20g for those over 18 years old. People will also be permitted to grow 2 plants at home for their personal use. What is not clear in the information released is if this 20g will apply to home grows as well as possession in public. Also, there is no information on what sanctions will be imposed on those found over the 20g limit. The 2-plant limit is also notable low in terms of other jurisdictions, for example, Malta plans to permit 4 plants.
Retail-based dispensaries will be in operation that will include pharmacies. These outlets will be required to be away from schools and kindergartens. A THC limit of 15% will be imposed, which will drop to 10% for those aged between 18-21 years old.
Retail-based dispensers that will include pharmacies. Retail outlets will be required to be away from schools and kindergartens. This will not come as a surprise to many as this is happening in other jurisdictions. There is no information on whether social clubs/non-profit organisations may be permitted.
A ban on advertising for cannabis products that include plain packaging products. I would imagine this would be similar to cigarette packaging in Ireland, or the plain packaging that we can see in Canada where the package contains warning/ risk labels.
THC limit of 15%, which is reduced to 10% for 18-21-year-olds. Although 15% is reasonable and the majority of cannabis products will come within this bracket, many cannabis products contain roughly 20%+ THC that will fall outside the realms of what is permitted. There are no details in the information provided if edible and concentrates will be permitted, the information provided is limited to cannabis flower.
Steve Rolles of Transform.org has highlighted that there is a “yawning gap” on the expungement of previous criminal records relating to cannabis, he states that German policymakers urgently need to demonstrate these are priority issues that they are taking seriously. Overall the information provided fits with the public health-orientated approach the German government stated they would take when it comes to the future of cannabis in Germany. Although Steve Rolles thinks the proposals are at the conservative end of regulation and may be overly restrictive it shows the German government erring on the side of caution.
Also included in the proposals is a ban on synthetic cannabis products. Both Steve and I agree that this proposal to maintain prohibition is reasonable and sensible. The current quality of synthetic products is simply not up to standard, in the future we may have a synthetic product that would be better and safer than organic cannabis, but the current offering of synthetic products is not sufficient to include them in what German has proposed. Steve highlights that those found in possession of synthetic products still should not be subject to criminalisation and there is no information currently on any sanctions that may be applicable for people who fall outside the proposed legal market.
We do not see anything alarming in the information provided so far, the devil will be in the detail.