26/03/2024  Bjoern "Andy" Mannsfeld, M.D. & Wrick Macaya Papa

Germany's CanG Act: Legalization of Cannabis for Adults and Next Steps

German lawmakers passed the “first pillar” of the CanG Act last week, a bill that will make possession and cultivation of cannabis legal for adults. The Bundesrat, Germany's legislative assembly representing 16 federal states, adopted the measure on Friday (March 22). Prior to this, Germany's lower house of parliament, the Bundestag, had already approved the law last month.

Following the implementation of the first pillar, the anticipated "second pillar" would introduce five-year municipal pilot programs. These programs would regulate the sale of state-controlled cannabis through licensed retailers, similar to programs already established in Europe, like in Switzerland and the Netherlands.

Beginning April 1, adults aged 18 and above will have the legal right to possess up to 25 grams of cannabis. This also permits adults to cultivate up to three plants and to store up to 50 grams of cannabis in their residences.

The CanG Act establishes a clear distinction between medical and non-medical cannabis, creating different legal frameworks for each. The bill also removes cannabis as a narcotic substance in Germany, allowing any doctor to prescribe medical cannabis resulting in reduced administrative burdens on both doctors and pharmacies. This will make it easier for patients to access the medication. Additionally, more companies will be permitted to cultivate cannabis, increasing availability and options for patients.

Beginning July 1, non-commercial "cannabis clubs" will be allowed to supply cannabis to their members in quantities of up to 50 grams per month. Each cannabis club will have no more than 500 members. The bill does not include measures allowing for-profit recreational cannabis producers or retailers.

Beyond legalization, the legislation prioritizes health, youth protection, and education regarding cannabis use. However, concerns have been raised regarding proposed budget cuts to educational initiatives focused on drug abuse prevention, highlighting areas where legislative improvements are still needed.

Germany's move toward cannabis decriminalization shows a progressive position that seeks to balance individual liberties with public health and safety considerations. As the government works through the complexities of cannabis regulation, continual debate and adaptation will be critical to ensuring effective implementation and resolving emergent difficulties. With careful oversight and continuing collaboration, Germany has the potential to set a good example for other countries considering similar drug policy reforms.

Cannabis Legalization in Germany: CanG Act Pillar 1

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